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Chinese Food with Wine – My Favourite Pairings at Old Bird Restaurant

This month, I had the pleasure to try out an awesome local restaurant that opened up this year. If you’re a big foodie like me and want to support local women-led small businesses, LISTEN UP because you need to check out this place. Old Bird is a modern street food Chinese restaurant on Main Street in Vancouver that adds a fun, funky twist on traditional Chinese dishes or what they’d call “Chinese food with attitude.” I love how this restaurant has an upscale, stylish vibe, which is different from the traditional local Chinese restaurants I would go to with my Grandma on Fraser Street.

It’s like a perfect mesh of modern with nostalgic traditional Chinese culture, which resonates a lot with my background as a Canadian-born Chinese.

Going into wine talk, honestly, I normally have tea over wine with Chinese food. Luckily, I got to chat with Old Bird’s General Manager, Shawn Jones, who curated an awesome wine list with BC wines and explained her strategy behind pairing wine with Chinese food. In this blog post, I’ll share how to pair wine with Chinese cuisine and the amazing wine and food pairings you can get at Old Bird.

Pairing Wine with Chinese Cuisine

Old Bird’s wine list is focused on dry, young wines with bright notes. They stick with non-oaked or neutral oaked wine, so the tannins are finer and the flavours are not too bold. One common characteristic of all their wines was approachability. Their wines were all easy on the palate, so none of them overpowered the flavourful, deep-fried dishes on their menu. Comparing Old Bird's wines with Chinese tea, what I found apparent was that these wines emulate the characteristic of Chinese tea – dry, light on the palate, balances well with the fattiness and spice of Chinese food, and ultimately attends to everyone’s palate (because I don’t know a single person that doesn't like Chinese tea). That's why I believe their wines paired well with Chinese food. So the next time you're pairing wines with Chinese cuisine, lookout for some of these characteristics in your wine.

Old Bird's Wine List

Culmina Unicus Grüner Veltliner

I can say without a doubt that Culmina is one of the best wineries in BC. This wine, I INSTANTLY LOVED. It’s elegant and very soft on the palate. It has a lovely sweet nose and bright notes of grapefruit, mango, and lemon with hints of zest and minerality. What’s cool is that this wine varietal is quite unique and rare. Culmina is the first and only Okanagan winery that has grown Grüner Veltliner, an Austrian grape varietal, hence why they use the Latin word “unicus” meaning “only” in the name. At the moment, this wine is only sold in restaurants, so if you want to try it, go to Old Bird. Since this wine is quite refreshing, I’d pair it with spicy dishes like the Crispy Cauliflower.

Daydreamer Amelia