Pairing Wine with Asian Food at Buddakan

CorkRules | Apr 11, 2023

Pairing wine with Asian food is a common dilemma. Just what should you order with the Spicy Yellowtail Yu Sheng or the Mongolian Lamb Chops? How do we make palatable choices that cross cultures and bring out the best in each location’s use of herbs and spices?

Buddakan is an Asian restaurant that has merged the best of East and West to create an inviting space with an adventurous edge. This restaurant is well-known for culinary creations that present the exotic and vivid flavors of the Far East.  The menu offers pan-Asian fare inspired by multiple traditions and favorites such as Dim sum, noodle soups, seafood and whole Peking duck, but what is truly representative of our modern global culture is the meeting of Asian cuisine with European decor, which is reminiscent of the elegance of Paris in the 16th century. The wood panels, ornate chandeliers and renaissance paintings offer elegance and comfort. This melding of cultures is represented in the partnership of an Asian menu and a carefully curated wine list that provides a fine selection of old-world and new-world wines.

Asian food was not originally paired with wine. Traditionally, Asian food was accompanied by sake and soju, wine made out of fermented rice kernels. The notes and effect of the wine on the food were vastly different from that of wine made from grapes. So, as we discovered a love of Asian food in the west, we wanted to match our new love with our old love -- wine.

Let’s release the genie from the bottle and find the best wines to pair with Asian food. First of all, we need to recognize the herbs and spices used in the meal, we also need to consider how sweet or sour the dish is. These two factors play an important role in the choice we make.

With spicy Asian dishes, consider a sweeter, demi-sec or off-dry wine with decent acidity. At Buddakan, there are several aromatic dry whites on the wine list. The Trimbach Riesling

'Cuvée Frédéric Emile', from Alsace, France is a great choice.

If you’re hot for the Tea Smoked Spare Ribs on the menu, consider choosing a Zinfandel, this red wine has tannins that help cut the fat and work with the char flavor of barbecued ribs and the fruitiness of this grape enhances the spices.

Generally, lighter, dry reds that are low on tannins and snappy, clean, high-acid wines that bring a refreshing quality to the mouth are your best bet. Gewurztraminers and rieslings are usually a good choice. However, if there is a diverse range of meals on the table, why not bring a little effervescence to the table with some bubbles, because, can you ever go wrong with bubbles?

Spicy foods are often said to pair well with sweeter, typically white wines like a demi-sec Chenin Blanc, an off-dry Riesling, or crowd-favorite Moscato d’Asti. And that’s not entirely unfair: as long as the residual sugar levels are modest, and there’s a decent acidity cutting through it all, a slightly sweet wine can arguably make a great pairing for spicy Asian food.

Learn more about pairing wine with Asian food in six minutes on the CorkRules wine review podcast.



About the CorkRules Podcast: Each week we pour a glass and share top restaurant wine list picks, providing you with the knowledge to confidently navigate the wine list through sommelier recommendations, suggested food pairings and expert insights

About CorkRules: CorkRules, the first digital wine app experience, makes it easier for you to navigate the restaurant wine list, and provides you with personalized wine recommendations from your favorite restaurants. Through CorkRules you can find the perfect wine for every occasion based on your preferences. Connect with friends and wine experts to discover new wines to try and learn about wine. CorkRules makes it easier to discover and drink what you love.  

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