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Is it possible to match wine to Vietnamese hot and sour soup? Or should we just stick with beer?

bella_sarda Dec 30, 2006 02:05 AM

The main ingreds in the soup are grouper fish, shrimp, tamarind paste, pineapple, shallot, garlic, chilies, mint, basil, and fish sauce. I'm thinking lager beer, but maybe something like an Auslese riesling would work? Thx.

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  1. r
    RicRios RE: bella_sarda Dec 30, 2006 02:12 AM

    Stick with beer.

    1. i
      itsonlyfood RE: bella_sarda Dec 30, 2006 02:30 AM

      It's beer for Sarda. Pick an Asian one like Tiger or Kirin for symmetry. Very cold.

      1 Reply
      1. re: itsonlyfood
        Wineman RE: itsonlyfood Jan 3, 2007 08:28 PM

        Go for the beer. Export 33 (Ba Mi Ba) from Vietnam or Singha from Thailand.

      2. b
        bella_sarda RE: bella_sarda Dec 30, 2006 03:04 AM

        Thanks. This is definitely my preference, but I have some guests who tend to be "wine-only" types. So I may offer a Riesling alongside the beer and let them tough it out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bella_sarda
          RicRios RE: bella_sarda Dec 30, 2006 03:11 AM

          Winos are nuts.

        2. Gary Soup RE: bella_sarda Dec 30, 2006 03:35 AM

          I'm also of the "beer is the wine that goes with everything" school of thought, and it's especially applicable to Asian food. Here's a thoughtful piece on the subject of wine with Asian food by John Mariani for Bloomberg News, here reprinted by The Drunk Report:


          1 Reply
          1. re: Gary Soup
            Bill on Capitol Hill RE: Gary Soup Jan 9, 2007 02:48 AM

            Thanks for the link -- I was just wondering why so many Indian restaurants make such a big deal about their wine selection when beer seems like the natural choice.

          2. Melanie Wong RE: bella_sarda Dec 30, 2006 03:37 AM

            Rheingau or Pfalz riesling spatlese will be fine with the flavor profile. But I will say that I generally shy away from pairing a beverage of any kind with soups. Too much liquid all round.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong
              PakaloloDreams RE: Melanie Wong Dec 30, 2006 05:03 PM

              I think your rieslings have the profile to complement the acidity/spicy of the hot/sour soup but i drink and serve a chilled dry sherry (amontillado is nice) or chilled sake with soups all the time, including acidic soups like tomato/tortilla soups (w/ a touch of chipotle crema) and i love the match.

              as far as wine with asian: go for it. i find most asian food profiles have a complement or opposite in wine, and i especially match a lot of (cellar temp) red wines as opposed to white. the only tough one is the very spicy or chili pepper or curry centric dishes: i head for cold beer or chilled sake, woo!

            2. s
              sensi63 RE: bella_sarda Dec 30, 2006 09:59 PM


              This is a really fine article about matching wine to hot/sweet/sour/salty flavors of asian food.

              I too drink beer, but to each his or her own. It can certainly be done.

              1. b
                BellaDonna RE: bella_sarda Jan 1, 2007 02:47 AM

                German Riesling
                Even a champagne can work

                And winos rule! :)

                1. c
                  Chicago Mike RE: bella_sarda Jan 2, 2007 06:43 PM

                  Riesling or Gewurztraminer should both work splendidly, although I've not tried them with this particular soup, I've had them with numerous "hot and spicy" asian soups and they're excellent.

                  As for beer, the very best beer with Spicy Asian food, IMO is a wheat beer. I've tried heavier beers, barleywines, etc. with this cuisine and not found them to be a very good match... but simple wheat beers are excellent. Paulaner Hefe Weisse would be a good example but there are many others.

                  1. b
                    bella_sarda RE: bella_sarda Jan 3, 2007 04:01 PM

                    Wanted to thank you all for the advice. I chose an Auslese Riesling, the P.J. Valckenberg "Madonna" from 2004, and the wino guests loved it. I was drinking Singha, but I tried the wine and found it to be quite tolerable with the soup, which turned out to be more sour and less hot than I'd expected. The sweetness of the wine made a nice complement, but luckily was not cloying due to a nice acid finish. FYI the wine was a bargain at $10 a bottle.

                    I like the sherry suggestion, and the "no liquid" suggestion sounds brilliant as well. I will try these in the future. Thanks.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: bella_sarda
                      Melanie Wong RE: bella_sarda Jan 3, 2007 08:35 PM

                      PD's amontillado sherry suggestion sounds good to me too. As you may recall, amontillado was the accompaniment to turtle soup in BAbette's Feast. Fino sherry is the classic partner with cream soups, such as lobster bisque. Maybe the extra alcohol helps these fortified wines not be washed out by the liquid of the soup. So a cold sake, offering contrast in temperature and weight, makes sense as well for the same reason.

                      1. re: bella_sarda
                        Chicago Mike RE: bella_sarda Jan 4, 2007 11:01 PM

                        You make a great point that on a quality-per-dollar basis, riesling is one of the best and most predictable wine values in the world.

                      2. jbyoga RE: bella_sarda Jan 9, 2007 02:52 AM


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