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What to drink with Asian food?

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Sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty, Asian foods are highly complex in flavor. As a result, understand what to drink and eat with Asian food can be challenging, but is important to enjoy the maximum pleasure. 

Mainstream Asian food pairs well with soda and teas, however these beverage selections are not the only ones that go well with the cuisine.

What to drink with Asian food? Asian food typically pairs best with green tea, which is drank at the end of the meal to aid digestion. 

Traditionally, lager, sake, soju and rice wine are served as classic alcoholic beverages with a majority of Asian food. Most people like beer or a glass of wine.

For beer, go with a fairly light blonde beer such as lager, pilsner, or ale. 

As for wine, choose a light to medium-bodied white wine that is dry to semidry such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. However, avoid big, bold wines or oaky Chardonnay that conflict with the flavors. 

Even though Asian cuisine is becoming more popular and easy to get, it can be challenging to decide what to drink when eating Asian food. Furthermore, not all Asian foods are created equal when it comes to beverage pairings due to various cuisines including Korean, Chinese, Thai, Indian and Japanese food with a wide range of flavors and textures. 

The best drink to pair with Asian food is a common question often asked by foodies. This article will answer what to drink with Asian food and explain the different options from wine to beer and cocktails.

What alcohol do you drink with Asian food?

Easiest way to pair Asian food is with wines or beers. Complementing the meal with the sweetness of Pinot Gris or Riesling for salads, pickled vegetables, spicy dishes and seafood. 

Be aware that spicier dishes, for instance, beef with black bean sauce goes wonderfully with red Mallorca, Merlot, Cabernet, and Syrah.

For beer options, especially with hot and sour dishes, go for citrusy and spicy beer including ginger beer, IPA, Saison, and Ale.

Alcoholic beverages are a choice that many people make when dining out, but not all of them consider the taste and pairing of alcoholic drinks with Asian food. 

Here are classic alcoholic beverages to drink with Asian food other than wine and beer:

  • soju
  • rice wine
  • sake
  • baijiu
  • awamori
  • arak
  • umeshu

What beer to drink with Asian food?

Beer is one of the most popular types of alcohol to drink with Asian food. 

Many popular Asian dishes pair nicely with a dark stout beer such as Guinness or even a malty German beer like Paulaner. Other classic examples include Asahi Super Dry beer or a hot bowl of noodles paired with an ice-cold Tsing Tao lager. 

If anyone prefers a hoppy beer, then Weihenstephan Hefeweizen or Sapporo Draft are good options.

Depend on the cuisine, consider these types of beer when pairing with Asian food:

  • Chinese food: Carlsberg, Indian Pale Ale, Pilsner
  • Thai food: IPA, lager, wheat beer
  • Korean food: lager, Hite, Cas, OB
  • Japanese food: Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo

What wine to drink with Asian food?

Wine is an excellent choice for what to drink with Asian food. Since most of the cuisine is rice or noodles, certain wines will work better than others. 

Dry red wines such as Pinot Noir pair with Chinese food or Asian fusion cuisine. Other good choices would be a California Cabernet Sauvignon that go well with spicy Thai food, or a Malbec from Argentina that complements spicy cuisine.

  • Chinese food: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnays, Zinfandel
  • Japanese food: Riesling
  • Korean food: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
  • Thai food: Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Vietnamese food: Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blanc
  • Indian food: Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Zinfandel, Syrah, Shiraz

What drink goes with Asian food?

When it comes to what to drink with Asian food, there are a few primary choices – wine, liquors, soda or tea. 

While beer is very popular, it’s not as versatile as the other alcohol choices. Wine and liquors go with a wide range of cuisines.

One thing to consider when eating and drinking is the spicy nature of Asian food. Heat is attracted to intoxicants, so there is definitely a tendency to drink more alcohol when eating spicy foods.

In general, wine goes best with Asian cuisine that is mild. Red wines go well with many dishes, while white wines complement sweet or salty foods.

Here are drink options that go with Asian food:

  • Wines: white, red, sparkling rosé
  • Beer: IPA, lager, stouts, porters
  • Alcohol: sake, Baijiu, Umeshu, soju, rice wine

With these in mind, when serving specific meal, use below recommendation to enjoy the meal.

  • Japanese curry: sake
  • Yakitori: sake
  • Sushi: sake, Chardonnay, Champagne, Pinot Noir, Lager
  • Fried rice: Riesling
  • Katsu curry: lager, riesling, Viognier
What to drink with Asian food

Drink with Asian Food: Conclusion

Asian foods encompass a wide range including Korean to Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisine. There are no wrong answers when exploring what to drink with Asian food because it all comes down to personal preference and cravings of your taste buds.

Green tea is the best non-alcoholic beverage to ease digestion and blend well with the diverse flavors and range of spices. 

Sake and rice wine are the ultimate choice when it comes to universal alcoholic beverages to serve with Asian cuisine. When selecting beer, go with light beer such as lager, pilsner, or ale. 

For wine, light to medium flavor goes well with most Asian food. However, follow the general guideline of meat- or seafood-based dish in order to finalize the white or red wine selection.

Each food is drastically different from one another, but the common pairings with wine, beer or traditional liquor will surely be delicious. Use this guide to pair the right beverages with Asian food to explore enjoyable flavors with each and every meal.

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