Best Guide To Food And Wine Pairings For 15 Popular Cuisines

29 May 2021

Guide To Food And Wine Pairings For 15 Popular Cuisines – Do you drink wine without thinking about what kind of food best suits the wine or vice versa? Here’s how to pair your wine with your food.

Welcome to our Wine Focus – First Glass Series.

Whether or not you realise it, the taste of the food and wines combined matter. Continue reading our guide to food and wine pairings for 15 popular cuisines.

Below we look at the wine pairings for the following foods.

    1. Chinese
    2. Pizza
    3. Mexican
    4. Burgers
    5. Sushi
    6. Greek
    7. Turkish
    8. Chicken
    9. Fish
    10. Indian Cuisine
    11. Thai
    12. Fish & Chips
    13. Japanese
    14. Kebab
    15. Portuguese

Introduction – Best Guide To Food And Wine Pairings For 15 Popular Cuisines:

What is “food and wine pairing”? – Food and wine pairing is the deliberate act of choosing wines that are compatible in taste with the flavours of the food you intend to eat.

For example, the taste of certain wines goes well with specific food ingredients, thereby elevating the overall eating out experience.

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, this article is for you.

I’m not a natural wine drinker. Alcohol had never interested me.

But it’s not that I never drink alcohol. Instead, I use it to underscore my milestones and occasions. I usually only use it to celebrate.

And so, occasionally, I’ve wondered which drink was best to order with my meal but never felt it necessary enough to ask.

For years, I never valued drinking wine at all. Hopefully, you’ll not be like me, who, for decades, ignored wine and why it matters.

Ignoring wine is almost as bad as neglecting music’s existence. Both wine and music have the incredible power to change our mood.

So if you’re like me and wonder which drink works best with food, keep reading.

bottles of wine
bottles of wine

Where in Wembley can I enjoy excellent wine?


Wine And Why it Matters

Choosing a suitable wine or soft drink to sip with your meals is an art. However, many people are unfamiliar with the factors they should consider to “blend” wine with their foods.  

According to the World Atlas of the Wine, “There is no other product on earth, agricultural or industrial, where value is directly and precisely related to where it grows and gets made”.

In no particular order, famous wines come from Italy, France, Chile, Germany, Austria, Australia, England, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, and the USA.

So why is it interesting to know that wines come from across the globe?

Surely that much everyone knows. Well, each place on earth where wine as a product originates and gets produced offers a unique flavour to the entire wine market, shaping the taste of the available wine.

This article explains the essential factors you should consider to match your food with a suitable wine and elaborate on the best wines and soft drinks that go with various cuisines to enjoy a wholesome meal. 

What is excellent about matching wine with various cuisines is that you do not have to learn any complicated systems to be effective. Instead, you have to follow some simple guidelines to make a successful combination of wine and food.

Wines’ Has Health Benefits

Imagine my surprise learning that teetotallers could increase their lifespan by regularly drinking wine. 

Wait! What?

Studies found that fewer people in France were dying from heart disease than in other countries despite having a generally higher diet in saturated fat. Researchers concluded that their regular intake of wine was most likely the cause.

It took me some time to accept that I could do myself a lot of good by being a little bit “bad”.

It’s drinking in moderation that is the determining factor. The risks of excessive drinking far outweigh any potential benefits of drinking wine.


So Why Does Drinking Wine Make A Difference?

Scientists say drinking wine makes a difference because wine is naturally high in antioxidants.

But what are antioxidants? For our non-scientific purposes in this article, it’s much better to ask, “how do antioxidants help?”

The online medical authority website, WebMD.com, has to say about antioxidants.

“The antioxidants in wine fight cell damage in our bodies caused by ageing, environmental factors like pollution, and lifestyle. By preventing and reversing this cell damage, a diet high in antioxidants can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases, including cancer.”

In summary, antioxidants counteract the impact of living, so it seems that drinking some wine is indeed helpful.

WebMD also suggests that wine contains flavonoids, anthocyanins, and other plant-based antioxidants that reduce bodily inflammation. 

It should now be clear that I’ve slowly talked myself into drinking more.

Deep red wine in a glass
Deep red wine in a glass

What’s Important About Food and Wine Pairing?

Let’s begin by explaining the three most important factors you should consider to match your food with a suitable wine and elaborate on the best wines and soft drinks that go with various cuisines to enjoy a wholesome meal.

What is excellent about matching wine with various cuisines is that you do not have to learn any complicated systems to be effective. Instead, you have to follow some simple guidelines to make a successful combination of wine and food.

But wine pairings are much less about antioxidants than being about taste with what you’re eating. 

So what are three factors to consider when making your choice of food and wine?


3 Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Wine

01- Sweetness – How Sweet Is The Wine?

Generally, sweet foods go with equally sweet wines. Sweetness is essential in cutting down the salty taste and enhancing the meal’s richness.

Therefore, checking the sweetness level of the wine is vital for pairing it up with suitable food. 

02- Acidity – What is The Wine’s Level of Acidity?

Wines belonging to cold climates are much more acidic than those from humid climates. Determining the acidity level of wine is a helpful technique for pairing it with a suitable food dish.

Meals with greater fat calories are typically best consumed with top acidic wines such as Rose and White.

03- Pairing – How Well Does The Wine  Match With The Sauce?

Another valuable strategy of pairing a glass of wine with your meal is matching the wine with the sauce. For instance, citrus sauces are typically better with Sauvignon Blanc wine.

Similarly, Chardonnay wines match well with cream and mushroom sauces.

Now that you are familiar with some basics of choosing a suitable wine, you should know about the following suggested wines for different cuisines.

wine pairing chart
wine pairing chart

15 Exciting Food & Wine Pairings For Popular Cuisines

Before looking at the most common food and drink pairings, know that you can drink whatever you want with whichever food you want. In my world, there is no Wine Police to insist on what you drink with what.

Many people drink what they want, whenever they want, without ever considering pairings. And so can you.

There’s nothing to prevent you from having a soft drink with any cuisine you like or a glass of wine with fish and chips if you prefer.

But if you enjoy drinking wine, there is a benefit in understanding which wine best suits the food you’re eating, all to aid your overall eating experience.

Below we look at wine pairing for Chinese food, Pizza,  Mexican food, Burgers, Sushi, Greek, Turkish, food-based around Chicken dishes, fish & Chips, Indian, Japanese, Kebab, and Portuguese food.

However, with that said, let’s now look at which wines get paired with which types of typical cuisines.


01- Which Wine Pairs Best With Chinese Cuisine?

Chinese food has always been well-liked by people worldwide because it reflects a rich and colourful food culture. Moreover, there is so much Chinese food variety that everyone can find something to suit their tastes.

A general rule for finding a suitable wine for Chinese food is to stick to German varietals, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc if you prefer white wines. On the other hand, you can choose bold flavours in red wines such as New World Cabernet and Malbec wines.

Typically, people prefer Pinot Noir with Chinese food because it enhances the overall taste of the meal. You can find this wine in cheap and expensive price ranges as it can vary anywhere from £15 to £200.


02- Which Wine Pairs Best With Pizza?

Different kinds of wines are suitable for various flavours of pizzas. For instance, Italian wine should get paired with Margherita pizza.

This fact is that you should be choosing a wine capable of handling the acidity of tomatoes and cutting through the mozzarella without affecting the taste of the pizza. Know that all kinds of reds, whites, and roses work perfectly with classic pizza.

Pizza
Pizza

A pepperoni pizza is exceptionally rich in flavour as it has a variety of spices. Hence, a robust wine like Sangiovese is suitable for this pizza.


03- Which Wine Pairs Best With Mexican Food?

Typically, people prefer beer and tequila with Mexican food. However, some outstanding wines go well with the bold flavours of Mexican food. 

Experts recommend that you focus on pairing a suitable wine with the dominating flavour of the dish.

For instance, if your Mexican food contains much lime and tomatillos, you should have Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris to complement your meal. 

Similarly, if you consume smoky or grilled meat, you should prefer Malbecs or red wines.


04- Which Wine Pairs Best With Burgers?

Many different wines and soft drinks work perfectly with your burgers. So you do not have to think much about choosing a perfect wine to enjoy the burgers.

Generally, people prefer soft drinks like coca-cola with their burgers. However, if pairing it with excellent wine is essential, you should choose a red meat-friendly wine like Cabernet Sauvignon.

You should prefer wines like rosé with less tannin to complement the spice and a little sweetness to provide a delicious taste for spicy burgers.

On the other hand, Beaujolais is perfect for juicy and crunchy burgers.

Sandwich hamburger with and mix of vegetables. Fast food. Delicious hamburger

05- Which Wine Pairs Best With Sushi?

Saké, or Japanese rice wine, is typically the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Sushi. However, its taste and composition are closer to beer rather than wine.

Sushi
Sushi

If you believe that sake is not a satisfying drink for you, you should become familiar with other wines that go well with Sushi.

One of them is Albariño wine. It is extremely rich in lime, green peas, and blossom flavours.

The primary reason for this recommendation is that it has high acidity, which enhances the overall taste of your Sushi.

People who love red wines should go with Pinot Noir or Sancerre as its perfect combination of light body and tannin will make your experience of eating Sushi even more enjoyable.

french, german and spanish bottles of wine
French, German and Spanish bottles of wine

06- Which Wine Pairs Best With Greek Cuisine?

Greek food consists of several courses that get served in the family style. As a result, choosing a suitable wine can be pretty challenging.

This process is easy if you focus on the predominant part of the meal. For instance, light reds like Pinot Noir and Sangiovese pair nicely with Meze (dips and pita bread).

Similarly, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot is preferable for sauce-based dishes.

To find the best one for yourself, try out different combinations yourself.


07- Which Wine Pairs Best With Turkish Food?

Wines do not traditionally accompany Turkish cuisine. Instead, soft drinks get preferred when eating Turkish food.

However, if you must drink wine with your Turkish food, you should choose full-bodied white wine or medium reds because they have relatively high acidity to handle the rich flavours of such dishes.

Turkish wines are also available in many restaurants and go well with Turkish foods. The taste of such wines is quite similar to Pinot Noir. 

And this food is not dissimilar in style and content to Greek food.

Hence, if you like the combination of good acidity, fruit, spice, and pepper, you should go for Turkish wines to enhance the flavours of Turkish dishes. 


08- Which Wine Pairs Best With Chicken?

Both red and white wines go well with Chicken, depending on the dish and how you cook it. However, most people prefer white wine like Chardonnay with Chicken because it has become a well-known choice worldwide.

However, remember that lighter red wines like Pinot Noir can also enhance the flavour of the Chicken as they have good acidity, which makes them a reliable alternative to white wines.

Chicken
Chicken

There are many different wines you can drink with Chicken. 

This applies to many Caribbean restaurants or West Indian restaurants as Chicken is an everyday staple of these cultures. The Caribbean culture seems to be predominated by Jamaican cuisine.

The main thing that you remember while choosing a suitable wine is it should not overpower the meat and have decent acidity to accentuate the flavours. 


09- Which Wine Goes Best With Fish?

Fish is a highly versatile ingredient, so there is an extended range of available fish dishes. In addition, you can cook fish in numerous ways.

So you’ll have to try different wines to find the perfect one per your taste. Generally, white wine perfectly pairs up with fish. However, red wine can also be quite ideal in some fish dishes.

Pairing a suitable wine with fish depends a lot on how you are consuming and preparing fish. For example, white fish fillets go well with a light white wine like Pinot Grigio and Albariño.

vegetarian-food-fish-and-vegetables
vegetarian-food-fish-and-vegetables

On the other hand, you can drink wines like Viognier and rosé rich in acidity and flavour with meatier fish like tuna.

In short, you have many choices to have a perfect glass of wine with your fish and enjoy your delicious meal.


10- Which Wine Goes Best With Indian Cuisine?

For spicy Indian dishes, you should go for Sparkling rosé or Pinot Noir. Dishes like chicken masala use tomatoes and curry pastes that give a vibrant and spicy flavour. 

You have to consider how spicy the food is before choosing a suitable wine. The typical spiciness helps you know that your selected drink complements the dish’s taste.

vegetarian food lentil soup
Thick indian red lentil soup with cilantro served with indian flat bread.

Many Indian dishes have cream-focused sauces like korma and tikka masala because the cream alleviates the naturally high spice level.

Thus, you can choose more profound red wines for creamy Indian dishes. Carignan, Cabernet Franc and Barbera are some of the many wines that go well with such meals.

Other than these wines, soft drinks and lassi are also intelligent choices for Indian food. 

Wine info chart

11- Which Wine Pairs Best With Thai Food?

If you want to play safe, you should always get white wines with Thai food. The reason is that white wine has a limited amount of alcohol level, and it is capable of toning down the spiciness with a fresh sugary flavour, especially if you are choosing a sweet white wine. 

Moreover, white wines are light, so they will not clash with the rich flavours of Thai food like fish sauces. Instead, they complement the taste of coconut and lemongrass.

Therefore, if you plan to eat spicy seafood or even dessert dishes of Thai cuisines, you should consider having white wine.

If you’re adventurous and regularly enjoy rich flavours, you can consider having sparkling wine with Thai food. Such wines have high acidity and fizziness, which clashes with the grease found in fried dishes.


12- Which Wine Pairs Best With Fish and Chips?

It would be best to pair crispy and crunchy dishes like fish and chips with a wine with an excellent balanced level of acidity. Sparkling wine gets highly regarded as the best wine with deep-fried food. 

fish and chips

You can even go for a glass of champagne as it goes well with fish and chips. 

Other wines that you can choose from are Semillon, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. Many people also prefer having soft drinks with fish and chips because they enhance the overall deliciousness of the dish. 


13- Which Wine Pairs Best With Japanese Food?

A glass of white wine is perfect with almost all Japanese food. However, choosing a suitable wine is also heavily dependent on the seasoning of the good.

Wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Sancerre are the best choices for lighter Japanese meals. These wines have a fair amount of acidity to match such dishes.

On the other hand, you should drink wine with sugar, like Riesling, with dishes with a unique Japanese sweetness and heat.

Choosing a well-balanced wine with a perfect combination of acidity and sweetness can make a huge difference in enjoying a good meal at a Japanese restaurant.

Red, White and Grapes
Red, White and Grapes

14- Which Wine Goes Best With Kebab?

Cabernet Sauvignon is undoubtedly the best wine to go with kebabs because it is a powerful wine capable of handling the richness of the kebab dish.

Another wine that goes well with kebabs is Merlot because it has a powerful combination of fruity flavours that enhance the kebabs’ spiciness.

Several other wines like Italian and Barbera also pair up well with kebabs. Some people also prefer simple soft drinks as their fizziness enhances the delicious taste of such dishes.

Thus, you have many options to enjoy a suitable drink with your kebab dish.


15- Which Wine Pairs Best With Portuguese Food?

A variety of white wines get produced in Portugal, which provides numerous options to consumers. Generally, full-bodied whites and medium reds suit Portuguese cuisine because they go well with fish and seafood meals.

For example, Verdelho wine is one of the best white wines for food items because it has a fresh, crisp, and rich flavour. On the other hand, medium reds get typically preferred with cod (Bacalhau).

Some Popular Wine Classifications

If you’re new to pairing, other factors make the pairing work. One aspect is how wines get categorised. Knowing those classifications can help you match wines to your temperament.

A recent wine supplement I studied categorised wine in the following ways.

    • White wines were said to be Light and Dry.
    • Others were also said to be Aromatic.
    • Some wines got described as Full-flavoured.
    • Red wines got described as Fruity, Rich & Bold, or Medium-weight.
    • Then they were the Rosés and Fortified & Sweet wines. Wine authors also describe them as crisp whitesfresh reds or sultry roses.
    • Plus the sparkling wines and champagnes.

To crystallise these, here are a few examples

    • Light and Dry – 2020 Garganega/Pinot Grigio, Veneto, Italy – £7 M & M&S.
    • Aromatic – 2020 Dealuri, Feteasca Regala, Romania – £4.99 Aldi.
    • Full-flavoured – 2020 Masseria Pletrosa, Verdeca Puglia, Italy – £8.25 Morrisons).
    • Fruity – 2020 Summer Road, Old Vine Grenache Riverland, Australia – £8.49 Waitrose
    • Rich & Bold – 2018 Tesco Finest Ribera del Duero, Spain – £12 Tesco
    • Medium-weight – 2020 Porta 6, Lisbon, Portugal, £7.50 Tesco
    • Rosés – 2020 The Pale by Sacha Lichine Rosé, Pays d’Oc, France – £13.99 Waitrose
    • Fortified & Sweet Wines – NV M&S Manzanilla Sherry, Andalucia, Spain – £8 M&S

Four pairing rules to which you should pay attention

    1. Red wines pair best with red meats
    2. White wines pair best with Chicken and fish.
    3. The wine should be sweeter than the food you’re eating.
    4. Aim to match the wine with the sauce instead of the meat

Where in Wembley can I enjoy excellent wine?

Finally – Food And Wine Pairings For 15 Popular Cuisines

So there you have it; A list of wine and drink pairings to accompany the 15 most commonly available cuisines that we all enjoy.

If you have any views, agree, or otherwise, please make them known in the comments below.

Don McDonald

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