It can be difficult to pair wine with the spicy and intensely aromatic food of Malaysia, but it can be done.

Here’s a guide on some of our country’s mouth-watering specialities that add so much spice to our life, and their recommended pairing.

Food with chilli

For spicy food, Sauvignon Blanc tops the match. Choose wines from either cool New Zealand or warm Chile.

Nasi lemak

German Riesling also pairs well with nasi lemak, and so does Chardonnay. Opt for the French Bordeaux Blanc (made from a mixture of French Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon), if you are not a fan of sweet wine. For the adventurous, try the French Beaujolais (made from Gamay grape).

Avoid big, bold and full-bodied wines like the Shiraz/Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon as these wines tend to fight with the flavour of the food and would likely make the nasi lemak even hotter!

Curry laksa

The off-dry white, Gewurztraminer is a great wine to accompany this street-food favourite with just enough sugar to compliment the spice.

Blended red wines also do well – try Australian Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon.

Beef rendang

To complement this heavy curry, you’ll want to choose a low alcohol red with a degree of sweetness and a fruity character. A Zweigelt is a great choice or an Australian Shiraz, best served slightly chilled. Cabernet Sauvignon also works well.

Other spicy dishes

Sambal udang is a shrimp dish is best paired with a sparkling Rose or chilled Rose from southern France. This refreshing, light wine cuts through the spicy flavours, offering some welcome relief from the heat.

Assam fish and Riesling make a good pair.

Pinot Noir goes well with seafood/vegetable curry.

The bottom line is there are no rules for food and wine pairing; the best match is what pleases your palate and captures the moment.

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