Friday, 30 March 2012

Dim sum and wine pairing

Hong Kong has many wine lovers, but a lot of them do not have wine with their daily Chinese meals, saying it is too difficult to find a single wine that  goes with all the different food flavours on the table, or that it is only a casual meal. The recent Moët Hennessy Flavour Colours Evening challenged these myths.

12 favourite dim sum dishes and 12 Moët Hennessy wines were carefully selected, each allocated to the most appropriate zone of Flavour Colours: Blond, Ivory, Tan or Brown. Guests were encouraged to mix and match different pairings within a zone. The message was that Chinese food and wine pairing was fun and easy, just go with the flavour intensity and the viable pairings are limitless. What if the food flavours on the table cover more than one zone? Well, have two glasses of wine—a blond or ivory, and a tan or brown. Sip the delicate wine with the steamed fish (蒸魚) and the powerful one with the stir fried beef with oyster sauce (蠔油牛肉). After all, we have a pot of tea and one of hot water at dim sum; surely we can have two glasses of wine in front of us.

More importantly, and this is what I firmly believe, Chinese food and wine pairing does not need to be snobbish and restricted to banquet style dinners. Wine can go with everyday food and in the most casual of settings. A glass of Shiraz with your lunch box of roasted barbecued pork rice (叉燒飯), both in the Tan zone, is much more appealing than a can of soft drink! And remember, nobody drinks Margaux or Mouton every day. There is a lot of good quality wine under HK$200 out there, and a glass of wine can be cheaper than a Starbucks latte. What's more, an opened bottle of wine can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days without problem.

We may not have a traditional wine culture, but this should not stop us enjoying wine with our noodles and fried rice. Gourmet coffee was new to us 30 years ago and now there are speciality coffee houses on every street corner. I would love it soon to be just as common to see friends and families having their weekend dim sum brunch with wine.

Photo: courtesy of Anty Fung 

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