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Pairing Chinese food and wine

Takeout Tastings: Your go-to guide for pairing wine and Chinese

Chinese food has been a staple on the Australian takeaway menu for pretty much as long as Shiraz has been the country’s chief red wine choice. It’s familiar, comforting and for a lot of us, usually associated with memories of family gatherings around a table with a Lazy-Susan centrepiece. And whilst Chinese food in Australia continues to evolve and refine as the years go by, one thing that remains is our penchant for a glass of wine with our Chinese takeaway.

To help you get the most of out of your next takeout order, we’ve put together this handy guide for pairing wine with your favourite Chinese dishes.


Peking Duck Pancakes

Gentle, fruitier varieties of wine work well with the gamey duck and sweet hoisin sauce in the pancakes.

Pairing Wine with Peking Duck Pancakes

  • Matching wines styles: Light, fruitier reds or off-dry whites
  • Pair with: Pinot Noir or Grenache/GSM blends, off-dry Riesling

Sweet and sour pork

Fuller white varieties have the fruit weight and bright acidity to balance the assertive flavours in this Chinese classic.
Pairing Wine with Sweet and Sour Pork
  • Matching wines styles: Medium weight and textural whites
  • Pair with: Chardonnay or Verdelho, Arneis.

Szechuan Chicken

This spicy dish will be offset perfectly with a white variety with generous fruity sweetness, but elevated acidity to balance it all out.
Pairing Wine with Szechuan Chicken
  • Matching wines styles: Light and aromatic whites
  • Pair with: Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc/SSB blends, Pinot G

Mongolian Lamb

This dish is quite spicy with excellent depth, and is ideally offset by a silken, medium-weight red. Avoid varieties with elevated tannins.
Pairing Wine with Mongolian Lamb 
  • Matching wines styles: Silky and spicy reds
  • Pair with: Grenache/GSM or Nero d’Avola, Merlot

Beef and Black Bean Stir Fry

A Chinese favourite, this dish is rich, yet quite sweet with some big flavours, so a spicy red with a savoury tannin structure is the perfect partner providing all-round balance.
Pairing Wine with Beef and Black Stir Fry
  • Matching wines styles: Richer and fuller bodied reds
  • Pair with: Shiraz or Sangiovese, Barbera

Rule of thumb

In general, when it comes to matching wine with Chinese food, white drinkers are safe with a dry, savoury style like Riesling for its universal appeal, while Rosé is also another great multi-purpose option. For the red drinkers out there, spicy medium to fuller styles are a good choice, with Shiraz working especially well with dishes that have a bit of heat.

Our final bit of advice when it comes to choosing wines to go with Chinese food is to avoid overly tannic reds such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo or Montepulciano, which will accentuate any chilli heat or bitterness within the dish.

Learn more

For more great food and wine combinations, be sure to check out our dedicated Food and Wine Pairing pages.




Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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