Written By Sarah Frame
Many Filipino dishes contain a powerful blend of different Asian flavors, providing many opportunities for harmonious pairings. Here are some suggestions of beers and wine to enjoy as you sample Sarap’s gastronomical delights.
A safe option for the first course of fried lumpia (Filipino-style spring rolls) is a smooth sparkling wine like Gloria Ferrer Brut from Sonoma County, Calif. ($14.99) This wine is a combination of California-grown chardonnay and pinot noir grapes and has a refreshing quality that serves as a delightful contrast to the fried crispiness of the rolls. The price point is delicious, too. For beer enthusiasts, San Miguel Brewery, the largest in the Philippines, offers a Pale Pilsner, which will balance out the fried roll.
The second course of pork BBQ skewers pairs exceptionally well with a flavorful Chianti such as Ruffino Riserva Ducale, Chianti Classico, DOCG, Italy ($22). Chianti is a suitable choice to pair with barbecued meats, and this one should play nicely with this dish. Beer-wise, an amber ale like the reliable Fat Tire Amber Ale by New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colo., is a good all-around thirst quencher that will hit the spot.
For the third course of pancit, which is noodles served with stir-fried vegetables and chicken and shrimp, the saltiness of the soy sauce benefits from the contrast of an acidic white wine like sauvignon blanc. One widely available choice is Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc from California ($16.99). For beer drinkers, a German-style Hefeweizen beer may balance the chicken and seafood found in this dish nicely. With its spicy, classic Hefeweizen flavors, one to try is Edel Weiss by Two Brothers of Chicago ($8.99).
Our fourth course is longaniza, a Filipino-style hot dog on a roll served with tamarind mustard and pickled vegetables. This vibrant dish needs bold flavors to match it. Spiced with achuete oil, which is made with ancho chilies, these intense links can handle the hops. We like a pale ale like Bitter American by 21st Amendment Brewery, Calif. ($8.99/six-pack). A bold red wine like cabernet sauvignon will complement the meatiness of the dish and bring out its unique tastes. Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County, 2006 ($19.99), is a solid red wine possibility.
The fifth course of chicken adobo, the national dish of the Philippines, may shine more paired with beer instead of wine, as the vinegar and coconut milk can overwhelm many delicate, fruity bottles. The bitterness of a pale ale such as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale ($8.99/six-pack) can cut through the creaminess of the coconut milk. For those who want to bravely experiment with a wine that could also do the trick, an earthy pinot noir such as Oregon’s Elk Cove Valley Pinot Noir 2012 ($28.99) could be the perfect complement to this classic dish.
Filipino food boasts an eclectic mix of tastes, and these pairings reflect that. Hopefully both the vinophile and the brew lover alike will find some matches above that will enhance their dining experience. See you at Supino’s on Sunday, June 22, where I will be sipping some sparkling rosé wine while enjoying the fresh courses and vivid flavors provided by Sarap.
Sarah Frame is a freelance writer who specializes in wine and mixology.