How To Pair Wine With Singaporean Food
Who said you could only pair wines with steaks and pasta? While Singapore’s bold and intense cuisine can be a challenge to pair with wine, it’s definitely not impossible. Read on to find out which wines to drink with your favourite local dishes.
Whites & Sparklings
Whether it’s Chinese, Malay, Indian, or Peranakan fare, you often get a lot of spices and chilli, as well as rich ingredients like salty dried shrimps or anchovies, sourness from lime or tamarind, and sweetness from palm sugar and coconut milk. These combinations result in a barrage of flavours that go well with White wine in general.
Whites work best with Singapore food due to the cooler temperature and acidity – think off-dry German Rieslings from Mosel and Alsace whites. The generous amount of sugar in local food means medium to less sweet wines will work well together, enhancing the array of spices. For something like Chicken Rice or Yong Tau Foo, we go with perhaps the Umani Ronchi Plenio Verdicchio Riserva DOCG Classico 2015 ($59, Special: $55) or Domaine Breton Pierres Rousses Vouvray Blanc 2017 ($63, Special: $55).
A Viognier, like the Viognier IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2016 ($56) from Yves Cuilleron will also do well with juicy fresh fruit notes, adding dimension to the salty and spicy flavours of Malay dishes such as Mee Rebus or Nasi Lemak.
When the spices and flavours are not overpowering (think Hokkien Mee or Carrot Cake), the Cérvoles Celler Cérvoles Blanc 2017 ($67, Special: $55) or Marc Kreydenweiss La Fontaine Aux Enfants 2018 ($67, Special: $55) will be good with their firm acidity and vibrant core fruit notes. A fuller-bodied Champagne can work as well.
With spicier food, you might opt for white wines in a more assertive style, such as a ripe Sauvignon Blanc with strong stone fruit notes, or something like the Umani Ronchi Metodo Classico Extra Brut ($66, Special: $55) with strong green pear notes and complex aroma. These can cool the mouth while balancing the spiciness, and we love them with many richer Peranakan and Indian dishes like Assam Fish and Prawn Masala.
When pairing wine with umami-rich food (like most Singapore dishes in general), the wine needs to be relatively low in tannins as umami and tannins mix to create bitter flavours. Red wine lovers have a wide variety of options to choose from since modest tannins can work great with the richness in many sauces.
Cool-climate reds and fruity reds are your best bet – for example, a New Zealand or Australian Pinot Noir with prominent fruit and fresh acidity. Or the Poggio Antico Rosso Di Montalcino 2018 ($72, Special: $55) featuring cherry, floral, and spice flavours to counterpoint smokey and savoury dishes like Beef Hor Fun and Char Kway Teow.
Incidentally, a sensual French Pinot Noir such as Domaine Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Rouge ‘La Moussière’ 2012 ($90, Special: $55) or Domaine d’Ardhuy Bourgogne Côte-d’Or Pinot Noir 2018 ($60, Special: $55) can both create a harmonious balance with some indulgent Soya Sauce Chicken Rice. Other low to moderate tannins wines like Tom Foolery Son of Gun Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2017 ($67, Special: $55), when slightly chilled, are also great companions for flavourful and more spicy dishes.
Photo courtesy of Tiberiu Ana