I have always held a fondness for combining a love for hawker food—a quintessential illustration of frugality meeting speed and unmistakable deliciousness—with a passion for fine wine. While subjective by nature, such acts gleefully demand a deliberate disregard for pomp and price tag—like the time I discovered, quite by chance, the natural attraction my favourite Katong laksa shared with a 2010 Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape (though I shall neither confirm nor deny if it was a Deus Ex Machina).
My point is that this experience had led me to discover, on a different night some five years later, yet another prime suitor for this unabashedly flavourful bowl of noodles in a spicy coconut milk-based curry broth. It was the uniquely adaptable Dom Pérignon 2000, which was flaunting a vibrant and harmonious display of lush, ripe fruit flavours and creamy mouthfeel. To put it simply, the champagne’s fresh acidity, coupled with a distinct minerality, was for me the ideal counterpoint to the dish’s rich and slightly sweet profile. Some pundits might have instead preferred a quality demi-sec, but the fact is I genuinely enjoyed this duet of complex umami flavours.
It did require an unusual resolve, but like it is often the case throughout the history of successful romances, there’s beauty to be had in the odd couple. If you can disregard the disapproving glances you’d get if you were dining at a hawker centre with a bottle of champagne Jacquesson Cuvée 734 chilling in a bucket next to your plate of chicken rice or biryani, there’s much to glean from this meeting of two worlds.
(Related: The Best Wines To Match With Asian Food)