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Pairing Wine with Chinese Food

Phillips_Carolyn[2]Carolyn Phillips offers tips about pairing wines with Chinese food, suggesting that other beverages are likely to be a better match. Other experts may disagree, but Carolyn speaks from many years of experience in Taiwan, China, and California, and shares many stories about successful (and unsuccessful) wine pairings. This podcast is our first look at an important and much debated topic that we’ll be exploring further with Carolyn and others.

Length: 23 minutes.

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Food writer Carolyn Phillips is fluent in Chinese, having lived and worked in Taiwan for eight years during the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, the chefs in Taipei were opening up incredible restaurants featuring practically every region of this vast patchwork of cuisines. She soon learned to cook these dishes on her own, quickly amassing a library of Chinese cookbooks as she pestered proprietors of local restaurants and food stalls into handing over their family recipes and secret techniques. The results can be found in her illustrated book, All Under Heaven, about all the cuisines of China, published by McSweeney’s. Phillips is a member of the advisory board of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Chinese Cuisines. 

Karen ChristensenKaren Christensen is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Berkshire Publishing Group and a writer specializing in sustainability and community with a focus on China. One of her current projects is with George R. Goethals and Crystal L. Hoyt of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond. They are coediting Women and Leadership: History, Concepts, and Case Studies (A Berkshire Essential), and Christensen has ensured that there coverage of China and other parts of the world, including articles on Wu Zetian and Cixi drawn from the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography.

5 thoughts on “Pairing Wine with Chinese Food

  1. I’m more than halfway listening, and I still haven’t heard a positive suggestion for a wine/Chinese food pairing.

    I’ve heard lots of general and abstract stuff about Chinese cuisine, but…..I’m still waiting. I’ll keep listening…

  2. Just truth in labeling. This is an interesting discussion of why one knowledgeable food writer urges you NOT to pair red grape wines with Chinese food, in general. But, since, as the podcast acknowledges, more and more people are doing just that, it would be interesting to have some tips about how to do this better, which unfortunately the podcast doesn’t provide. It instead suggests (ahem, after minute 20) drinking sherry with Shanghai food which, to my palate, is OK, but actually too much of a muchness, i.e., too much similarity in the flavors.

    Lots of fruity, medium body reds go well with non-spicy Chinese food, and a Peking duck dinner can stand up to a really vibrant fruity red with even a tiny bit of tannin. IMHO.

  3. Barry, I agree. I like and want to drink wine with Chinese dishes. I’ve discussed this a lot with Christine Parkinson, wine director of the Hakkasan restaurants, and will try to get her on air. More to come on this subject! Thanks, Karen.

  4. Testing the reply function. Does the reply go to the writer, as well as being posted?

  5. Interestingly I just saw these videos last week talking about pairing Chinese dishes and Western wines:

    Sherry is fantastic considering their similar aldehyde content to the Chinese wines used in the dishes. Fino is fine, bet oloroso is way better.

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