If, like me, you enjoy Asian cuisine and good wine there is a book I can highly recommend.
The first Asian Master of Wine, Jeannie Cho Lee, has published Asian Palate: Savouring Asian Cuisine and Wine which addresses the question of which wine pairs well with Asian food. It’s a big topic given the sheer range and diversity of Asian cuisine and Jeannie’s book tackles the subject with delightful expertise.
The book covers the fayre in 10 major cities across Asia: Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Mumbai. Jeannie includes the history, dining concepts and drinking culture behind the regional cuisines and their myriad of flavours. The book itself contains over 200 pages and is beautifully illustrated with colour photos.
Asian Palate: Savouring Asian Cuisine and Wine offers a unique insight into a whole new world of matching wine and has won the international ‘Best in the World Gourmand Award for Matching Wine and Food’ (coming top out of nearly 6,000 other books from 136 countries) and is short-listed under the drink category for the British 2009 Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards. Asian Palate: Savouring Asian Cuisine and Wine can be ordered through www.amazon.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeannie Cho Lee became the first Asian to obtain the Master of Wine title in 2008 and is a successful food and wine journalist, contributing to international publications such as the Wine Spectator, The World of Fine Wine and Decanter (China edition). She is a Wine Consultant for Singapore Airlines and in 2009, she received the distinguished Vinitaly Award for her contributions to the wine industry. Jeannie also has a Certficat de Cuisine from Cordon Bleu and as a food writer, has contributed to Tatler, Far Eastern Economic Review and Baccarat. Born in South Korea, Jeannie now resides in Hong Kong and travels extensively to Europe and North America as an international wine judge, speaker, wine writer and educator.
Asian Palate: Savouring Asian Cuisine and Wine is Jeannie’s first book and a companion to it is due out sometime this year. The new book, Mastering Wine at the Asian Table deals with the language of describing wine using Asian reference points, understanding the major grape varieties and the key quality wine regions around the world.
Jeannie’s task of creating a new set of wine descriptors is a much needed foray – and in some cases long awaited – into making wine more understandable in Asia. We all use Western reference points (such as labelling a Merlot as having the flavour of blackberries) which have little meaning to wine lovers in Asia who may never have encountered one! Jeannie is planning to offer up a series of Asian spices, ingredients and dishes as adjectives, so that Asians can relate to the wine. Hopefully Jeannie’s new set of wine descriptors will form the basis of a uniform vocabulary that will be accepted globally.
In May this year Jeannie set up her own multilingual website: www.asianpalate.com, which includes wine reviews (over 7000), wine and food trends, Jeannie’s Blog, events and ratings as well as a wealth of information on Asian cuisine and wine. There are interviews with wine makers across the world on Asian Palate TV and you can also subscribe to Club Rouge on the site which gives access to food and wine pairings, investment advice and other information. It’s an excellent resource for both wine lovers and those who enjoy Asian food.