Pairing a bottle at a time, we tasted the chips in this order:
- Regular chips (from the Hae Bee Hiam bag)
- Salted Yolk Fish skins (from either chili crab or black pepper crab)
- Fish skins with the Chili Crab Sauce
- Fish skins with the Black Pepper Crab Sauce
- Chips with the Hae Bee Hiam Sauce
75% Garnacha and 25% Syrah blend. Everyone was raving about the strong hints of red berries (especially strawberries). This bottle also carries a heavier body compared to most Rosé out there, which is great to match up to the stronger spices & flavors. Pretty sure its healthier too since its organic … no?
Did not pair well with: Hae Bee Hiam Chips, as expected the spiciness overpowered the taste of the berries and even the sweetness of the wine (We were pretty bummed about that one). Runner up was the Chili Crab dip BUT with plain potato chips. The salted yolk fish skin was pretty umami and that it didn’t go well with this rosé either.
Paired well with: Plain potato chips! The best pairing where the notes of wine and body were accentuated by the flavor of the chips. A surprising pairing for some was the potato chips with the black pepper sauce! The sweetness of the wine lingered although the notes of wine weren’t as accentuated as with the plain chips.
Probably our favorite Chardonnay. Buttery, intense and medium bodied. Matured in French oaked barrels, it pays off with intense notes of vanilla and coconut.
We placed our bets on the Oaked Chardonnay to cut through the slight richness of the salted yolk fish skins. Surprisingly however, it did not! Average ratings were given to the pairing with Chili Crab and Black Pepper crab as well. Ultimately, still good ol’ plain potato chips accentuated this oaked Chardonnay the best. Retaining its intense note of vanilla, it was a favourite all around.
Though everyone was commenting on how well the Chardonnay is really at its best on its own. Proves that good wines still are gold on it’s own.
b.IO bpuntoio, Nero d’Avola Cabernet “Terre Siciliane” Organic IGP 2017
An organice 55% Nero d’Avola, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon blend. At first whiff, Samuel (hardcore fan of Montepulciano) mentioned it smelled funky. But Denise (fan of sweet wines) loved it, complimenting on the unique hint of fruit. This medium bodied red had strong hints of ripe plum and slight leafy notes and luscious in tannins, giving it an almost jammy-earthy kinda of taste to it.
The potato chip & black pepper sauce combination was a clear winner for this. Although what came in reaaally close was the salted egg fish skins on its own (insert hurrah gif). The former highlighted the fruitiness of the plum & the fish skin on its own brought forward the sweetness of the wine. We were pretty surprised at the turnout of this one.
An airplane style young Merlot (have faith)
Somehow or rather, the Merlot tasted a lot better with the hae bee hiam chips! Could be that this bottle is low in tannins. Which, we believe you could extend it to be a good pairing with any Sambal based dishes (it’s the slightly sweet & fishy chili kick that goes well with this young Merlot. Asian food is hard to explain.)
Lastly, we had a slight bubbly sweet Red. This bottle surprised many non-fans of sweet wines that night. Burst of lovely notes of roses and richness of berries on the palate.
For this we doved straight into Hae Bee Hiam chips and were rewarded with escalated sweetness from the wine. We were hoping the notes of wine will stand out more when paired with this wine, but it was instead the Chili crab that did the job! It not only maintains but accentuates the wine on the palate, this pairing definitely rounded the night perfectly.
Overall, we realized the salted egg yolk fish skins were pretty umami hence it did not pair superbly well with half of the wines we had. This is mainly because umami flavors generally made the wines more acidic. The white and rose wines, which are typically more acidic gave more of a burn, & its’ fruitness was muted.
Little Wine Nuggets
In an earlier separate session with another group, we brought out Hugel & Fils ‘Hugel’ Gewurztraminer and Bosco Del Merlo Prosecco. It was an impromptu pairing with the Hae Bee Hiam chips and Chili crab and I must say we got nods for that!
With the chips on its own the Prosecco did its job perfectly. The pairing was simple and light on the palate. The flavor of the chips weren’t masked and the sweetness of the wine was present and fruity.
So here’s our final thoughts!
Overall it was an intriguing session for us. Asian foods tend to have a lot of umami flavor, or chili & other spices. Umami causes wines to taste more acidic, so go for a wine that has plenty of fruit.
For the chili flavors, try to take a sweeter wine to enhance the sweet flavor of the wines. It also cuts through the spice, a big no-no would be bubbles. Your tongue may be on fire after. If it’s a really spicy dish, you could try a spicy peppery wine, as it would mute the spice in the wine, and bring out the rest of it’s flavors.
If you’ve read our article written by the lovely Clarabelle on Asian food pairings, you should already know the basics of what types of wines go well with spicy & umami based foods. The idea behind wine pairings is to accentuate and highlight notes and palate of a wine with the meal or snack you’re consuming with.
And with that, if you’re a Asian snacks lover, we hope this article has helped you figure out how to make the wine work for you, and not just the snacks!