Asian snacks you never knew you could pair with Whisky
World Best Bar
Feb 01, 2021
10 January 2019
When we think of snacks that pair well with whisky, we usually think of fancy chocolate, cheese, or dried fruit and nuts. But there is a wide variety of uniquely Asian snacks – like salted egg potato chips, banana fritters and deep fried pork rind – that you can enjoy with a good single malt whisky from the comfort of your home.
OF FRITTERS AND BITTERS
Anywhere you go in Asia, you’ll find a version of fried banana fritters. In the Philippines, the flat, fan-shaped variety is called Maruya, while whole bananas deep fried in oil and coated in caramel are called Banana Cue (or Banana Q, if you’re saving up on letters). In Malaysia and Singapore, they are known as pisang goreng, while in Thailand they are called kluay khaek. Though typically consumed as a midday snack, banana fritters can also be a delicious after-dinner treat – just add a dollop of vanilla ice-cream to fancy things up and pair with a glass of whisky, preferably something with a fruity note, and you’ve elevated this humble dessert to perfection.
MEAT, MEET WHISKY
Fancy something with a fattier bite? Then turn your attention to sausages, from Pinoy longganisa – spiced sweet sausages with tons of garlic in them – to Thailand’s sai ua or sai krok. Sausages are simply awesome snacks to pair with whisky because they do a dance in your mouth: the sausage fat coats your mouth, mellowing whisky’s effects on your tastebuds, while sipping more whisky cleanses your palate, clearing the way for more sausage! A quick tip: pick a whisky with a slightly spicy flavor for the perfect finish.
Another meaty sidekick to the bold attraction that is whisky can be the Pinoy pulutan (bar chow) classic chicharron, made from pork rind or chicken skin. Nowadays, there are tuna skin, mushroom, and vegetable varieties, too! These seasoned, sun-dried and deep-fried tasty snacks will accentuate the buttery and peppery notes of something like the 15 year old expression of The Glenlivet.
When prepping your whisky, add a special touch by carefully running a flame along the outside of a citrus peel to release its natural oils, then rub along the rim of your whisky glass to add a tropical zing and drop into your drink as a garnish.
TARTS GET ARTSY
Speaking of tropical, you can count pineapples in as part of Asian snacks you can pair with whisky. A great symbol of hospitality, you can warm your guests’ palates by serving the traditional Malaysian Nyonya pineapple tarts with The Glenlivet 12 Year Old. Its citrus and pineapple notes will taste like the two were a pair made in heaven! For best results, warm up the tarts in a toaster oven to get the sweet aroma of pineapple in the air, before indulging in that first sip.
PASS THE CHIPS
Having mates over to watch the big game? People just can’t seem to get enough of salted egg potato chips these days, so try pairing these with a single malt the next time they come over (or even when you’re just enjoying me-time alone at home!). The rich, salty flavors in the chips bring out the spicy and sweet butterscotch notes of whisky, and you’ll find that the effect of opposite flavors can create a more exciting gustatory experience
EXPERIMENT AND DISCOVER NEW PAIRINGS
Snack pairing is an art, so feel free to create your own snack-pairing chart with a flavor-match of your favorite whisky. Be mindful of the fats and acidity in your food so you can make better texture pairings with your drink. Pair similar notes to make flavors linger, and complementing flavors to create greater impact. Be bold and experiment, the sky’s the limit when it comes to whisky and snack pairing!
For our guide on which whisky glass should be used for your cocktail, read WFH – Essential guide to creating your own ‘Whisky From Home’ bar.