Nothing completes a meal better than a delicious drink. Be it a full-bodied red wine, well-balanced cocktail or even warm aromatic tea, there’s so much a beverage can do to elevate the flavours of food. No surprise then, that many restaurants here offer wine pairings with their dishes. There are even establishments peddling unusual matches such as beer, soju and sake.
We are always on the lookout for ways to enhance our dining experience, so we decided to consult a few culinary experts on what drinks to savour with hairy crabs — our current favourite seasonal delicacy. From ginger tea to champagne and wine, here are 6 recommendations.
Pair it with: Steamed hairy crab.
“Fresh ginger tea enhances the natural flavours of the crabs, and counters their cooling effect,” says Executive Chinese Chef Brian Wong of Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza.
“Ginger tea is traditionally served after eating steamed hairy crab, as the crab is classified as a cooling food. This is in line with the yin and yang philosophy of dining,” says Wong Yun Kai, General Manager of Jiang-Nan Chun at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.
Pair it with: Wan Hao’s steamed hairy crab dumpling with prawn.
“Champagne’s acidity and bubbles pair perfectly with the dumpling, which contains delicate seafood stuffing. The champagne accentuates the mixture of flavours and textures, and provides a refreshing and uplifting effect on the palate,” says Chef Wong of Wan Hao.
Domaine Louis Moreau, Chablis 1er Cru Vaulignot 2013
Pair it with: Jiang-Nan Chun’s steamed minced pork dumplings with hairy crab meat and crab roe.
“The succulence of the xiao long bao provides a burst of natural, sweet flavours. This is complemented by the Chablis Louis Moreau, which has notes of pineapple and green apple, and a good, steely acidity,” says Wong of Jiang-Nan Chun.
Torres De Casta Rosado, Catalonia 2014
Pair it with: Jiang-Nan Chun’s deep-fried crab shell filled with crab meat, abalones, mushrooms and onion.
“The crab shell pairs well with Torres De Casta Rosado, a wine that is flavourful and persistent on the palate. This helps reduce the oiliness of the meat,” says Wong of Jiang-Nan Chun.
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc
Pair it with: Wan Hao’s wok-fried rice with hairy crab meat, prawn roe and spring onion; or Shang Palace’s braised tofu with meat balls, hairy crab meat and roe.
“Due to the intensity of flavour and aroma from the wok-fried rice with hairy crab meat, prawn roe and spring onion, this dish is best paired with an equally intensely-flavoured wine — in this case a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. This pairing also offsets the richness of the meat and eggs, emphasising the freshness of the hairy crabs,” says Chef Wong of Wan Hao.
“My dish is easy on the palate, so it will pair well with a lighter white wine such as a dry Riesling or a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc,” says Chef Steven Ng of Shang Palace.
Tempus Two Pewter Shiraz
Pair it with: Shang Palace’s pan-fried hairy crab meat stuffed shell with shrimp paste and pork.
“A fruity red wine such as a Shiraz or a Merlot would be an excellent choice, as it matches well with the strong flavour of the glazed meat, building on the umami flavour,” says Chef Ng of Shang Palace.