Wine and then some

When it comes to wine pairing, there are typically two ways of thinking: contrast or complement.

Gone are the days when white wine was strictly for fish and red for red meat. Wine pairing for Chinese cuisine, or scaled down to dim sum, should not be overlooked, as it may be a little more complicated due to its sauces, spices, flavors and textures.

A complementary wine for siu mei or rice rolls would be the Gunn Estate Reserve Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2020 from New Zealand. Its notes of grapefruit, lime, citrus, mango and passion fruit, as well as subtle tannins, go well with the saltiness of the meat and the complex sauce.

A contrasting wine would be red. The more structured Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Saga Pauillac 2016 from Bordeaux contains fruity and oaky notes and bold acids to balance the fattiness and oiliness of the meat.

Most fried dim sum, including taro puffs, fried dumplings, deep-fried dace fish balls and pot-stickers, are particularly well suited with a fruity bubbly.

Try out the pairings for yourself at Meen & Rice at The Pulse in Repulse Bay – which star chef and fussy eater Ricky Cheung Kam-cheung, who constantly explores local delicacies, highly recommends.

The Cantonese eatery touted for its traditional cooking has a weekday all-you-can-eat dim sum dinner (HK$328) featuring 30 items. It comes with the wine pairing options mentioned above (from HK$50).

For Cheung, it’s especially leisurely that the sea breeze goes a long way in adding to the enjoyment of the handmade dim sum and robust wines.

One dim sum highlight, the shrimp dumpling with black truffle, is exceptionally flavorful and created by bringing together the sweetness and tender texture of the shrimp, the aromatic Italian black truffle and the chewiness of the thin wrapping skin.

The siu mai topped with whole abalone is also recommended. The filling combines hand-cut picnic ham and shrimp, offering a bouncy texture. A whole abalone on top adds a luxurious touch.

The eatery’s homemade siu mei items are also worth trying, such as Iberico char siu, roast pork belly, poached chicken and soy sauce chicken. The all-you-can-eat offering also comes with a complimentary dish of the restaurant’s signature assorted barbecued meat.

A la carte dishes are as good as the others, thanks to the chef’s insistence on freshness.

Sauteed shrimp balls with XO sauce (HK$238) and steamed grouper (HK$298), caught fresh daily, are must-tries. The shrimp is full of wok hei and not too spicy, while maintaining the tender qualities of the crustacean.

The steamed grouper is topped with slices of shiitake mushroom and Jinhua ham, offering an unforgettable briny punch.

(This article was published at The Standard on May 7 2021: Weekend Glitz: Wine and then some )

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