Exploring a contemporary approach to Chinese New Year culinary traditions has become increasingly popular, especially among Singaporeans. While the celebration has a rich history with dishes passed down through generations, recent years have seen a surge in interest in pairing wines with customary recipes for a fresh and modern experience. Here are some intriguing combinations of traditional dishes with contemporary wine pairings to welcome the new year!
Yee Sang, a vibrant dish featuring raw fish, shredded vegetables, and various condiments, is a staple at celebratory events. Accompanied by a ritual called 'lo hei,' where participants toss the ingredients for prosperity, this dish carries significant symbolism. Pairing it with Merlot enhances the blend of flavors, complementing the spices like the five-spice powder used in yusheng.
Wine Pairing: Merlot - A perfect match for the spice blend in yusheng, creating an intriguing fusion of flavors.
Representing prosperity and wellness, the whole fish is a symbolic dish during Chinese New Year. Typically prepared with sea bass and flavored with ginger, garlic, and chili, it is served with a dramatic pour of aromatic oil. For this light and fragrant dish, a Sauvignon Blanc, such as Sancerre, or a Pinot Noir provides an elegant accompaniment without overpowering the fish.
Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc (e.g., Sancerre) or Pinot Noir - A light and elegant choice that complements the fish and enhances the spice flavors.
Dumplings, shaped like old money bags, symbolize fortune and prosperity. These savory parcels are filled with a delightful mixture of meat, vegetables, and spices. Grenache, with its rich profile of juicy berries and sweet spices, pairs well with dumplings of any kind.
Wine Pairing: Grenache - A rich wine that harmonizes with the savory goodness of dumplings.
Ending the feast on a sweet note, pineapple tarts, known as 'wong lai' or 'the arrival of prosperity,' are flaky and buttery treats. A spicy Shiraz complements the tanginess and butteriness of these mouthwatering morsels.
Wine Pairing: Shiraz - The spiciness of Shiraz cuts through the richness of pineapple tarts, creating a delightful contrast.
No Chinese New Year is complete without gifting mandarins, symbolizing the giving of gold. Offering an even number is crucial for good fortune. White Port, lighter than its red counterparts, with citrusy notes, pairs perfectly with mandarin orange desserts and pastry-based treats.
Wine Pairing: White Port - A Portuguese delight with light citrusy notes, enhancing the flavors of mandarin orange desserts.
Embrace the new year with these contemporary pairings, adding a fresh and delightful twist to your Chinese New Year celebration!