Food: Taiwanese braised pork belly rice (sweet, savoury and rich)
I was making this Taiwanese classic – Braised pork belly rice 卤肉饭. Recipe here.
It was a comfort dish cooked for 1.5 hours on the stove. Succulent pork belly cooked with Chinese five spice, shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, caramelised onions, and rootbeer (yes, root beer)!
The end result was sweet, savoury, rich with complexity from Chinese five spice. The pork belly was melting delicious served on top of a bed of rice.
So which wine should pair best with this classic ?
The goal of the perfect pairing is to balance out the fattiness in the pork, and yet still be able to hold up to the rich, sweet and savoury sauce. Anything with high tannins is out of the question as the sweetness in the sauce will take away most fruits in the wine and leave you with only tannins. That wouldn’t be enjoyable.
So, we will probably want something that has higher acidity, lower or no tannins, medium bodied wine to pair with braised pork like this.
I just happen to have a bottle of Arneis at home and I decided to try with the pairing.
What is Arneis?
Arneis is a classic white Italian grape from Piedmont. It is commonly found in Roero region.
Wine style: Medium bodied, lightly aromatic white wine
Tasting note: Dry, medium body with pear and apricot note.
Country of origin: Italy
Region: Roero, Piedmont
This particular one that I had is from the producer Monchiero Carbone.
It has pale straw yellow, looks like light white wine. But on the nose it has delicate and yet fresh note of ripe green pear, almond nuts. Nice acidity on the mouth but not over the top, medium bodied and the flavours lingered. An elegant and well-balanced wine!
It’s acidity cut through the pork nicely. I was worried that the sweetness and spice in the braise might over-power the wine a little, but this wine truly won the test. It didn’t get defeated by the complex flavour in fact the spices in the braised brings out the ripe fruits of the wine. Worked really well. I was pleased.
Any other wine that I can pair with braised pork rice or any other Chinese braised dishes?
- Dry Champagne
- Sparkling Shiraz
- Arneis from Piedmont, Italy
- Chenin Blanc from Loire Valley, France
- Beaujolais/ Beaujolais Cru (light tannins and lovely red fruit and spice)
- Zinfandel from California (this jammy fruity red sure will hold up the rich sauce of the braise)
- Australian Shiraz (go for the less tannic version, the typical chocolatey, black pepper spice Aussie Shiraz will add a punch to this dish)
So, what do you think?
Which wine would you pair it with braised pork belly rice ?