Chinese New Year In Singapore - What Wine To Drink?

As Red Dot Wine is gearing up the next shipment for the Lunar New Year, the buzz of excitement fills the air! Chinese New Year is about the reunion dinner, the gathering of immediate, extended families as a tradition; and also a feast for the senses with flavours that create opportunities to connect and re-connect with relatives and friends.

From our ubiquitous Bak Kwa to the familiar Steam Boat hotpot, our tables light up with a spread that's not just delicious but also steeped in meaning. And what better way to elevate these incredible flavours than with the perfect wine pairings

Matching traditional or modern Chinese New Year dishes can be tricky due to the wide variety of flavours, from umami to spicy, sweet to sour. Here are our best wine pairing recommendations with dishes that are popular during Chinese New Year in Singapore.

Bak Kwa

1. Bak Kwa

Bak kwa, also known as rougan (肉干), is a dried savoury sweetmeat that traditionally takes the form of thin square slices and is usually made from pork. Bak kwa and rougan, meaning “dried meat” in Hokkien and Mandarin respectively, also refer to barbecued pork or pork jerky.

Marinated with a blend of spices and sauces, the slices are placed inside an oven where they are cooked through. The final process of grilling the meat over charcoal ensures the caramelisation of the meat jerky that gives the Bak kwa its signature intense smokey fragrance.

Bak Kwa is a popular snack enjoyed by relatives and friends when they visit households during the Chinese New Year season.

Excellent pairing

Baron-Fuenté Millésimé, France (Champagne)
Nothing quite matches the celebratory vibe of Champagne. Champagne's effervescence and acidity cut through the savoury-sweet richness of Bak Kwa, complements the meat's sweetened profile, enhancing the celebratory feel.

Learn more > 

Affordable alternative

Bepin de Eto Prosecco, Italy (Valdobbiadene)
The slightly sweeter and fruitier notes of Prosecco harmonize with Bak Kwa's sweet glaze, offering a more affordable yet delightful alternative. 

Learn more > 

Suckling roasted pig
2. Roast Suckling Pig
Suckling pigs hold great importance in Chinese celebrations like weddings, birthdays, and especially during Chinese New Year. Originating from Cantonese cuisine, the suckling pig has a prestigious history, having been a prominent dish at royal banquets during the Qing Dynasty. It has been cherished as a luxurious delicacy for centuries. The pig is typically served whole, symbolizing completeness and carrying auspicious significance.

Expect a symphony of flavours—a crispy exterior that encases succulent, tender meat, boasting a harmonious blend of savoury and slightly sweet notes.

Excellent wine pairing with Roast Suckling Pig

Spasso Barbera Passimento, Italy (Piemonte)
Barbera's bright acidity and juicy red fruit flavours cut through the fatty richness of the roast. It provides a refreshing contrast and complements the pork's savoury qualities.

Learn more >

Great alternative!

Bodegas Lan, Rioja Reserva, Spain (Rioja)
With a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano, a Rioja Reserva presents a rich, mature palate with subtle spiciness that complements the savoury notes of any roasted dish.

Learn more >


Pen Cai wine pairing
3. Pen Cai
Literally translated as "basin vegetables" also known as the "fortune pot," Pen Cai features eight key seasonings and cooking methods, and it's crafted with eight layers of high-quality seafood ingredients. You'll find a treasure trove of succulent meats, premium seafood like abalone and prawns, delectable vegetables, and a medley of delicacies. Among the eight seasonings are preserved beancurd, fennel powder, and cinnamon, while the cooking techniques involve pan-frying, deep-frying, and braising.

This dish symbolizes unity, fortune, and the coming together of loved ones to share in the prosperity of the New Year.

Excellent match with Pen Cai

Langmeil Valley Floor Shiraz, Australia (Barossa Valley)
Barossa Valley's Shiraz offers ripe red fruit flavours and peppery notes, which elevate the umami-richness and complexity of Pen Cai's diverse ingredients. The wine's boldness matches the depth of flavours in this grand dish.

Learn more > 

Great alternative

Bousquet, Malbec Gr. Reserve, Argentina (Mendoza)
With its bold fruitiness and hints of spice, Malbec complements the dish's variety of flavours, adding an intriguing layer to the dining experience.

Learn more >

4. Yusheng

The raw fish salad dish, known as "Yu Sheng" in Chinese, is a significant symbol of luck, prosperity, and good health during Chinese New Year. This vibrant communal dish consists of raw fish (Saito fish and salmon), pickled vegetables (carrots, white radish, green radish, cucumbers, ginger, onion slices, pomelo), drenched in oil and plum sauce, and topped with peanuts and pok chui crackers.

Diners traditionally add the salad ingredients in a specific order, each carrying an auspicious meaning linked to a Chinese couplet before the lively tossing ritual begins, accompanied by well-wishing phrases and is done as the first dish before starting the main meal.

Originating from Guangdong, China, Yu Sheng has evolved, with more ingredients and sauces added to the raw fish. The popularized version, known as Qi Cai Yu Sheng (七彩鱼生), is credited to four Singaporean chefs known as the ‘four heavenly kings,’ first introduced at Lai Wah Restaurant in Bendemeer during the 1960s. The practice of lo hei has since spread to places like Hong Kong.

Wine Pairing with Yusheng

Pascal Jolivet Sauvignon Blanc, France (Loire)
Sauvignon Blanc's vibrant acidity and fruitiness complement the tangy flavours in Yusheng. Its lively characteristics bring out the dish's zestiness and elevate its overall taste.

Learn more >

Also a great pairing

Mt. Riley Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand (Marlborough)
Known for its zesty citrus notes, Sauvignon Blanc balances the sweetness and acidity of Yusheng, creating a refreshing contrast.

Learn more >

5. Hot Pot / Steamboat

The Hot pot and steamboat are both popular Chinese New Year dishes that involve cooking raw ingredients in a simmering broth. Families gathering around the communal pot and having a meal together often defines the feeling of the Reunion dinner.

There are some differences between the two and many families in Singapore will choose either as pre-prepared ingredients are easily available from NTUC or Giant Supermarkets.

Hot pot is a Chinese dish originating from northern China and popularised in Singapore by brands like Hai Di Lao in recent years, while steamboat is Malaysian and Singaporean, stemming from Chinese cuisine. The broth in hot pot tends to be spicier and more flavourful, whereas the steamboat usually features a milder broth that allows the natural flavours of the ingredients to shine. The Hot pot is typically cooked in a metal or divided pot on a heating element, while steamboat is often prepared in a large communal pot over a gas burner or portable stove.

Perfect to pair with Hot Pot

Bernard Eifel Riesling, Germany (Mosel)
Mosel's Riesling, with its touch of sweetness and vibrant acidity, perfectly matches the diverse flavours of Hot Pot. It cuts through the dish's rich broth and harmonizes with the array of ingredients.

Learn more >

Great alternative

Weingut Leth Grüner Veltliner, Austria (Kamptal)
With its peppery, mineral notes and crisp acidity, Grüner Veltliner complements the Hot Pot's flavours, offering a unique twist to the pairing experience.

Learn more >

During Chinese New Year, the joy of togetherness and the vibrancy of traditions come alive through delightful feasts. At Red Dot Wine, we understand the great role wine plays in these gatherings, adding an extra layer of celebration to cherished moments.

This festive season, as you revel in the richness of tradition and the warmth of shared moments, elevate your celebrations with our premium wines. And what's better than finding these premium choices at affordable prices? We believe that great wine makes these special moments even more enjoyable. Here's to celebrating life's precious moments with the perfect sip and a toast to a prosperous Lunar New Year!
Back to blog

CNY wine selection

1 of 8