Philippe Chow's Drink Pairing For Beijing-Style Chinese Seafood - Exclusive

Philippe Chow is perhaps most known for his eponymous restaurant Philippe, which entered the New York City dining scene in 2005 to great critical acclaim. The Chinese-born chef got his start cooking in celebrated kitchens in Hong Kong and later in several fine-dining establishments worldwide before bringing his culinary mastery to American diners. Chow joined Tasting Table for an exclusive interview at this year's New York City Food & Wine Festival (NYCWFF), where he hosted a booth at the Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits Trade Day to grace festival-goers with a taste of his beloved chicken satay skewers.

Since the NYCWFF event was heavily focused on wine and spirits, we chatted with Chow about some of his favorite beverages and learned his recommendations for the best drinks to pair with the Beijing-style Chinese specialties he serves at Philippe. According to Chow, when you're enjoying "Chinese seafood... drink wine." Wine is a quintessential drink pairing for any meal, but Chow recommends sticking with white wine while eating Beijiing-style Chinese seafood.

White wine and Beijing-style seafood

Chow's recommendation for pairing Beijing-style seafood with white wine instead of red wine is one that is shared broadly by chefs of different regional specialties who fear that seafood dishes can be easily overpowered by the wrong drink pairing. Since red wines are often bold and full-bodied, that robust flavor, while delicious, can quickly undermine the delicate flavor of the fish, leaving it tasteless. Pairing white wine and seafood is a common guidance across cultural regions for this reason as white wines are often lighter and leave more space for the fish dish's signature flavor profile to shine. 

Some white wine variations that are particularly well-suited for seafood are Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Chablis. If you're looking for an alcoholic beverage with origins in China to pair with your Beijing-style Chinese meal, we suggest sampling baijiu, which has been a staple in the Chinese drinking scene for thousands of years. Baijiu is a clear liquid with a high alcohol content that is often made from distilled sorghum, grain, wheat, rice, millet, or corn. Like any alcohol, the taste varies dramatically based on the specific baijiu you're enjoying.