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Wine and Thai Food Pairing – Perfect Matching

One of the most common questions we get regarding wine and food pairings is about what to drink with Thai food – Thai cooking uses quite strong, bold flavours (fish sauce, tamarind and curry pastes, hot chillies, Thai basil, coconut milk…), and choosing the wrong wine when matching can make for a rather unpleasant experience, doing an injustice to both the food and wine! To ensure this doesn’t happen, here are a few tips on which wines are great options for Thai dishes, whether they are very spicy, sweet, sour or bitter.

Spicy dishes

For those spicy Thai dishes such as Tom Yum Goong, Pad Thai and Green and Red Curries, off-dry whites are the obvious choice. Classic German Rieslings, Pinot Blanc and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc are all excellent options. You do not want a wine that is bone dry when pairing with spice; even if you normally only dry wines, make an exception here – you need some residual sugar to allow the wine’s fruit to come through and balance the dish’s heat. If you are looking for a red, go for a soft wine that is light to medium-bodied with minimal tannins – a fruity Pinot Noir, Merlot or Gamay would be lovely. These are especially good for spicy red meat dishes like hot beef curries and stir-fries.

Wines mentioned:

  • Off-dry German Riesling
  • Off dry Pinot Blanc
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Fruity Pinot Noir
  • Fruity Merlot
  • Fruity Gamay

Spices Thai dishes call for a wine that is both acidic and sweet – and off-dry Riesling is ideal 

Sweet, sour and bitter dishes

Even if the Thai dishes you are eating aren’t heavily spiced, you are likely still getting a complex range of flavours – capsicum, sweet and sour chicken, mild massaman curry, savoury, sticky satay, bitter broccoli or bok choy… again, with these bold dishes, you want a wine that isn’t too dry. You don’t need an overly sweet wine, but something off-dry with floral and tropical fruits to help marry all of the flavours and ingredients together. My picks here would be an off-dry rosé, a Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio or a Spanish Verdejo.

Wines mentioned:

  • Off dry rosé
  • Pinot Gris or Grigio
  • Spanish Verdejo

Juicy, charred chicken satay skewers are served with a rich, savoury peanut sauce – this dish is great with a balanced off-dry rosé or Pinot Grigio 

Read part two of our Wine and Thai Food Pairing. For more, check out Wine and Lamb pairing or Wine and Seafood pairing.

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