Asia Gets Serious about Wine

Asian drinkers have preferred beers and liquors to wine, but that may be changing. Most restaurants in Asia now offer wine, and wine bars are cropping up in the more cosmopolitan cities. At the ultrachic French restaurant Les Amis in Singapore (, regular clients can create their own private wine lists by buying bottles from the restaurant and storing them in the cellar. Prices range from $60 to $16,500 a bottle.

New cookbooks are also helping pair Asian food with wines. "Wine With Asian Food: New Frontiers in Taste" by Patricia Guy and Edwin Soon presents a systematic approach to matching food and wines. Because Asian cuisine is characterized by a multitude of spices, the European practice of pairing the wine to the primary ingredient—a full red wine with lamb, for instance—doesn't work. The trick is to focus on the sauce. Vietnamese shrimp rolls in rice paper call for a light, sweet Austrian Grüner Veltliner. Indian chicken korma takes Australian Shiraz. A Thai green mango salad goes well with pinot grigio.

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