Author of the oldest continuous Chinese-language wine column in the world, Poh Tiong Chng of Singapore, was at last week's Bordeaux MW Symposium and announced that he was just about to publish a major work on matching Chinese food and wine, 108 Great Chinese Dishes Paired. Apparently, in printed form it is, like Jeannie Cho Lee MW's Asian Palate, a particularly handsome tome.
But the great thing for us - and for the planet, obviating the need to ship substantial fractions of whole trees thousands of miles - is that it has also just been published, free, online at www.108chinesepairings.com.
Poh Tiong explains that it was inspired by the same number of outlaws in the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) literary classic, Water Margin, and the dishes have been selected from throughout China. He promises the following discoveries:
- China's greatest dish, named for a calligrapher, poet, painter and twice-exiled beloved scholar official (page 18)
- Which wines pair best with Peking Duck (page 34)
- Whether Fujian Province invented the sandwich before the Earl of Sandwich came up with the idea (page 66)
- Why dried abalones are measured in 'heads' and why this precious delicacy deserves a creamy Chardonnay (page 90)
- Why a dish called Two Face Yellow means no offence at all (page 100)
- The visual beauty of Huaiyang cuisine's cold and warm starters (page 140)
- That the most famous fried-rice dish in the world is a fraud perpetuated daily across our planet (page 152)
- The Englishman who created China's first foreign joint-venture winery and who is buried behind the vineyard (page 186)
- Why the Chinese government abuses chickens every day (page 202)