Matching Drinks to South-East Asian Food
When it comes to pairing food and drink, a popular strategy is to turn to the county of origin: Malbec with Argentinean steak, sherry with Jamón and so on. There’s a logic behind it, but it’s far from infallible.
The theory is especially thrown when it comes to South-East Asian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. There are lots of local liquors that are increasingly available here—in particular Japanese whiskies, Sake and Shochu—but it might not be what you’re after to go with a quick, mid-week stir-fry. More and more Asian beers are now available in supermarkets nationwide, like Thai Singha, Chinese Tsingtao and Japanese Asahi, but they tend to divide opinion among beer drinkers.
But there’s no need to restrict yourself to Asia.
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It’s about matching flavours, not geographic regions. Meantime’s Pilsner, for example, is a great option. It’s clean and crisp, with enough hoppy sweetness to balance the soy.
Salty soy flavours are trickier to pair with wines. Tesco’s Vouvray is a good off-dry bottle, with just enough sweetness to offset the saltiness.
A light, unoaked red is also a good option—something like Maison des Buillats Régnié, made by British makers who decamped to France to set up their own label.
For a non-alcoholic option, try Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer (Abel & Cole, £5.99 per four 320ml bottles), which is hard to track down but always a treat. Or, alternatively, a good supermarket- brand ginger beer with plenty of ice.