Published On: Wed, Apr 25th, 2018

Guide to Choosing the Right Wine for Asian Cuisine

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Wines made from grape juice are foreign to Asia (though some are now being grown and produced in countries including China and Japan). So the cuisines of the Far East did not evolve hand-in-hand with viticulture. Today, however, the widespread popularity of fine Asian cuisine in Western countries has led to wine lists being offered alongside the menus in some Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and other Asian restaurants.

Guide to Choosing the Right Wine for Asian Cuisine

How to choose the right wine to drink with Asian cuisine? The answer is, in fact, fairly simple. Just follow the basic principles of food-and-wine pairing, selecting a wine whose only characteristics best complements the ingredients and seasonings in the dishes being ordered.

Wine with Chinese Food

Pick a big, spicy wine with good fruit flavors and a hint of sweetness, such as a Gewürztraminer or a Riesling. Californian or Australian Chardonnays without too much oak-aging would also be good. Among red wines, light, fruity varietals enjoyed young, such as Beaujolais or Zinfandel, match up well with Chinese chicken or pork.

Wine with Indian Food

Complement Indian cuisine’s rich bouquet of spices with aromatic wines that are themselves often described as spicy or fruity. With seafood or poultry, try Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, or Riesling, or a sparkling rosé with a hint of sweetness. For more robust chicken, beef, or lamb dishes, select a young Zinfandel, a Californian Syrah, or an Australian Shiraz.

Wine with Japanese Food

Subtlety generally reigns in the cooking of Japan. Such food filled with nuance calls for sparkling wines, “blush” or rosé wines, or light Rieslings with an edge of sweetness.

Wine with Korean Food

The robust flavors of the Korean kitchen can welcome a wide range of Western wines. Go for white wines such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Reds like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are also good choices, especially with Korean meat dishes.

Wine with Thai Food

Complex, high-profile seasonings such as chili peppers, lemongrass, and coconut milk are often found in Thai cooking. Such flavors welcome white wines like spicy Gewürztraminer and crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine with Vietnamese Food

Vietnamese cooking’s subtle seasonings and rare hints of spice go well with lighter whites including young unoaked Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. Or go for lighter reds such as Zinfandels and Merlots.

In the end, of course, any wine ordering decision comes down to what the people ordering actually like to drink. If the wine tastes good and the food tastes good, a happy food-and-wine pairing has been achieved.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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