Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When Classic meets the “Classic” - Macau Private Kitchen

Thanks for the invite from an uncle, we paid a visit to Macau for a private kitchen dining as a post celebration of a wedding. A decent size of 9-dishes meal (a slang of huge cuisine), a classic Chinese  dinner is equivalent to a family gathering. Comparing to the fine dining of western culture, this seems to be a better way of doing wine tasting, at least making sure we all taste the same delicious food and wine; or nasty ones too.
Appetizer - Portugal wine: Quinta Da Alorna (2010) strikes as the appetizer drink. With a rough brand, simple transparent bottle in lack of labeling, it has always been good giving a lower standard and jump from there. Refreshing taste with sweet limy greenly finish it has been closer to the blend of sauvignon blanc and Riesling, in fact this is made 100% Arinto
1st dish: Pork and raw fish soup with kudzu root
Soup is never compared with wine. Especially Chinese soup is recommended to drink really hot; the sweetness of the wine is spoilt.  

2nd dish: Fried crispy yellow oil chicken
Normally seen at the end of a wedding banquet, now served as 2nd dish. The oiliness of the dish is softened by the sweetness of the wine. They both went well that the crispy chicken skin serves a better texture and the wings taste smoother.

3rd dish: Bamboo pith and crabmeat stir in its own juice
Crab meat is juicer and meatier than regular dish. If regular white wine pairs well with crab, the bamboo pith’s chewiness and freshness has already done the wine’s job that the wine looks excessive for the dish.

Not a typical white burgundy, crispy and young, greenly nose instead of typical Chablis creamy ending note; amazed that 2007 still look too young for this wine, perhaps that’s what Burgundy is different from an Aussie white.

4th dish: Deep fried pork fat ravioli stuffed with crabmeat and carrot
Classic Chinese dish, due to new healthy food style, use of pork fat as the major component is rarely seen. Thanks chef for the reminiscent dish that reminds us of the olden days. This is the signature dish of the kitchen. Chablis however is too green to soften the pig fat, the oaky flavor on palate however is smoothened.

5th dish: Chopped garlic chive with chicken and roasted Chinese pine kernel
Homely dish.  Chopped stir-fried dishes often go well with wine. These dishes therefore have been the top wine pairing dishes in China. Refreshing palate becomes mild with longer finishing. The roasted pine kernel is the key to the pairing of the dish.

6th dish: Smoke “eagle” pomfret
Mayonnaise is often the partner of the dish. The acidity and the creaminess of mayonnaise often highlight the smokiness of pomfret. Again the sauce has dominated the wine, added more acidity to the wine.
One word to conclude the wine: VANILLA. Just like drinking vanilla coke. However when wine is left for over an hour, the wine has lost its length and vanilla nose is not as stronger. The wine deteriorates within the meal.

7th dish: Sauteed king prawn in supreme soy sauce
Traditional typhoon shelter dish, Napa seems too moderate for the dish. In fact a pinot noir would be a better choice, or a strong Italian white can highlight the sautéed flavor.

8th dish: Sweet and sour pork with fresh pineapple
Even though it says sweet and sour pork, the variation of the dish will always end with an unexpected result. You thought it’s pork which Napa red can still handle, the fresh pineapple in fact is more than the pork, so it becomes an acidic fruity dish that it should be handled by Italian red or Pinot Grigio. Nice shot.

This dish seems easiest of all; yet indicate the mastery of chef. How to make the fried rice less oily yet retain the dryness is the hardest part, indeed the chef can handle it well. The cabernet sauvignon gives a slight hint of vanilla flavor to the dish that fried rice no longer looks so oily and induce sore throat to the dish.

Chinese dishes are often the most difficult task for sommelier. Not entirely because of the complexity of sauce that would cover the flavor of wine, it is the chaotic sequence of dishes. Chinese dishes are not arranged from light to strong, they are cooked in various ways involving different level of oiliness that ordinary pairing may not work. Even though there are some classic whites and reds from US, France and Portugal, while facing the classic Chinese dishes, it is still not a multi-socket adaptable to the entire meal.

Thanks Macau. I will come again.

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