Ethnic Cuisine Pairings
Traditionally, ethnic foods have been paired with beer or drinks other than wine but an increasing trend of mixing and matching has created interesting pairing combinations. Chinese food is often grouped into four categories but a peppery wine such as Gewurztraminer tends to work well in each of these areas. Full bodied wines are important for this type of cuisine because of the many flavors incorporated into each dish. Unoaked Chardonnay, semi dry Riesling and young Sauvignon Blancs are also appropriate choices for this cuisine. For dishes that include pork or chicken, a rich Zinfandel or Beaujolais can be served. Fusion or Pacific Rim cuisine has so many elements from different cultures that a general assumption about wine pairings is diffficult to make. Each dish should be taken into consideration in its own regard and the ingredients and spices of that dish should be the deciding factors of the wine selection. Indian cuisine is also grouped into different categories, but common threads in these dishes allow white wines like the Gewurztraminer, Riesling or Pinot Gris and sparkling roses to be good general picks. Red wines like a Shiraz or Syrah or a grassy, vibrant Zinfandel are good options. Most Indian cuisine is rich in flavor so a hefty wine with lots of body is usually best. Japanese food is often salty so a semi sweet, or off dry Riesling or white Zinfandel can work well. Sparkling wine is also an option to consider when it comes to the delicate flavors of Japenese cuisine. Red wine is a surprisingly good accompaniment to Mexican food. Although spicy or chili based foods have been traditionally thought of as "beer foods", wines with fresh flavors also work well with these dishes. Mexican food also goes well with red wines like Zinfandel, Merlot, light Pinot Noirs, and Cabernet Sauvignons for dishes with hints of chocolate. These wines also pair well with Southwestern U.S. or Tex-Mex foods. Cambodian, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cuisine can surprise the palate with occasional firecracker flavors that go best with unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and fresh Zinfandel and Merlots. Thai food has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years and can include a variety of ingredients, ranging from chilies to coconut milk, that make it difficult to pair. Try enjoying this type of cuisine with an Oregon Pinot Gris, a peppery Gewurztraminer, or a lively Sauvignon Blanc. Although some foods may seem too strange or difficult for a good wine pairing, keep an open mind and experiment to find those truly unique combinations that stimulate your palate.