Poon Choi CNY casserole

Poon Choi is set to be the most popular choice for this CNY as the city continues its 6pm dine-in ban to combat the current wave of COVID19, compelling us all to stay home and celebrate this annual festival in a more intimate setting.

To pair wines with Poon Choi, it is important to understand the depth and complexity of the flavours. Poon Choi is a rich, sumptuous casserole dish comprising premium umami-rich ingredients like braised abalone, fish maw, sea cucumber, conpoy, Chinese mushrooms, dried oysters, sea moss and fresh prawns. This is often complemented by roasted duck and goose, poached chicken, stewed pork belly and a bed of vegetables stewed in oyster sauce.

The best wines will not only come with sufficient weight to counterbalance the intensity of flavours of Poon Choi; but also match the dish’s umami content. Mature wines come with tertiary flavours – meaty, mushroom, savoury notes – that go well with Poon Choi.

Steamed whole fish

In Chinese, fish “yu” sounds like “surplus”. Whole fish, be it steamed or cooked in other ways, is a traditional Chinese New Year dish. The most popular choices of fish are carp and catfish, both chosen for their auspicious sounds that resemble “good luck” and “courtesy”. Carp and catfish both come with a distinctive earthy flavour. A bottle of champagne can elevate umami and paint a rosy prospect of bubbling good luck for the coming year!

Tang Yuan sweet dumplings

Enjoying Tangyuan during Chinese New Year especially on Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, is a long-time tradition. Made from glutinous rice flour, these round sweet dumplings often come with a filling of either ground black sesame and sugar, peanut butter jam or sometimes, a Hakka-styled savoury mix. For the more popular sweet dumplings, they are often enjoyed in a sweet soup made with brown sugar and ginger. Mature Vintage Port from the 1980s offer a velvety mouthfeel that complements the silky smoothness of tangyuan wrapping. The dried red and black fruit and sweet spices work well with the sesame or peanut-based filling. Try them together this CNY!

Eight Treasure rice pudding

Eight treasure rice pudding comprises 8 ingredients which include lotus seed, longan, red dates, kumquat, honey cherry, candied winter melon, shelled sunflower seeds and pearl barley; held together by sticky rice and red bean paste. This colourful traditional CNY dessert symbolizes family reunion, happiness, good health and long life. The sheer decadence of this dessert calls for a full-bodied, youthful sweet white that’d offer intense dried fruit characters to complement and at the same time, vibrant acidity to cut through its richness.