Pairing wine and Chinese food might not seem the most obvious choice in the world. But the right choices can push your takeout above and beyond!

Chinese cuisine is far from homogeneous. So it’s a challenge to find a wine that can manage the complexity of its flavors.

Let’s take a look at 7 of our favorite pairings, along with some advice on what goes best with a variety of choices. No guarantees about whether you’ll be hungry for more after an hour.


wine-chinese-food-illustration-winefolly

wine-chinese-food-illustration-winefolly

One Wine to Rule Them All

Sometimes when you order Chinese takeout, the instinct is that more is better. So let’s say you’ve picked up seventeen bags of food, but only have room for one wine to pair with them all. What’s a wine lover to do?

Pairing wine and Chinese food can seem difficult with so many flavors to deal with. Spicy, sweet, tangy, salty, bitter, and umami can all be present in one dish. Good news: German Kabinett Riesling can handle it!

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matched

This comes from Riesling’s aromatics, subtle sweetness, high acidity, and lighter body, which can stand up to the flavor profile of a variety of popular Chinese dishes.

Fortune cookie wine-pairing-chinese-food-kabinett-riesling

Fortune cookie wine-pairing-chinese-food-kabinett-riesling

A Kabinett Riesling? Well said, cookie. by Flazingo Photos

Chinese takeout is often quite salty and fried, which calls for high acidity. And dishes that have a sweet and sour element pair with fruit forward wines.

However, if you’re ordering something with heavier flavors (dark sauces, duck, or pork), consider going for a sweeter Spätlese for balance.

Got your heart set on red wine? Gamay-based wines like Beaujolais are a great choice. They’ve got low tannins, good acidity, and light body, which is ideal.

Plus, the fruity, earthy, and floral flavors can stand up to a wide range of dishes. A Gamay will also be lovely with mushroom or beef-based dishes that aren’t too spicy.


Pairing Wine and Chinese Food

But what if you want something specific, or are just burnt out on Riesling (not that that could ever happen)? Let’s have a look at 7 popular Chinese dishes and the wines that love them.

Various styles of dumplings.

Various styles of dumplings.

Various styles of dumplings. By A. Limbu.

Egg Rolls & Fried Dumplings

Vegetables and various meats wrapped up in a crisp pocket, egg rolls and dumplings are a carryout classic.

Pairs With: Franciacorta.

Why It Works: Made using the same Traditional Method as Champagne, Franciacorta often has more obvious fruity notes such as lemon, peach, and cherry.

Low in alcohol and high in acidity, it’s the perfect accompaniment to these fried appetizers. That high acidity will cut through the oil, and those bubbles are just begging for something deep-fried.


A plate of crab rangoon and sauce.