Pairing wines with Malaysian food isn’t always an easy task. There are all kinds of flavours to choose, from rich and spicy, to light and delicate. When it comes to seafood, they are no different, we love to indulge on Fish Head Curries during potluck dinners and swap over to a more delicate steam or flash fried Pomfret fish on weekdays.
You’re probably thinking it’s always best to pair white wine with white meat (aka seafood), but what if we told you that’s not always the case. Let’s not take our attention away from our other ocean friends, crustaceans; scallop, crab, prawns, clams, etc. These meatier seafoods can be paired with red wines too! So, here lies a truly difficult tasks of choosing the right wine to pair with the right food.
“Steamed” fish is generally adored by all Malaysians, whether it is at home or at your favourite restaurant. Ordering fresh grouper or fresh tiger prawns with soy sauce or buttered are the gold standard. Delicate and flaky, this dish pairs best with a dry, young and fruity White or Rosè wine with fresh acidity to best match and enhance the rest, delicate sweetness of the fishmeat.
Suitable pairing wines include crisps & fruity Sauvignon Blanc and unoaked Chardonnay to accompany the lightness of flavours. Other notable pairings can be Rieslings, Pinot Gris and a Chenin Blanc.
Vyne recommendation: Click here for Pinot Grigio - Domenico Fraccaroli
CURRIED & SPICY
For Malaysian foodies, we can proudly say, curries touch close to our heart. There aren’t many local cuisines that hasn’t had their own version of a curry dish! The range is enormous.
Fish head curry is a “melting pot” of traditional Indian, Malay and Chinese Peranakan cuisines, with its unique blend of many herbs and spices. This spicy fish dish has many strong flavours and pleasant textures, that’s always washed own a glass of ice-cold beer or sweet-citrus drinks to counter the hot chilli and spicy taste.
Rule of thumb - spicy food cannot be paired with full-bodied (high alcohol). The higher the level of alcohol in a wine, the more astringent (and uncomfortable) spicy food it will feel on your tongue.
Pair with semi-dry (slightly sweet), aromatic, fruity young Whites or Rosè to allow the sweetness of the grape to balance the spiciness of curries. Rieslings, Moscatos, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer are favourites to pair with curries. Sparkling wines like Prosecco or Cava can also be a bubbly alternative.
What wine should you pair with your favourite pasta? As you might guess it depends on the sauce rather than the pasta shape.
1. Seafood (spaghetti vongole, spaghetti with mussels, linguine with crab) need crisp dry whites such as Pinot Grigio. A dry rosé is good too. Crab or lobster sauces can take a fuller white such as a good quality Chenin Blanc or Chardonnay.
2. Tomato-based sauces include fresh tomato with basil: crisp dry whites such as Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio. Cooked tomato sauces such as napoletana or marinara): Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a light Sicilian red.
3. With hot spicy sauces such as arrabbiatta, aglio olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil and chilli). Try either a sharply flavoured dry white wine or a rustic Italian red: Zinfandel or Valpolicella Ripasso.
Vyne recommendation: Click here for Ripasso - Domenico Fraccaroli