Sunday, April 12, 2009

NYT Article

Just read a New York Times article titled: Pairing Wine with Chinese Food. No spectacular pairings were revealed in the article, except for some tired old clichés of Chinese cuisine.

I appreciate that the writer is Chinese and understands a thing or two about Chinese food, but I stop reading when I come across the horribly westernized examples of kungpao chicken and sichuan peppercorns as pinnacles of traditional Chinese cuisine. Come on - is this what you think Chinese food is? F*cking kungpao chicken with cashews? The writer writes out of Beijing, but the truth is that Sichuan cuisine is best suited for its homeland - Sichuan. People who actually live in Beijing don't eat that kind of spicy food regularly because it isn't suited for its climate. Sichuan cuisine is just like Hunan, Shanghai, Cantonese cuisine - it's very localized, and adds to the world of Chinese cuisine, but is not indicative of our food on its own. Stop writing about it for the benefit of white people, because unless we live in Sichuan, we hardly ever eat that kind of food.

Anyways. I thought some of the wines were spot on. Riesling, of course, works the best. The article simply restates the obvious - that lighter white wines, with lots of acidity, and maybe a touch of residual sugar marry beautifully with the complexity of Chinese dishes, which use quite a bit of sugar. The author is decidedly New World, which is fine.

My preference for wines with Chinese food are German rieslings, red Burgundy, Niagara pinot noir, and Champagne. But then again, the excitement in wine comes from the unexpected - you never know how a dish will marry with a wine until that first taste, when all the melodies and harmonies resolve, and inspire bliss in the mouth.


  1. In defense of a fellow beijingnese, "chuan cai" to my knowledge, is pretty popular right now both in Beijing and Shanghai, and has been for a few the dude may know what he's talking about. Even though his face might be exploding with zits, because, you're right, it is NOT suited to the climate.

    When we hanging?

  2. I agree. It's popular, but when you're writing in a national publication about Chinese food, Sichuan cuisine is a horrible example.

    Food that spicy will not pair with any wine - period. Beer is the most logical pairing, and its what people drink with it anyways.

    And I'm upset about all these writers citing Sichuan cuisine everytime they mention Chinese food. Be more creative.