Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

The variety of dishes from Asian cultures offers wine and food lovers an array of rich, clean, spicy, tangy, and umami flavors to pair with their favorite wines. Choosing just 11 dishes from these beautiful cultures was quite the task! With much love and respect for these cuisines and traditions, we humbly present a list of Asian dishes that are beloved by the Western world and offer up some delicious wine pairings.

When pairing wines with Asian dishes, it is best to think outside of the more commonly enjoyed wines of the Western world. Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon can actually be some of the most difficult wines to pair with some of the prominent flavors of Asian cuisines, such as soy sauce, fish sauce, and chili. For this reason, we’ve included some less common varietals. Have fun with these pairings!

Pad Thai

We begin with one of the most simple and forgiving pairings: the well-known pad thai. Several wines complement this salty, citrusy, sweet, and umami dish: try a palate-cleansing sparkling Rosé or a crisp Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris. If you’re in the mood for a red wine, try a Pinot Noir that lends itself to acidity.


It’s unfair to classify sushi as one “food” when it is also a style of cooking and an art form . . . that being said, sushi pairs beautifully with many wines! Your sashimi, nigiri, or the contents of your roll will determine what wine to pair, but there are some simple guidelines to follow when pairing with this cuisine. If your roll or dish contains tempura, consider a bright and crisp Albariño. Try a dry Prosecco or a sweet Riesling with spicy salmon or tuna. Enjoy a creamy Chardonnay or more crisp Chenin Blanc with rolls topped with sweet sauce, shrimp, lobster, or crab.

Chilli Crab

Singapore’s well-known dish packs a punch with its spicy sauce and sweet crab. What better wine to hold up against the spice than with a Riesling? The residual sugar from the wine pairs beautifully with the spiciness of the sauce (from the chillis) and the sourness (from the tamarind). The wine’s floral notes also complement the sauce’s aromats, which typically include garlic, ginger, onion, and taucheo (a soybean paste that is similar to hoisin).
We suggest: 2018 Bluebell Riesling

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

Egg rolls/Lumpia

What goes well with tasty, perfectly fried foods such as Chinese egg rolls or Filipino lumpia? How about a palate-cleansing sparkling wine! The bubbles will refresh your taste buds and leave you ready for another bite . . . and another . . . and another . . .
We suggest: NV Malabaila di Canale V.S.Q. Pas Dose

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

Thai Curries

All Thai curries will have their nuances of spice and flavors, but there are two things they will have in common: fragrance and heat! Select a wine that will play to these strengths, like an aromatic and slightly sweet Gewurztraminer.
We suggest: 2018 Domaine Haegi Gewurtztraminer “Cuvee Prestige”

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

Butter Chicken

The truth is, this dish can run the gambit. What kind of butter chicken are we talking about? Milder versions are fantastic with a French Chenin Blanc (Chardonnay), an Italian Soave, or a grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc; more spicy versions fare well with Riesling, Pinot Gris, or Gewurztraminer. A fruity Pinot Noir, Gamay, or Grenache can also pair well with milder versions of this creamy, tomato-based dish.
We suggest: 2019 Bladen Sauvignon Blanc

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

Chicken Tikka Masala

The creaminess of this classic dish is a vehicle for delivering spices and aromas. It also makes it complementary to medium-bodied, slightly acidic wines like Sangiovese, Grenache, and Cab Franc.
We suggest: 2019 Gold Miner Cabernet Franc

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

Barbecued Korean Bulgogi

Bulgogi is arguably one of the most popular Korean dishes in the U.S., and for good reason: its smoky, sweet, and savory sauce is mouth-watering! An Australian Shiraz or fruity California Zinfandel will pair well with the garlic, honey, sesame, and soy sauce that typically are used in a bulgogi marinade.
We suggest: 2017 Sons of Eden “Remus” Shiraz

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

Indonesian Rendang

Although this dish originated in Indonesia, it is now popular in many neighboring countries (including the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore) and has many variations: although typically made from beef, it can also be made with other meats (like duck, duck liver, and chicken) and vegetables or fruits (like jackfruit or cassava). Pairing with the dish’s main ingredients––which are typically coconut, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, and spices such as turmeric, cardamom, cumin, and coriander––may seem daunting, but these flavors lend themselves to the sweetness often found in well-oaked, fruit-forward red wines, such as Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
We suggest: 2016 Vieux Chateau Guibeau

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

Chinese Spare Ribs

Search the internet for “Chinese spare ribs” and wine pairings and your results will run the gamut: from sweet German Riesling and Italian Amarone to a medium-bodied Argentinian Malbec . . . everything seems to pair with this dish! We recommend something a little more inventive, like a Carignan or Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre (GSM) from the Rhone. Carignan and Grenache’s acidity will help cut through a sweet and sticky sauce, yet the sauce’s aromats still will not overpower the lighter red fruits in these wines.
We suggest: 2018 Secrets de Mar Red

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

Wagyu Beef

Is it possible to discuss Asian foods without discussing this delicacy? The perfectly marbled beef offers a savory fattiness in every bite . . . a sip of red wine is the perfect follow-up! Wagyu pairs well with other wines that classically pair with beef, such as Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since this meat is such a treat, we suggest pairing it with that sensuous, aged wine you may be saving for a special occasion.
We suggest: 2017 Le Clos Grande Reserve

Pairing Wine with 11 Beloved Asian Dishes Blog Post

What’s for dinner tonight? The experts from Quigley Fine Wines are here to help you with the perfect pairings based on your palate and preferences. Give us a call at (619) 795-7043 for help selecting the wines for your next special occasion . . . or Tuesday dinner!