The typical red/meat and white/fish rule does not work with Malaysian food due to the varying condiments used in local dishes.

For instance, sambal can easily overpower a wine.

So, the trick is to choose a wine to work with the strong flavours present in the dish instead of matching it with the type of meat.


Popiah, satay and vegetable samosas are popular starters in Malaysia.

Pinot Noir goes well with popiah, but not with satay as the wine would be too light and overpowered by the spicy peanut sauce. It would also not pair well with the grilled or barbequed characteristics of satay.

If you must have white wine and like it a bit sweet, Chenin Blanc (South Africa) is a good choice while Malbec (Argentina) is most suitable with mutton and beef satay.

Riesling (Germany) and Malbec (Argentina) go well with vegetable samosas.

Chinese food

When choosing a wine to go with Chinese food, a general rule is to stick to German/Alsatian varietals: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc – for whites. However, for the reds, look for bold flavours – New World Cabernet, Shiraz/Syrah and Malbec wines with lots of ripe fruit and restrained acidity.

Roast pork

For roast pork, choose an aromatic, savoury Pinot Noir, a Spanish-style Garnacha (Grenache) or Tempranillo, or a spritely Italian Sangiovese or Chianti.

Dim sum

Australian and New Zealand wines such as a Pinot Gris make a good pairing with dim sum. Champagne works particularly well with fried dumplings.

Avoid full-bodied wines such as Barolo and Chianti as they would cover the delicate and sweet taste of the dim sum. Furthermore, tannins don’t work well with the soft and sticky doughy skin of dishes like Prawn Dumpling (Har Gau) and Pork Dumpling (Siu Mai).

Food with “wok hei”

For food with “wok hei” or heavily fried food, try aromatic wines like the Chenin Blanc (South Africa) or Riesling (Germany or Australia).

For a wide selection of wines to explore matching with the delicious food Malaysians are blessed with, shop at

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