Baijiu – it’s the world’s biggest-selling spirit and you’ve started warming to the potent yet popular Chinese beverage.
The next step is learning the appropriate dishes to pair with it. After all, it’s a social drink to enjoy so what could be better than sharing it around the dinner table with friends and family?
Ready to learn how to pair your baijiu? Read on.
Pairing Baijiu with Chinese Food
It’s important to understand that the type of Chinese cuisine you should pair your baijiu with depends on the brand of the spirit and the region of China it’s produced in. Once you understand the type of spirit you’re dealing with, pairing it with appropriate accompanying dishes gets a lot easier.
Have you chosen strong aroma baijiu produced in the Sichuan region, for example? Then it makes sense to pair your spirit with cuisine from the same area.
Sichuan cuisine tends to be spicy, so it will go well with a strong aroma formula that’s fruity and assertive. Such flavours help cut through the spiciness of the cuisine, making it a perfect match.
You’ll find that the dishes produced from each region will generally match well with the baijiu produced from each region. So, for the best pairings, it’s best to try to stick with this formula.
But these rules are loose and it’s, of course, all down to the preference of the drinker.
Still not too sure what food to go for? Generally, the spicy and salty dishes from Northern and Southwest China pair wonderfully with many types of the popular Chinese spirit.
A wet noodle dish or a hot pot is a great option for first-time drinkers. This is because the spirit complements the wheat in the noodles and the flavour of the broth.
Pairing Baijiu with Western Food
Baijiu isn’t limited to pairing with Chinese food however – it also matches beautifully with some Western food.
Although this is an area still ripe for experimentation, typically the beverage pairs well with Western foods that are strong flavoured or spicy to match with the spirit’s strong flavours.
Barbeque food loaded with a spicy sauce or rub, such as American-style buffalo wings will go down a treat paired with baijiu. Heavy foods such as meats like steak pair well too, as the spirit cuts through fats and rich sauces.
If you’re more of a light eater, that’s not a problem either. Today there are newer, lighter styles of baijiu produced such as the HKB brand.
These gentler formulas pair perfectly with a wide range of lighter Western dishes from seafood such as oysters to chicken salads. The gentle fruity flavours of these styles help compliment the flavours of such dishes.
If you go for a salad, for example, opt for a mix featuring bright citrus elements which match well with a baijiu variety like HKB. Generally, a lighter version allows for more experimentation, especially with Western dishes.
Want to discover more of my food adventures? Check out my review of Dans Le Noir, a restaurant where diners eat in the dark.