David Scholefield, Stephanie Yuen, Alison Scholefield, Whitney Law

Vancouver embraces a vibrant and varied Asian dining scene, spanning Richmond to Chinatown and various points in between. Asian families often get together to celebrate holidays over a large meal with several shared dishes.

Okanagan Crush Pad's Alison Scholefield, Whitney Law, Leeann Froese
[Okanagan Crush Pad’s Alison Scholefield, Whitney Law, Leeann Froese]

Luckily, BC has a growing and fruitful bounty of wineries to match the range of flavours and spices that go into creating a feast such as the one I recently enjoyed at Kaya Malay Bistro, celebrating the Lunar New Year together one specific winery – Summerland’s Haywire.

With local food media gathered at the Westside bistro, Wine Advisor David Scholefield introduced several food-friendly wines to both compliment and to contrast with food writer Stephanie Yuen’s menu put together by the Kaya team. One of David’s remarks resonated with me for the evening: “If a wine is balanced, juicy, and fresh, it will work well with a wide range of food.” This concept was regularly put to the test over the 10-course dinner we were about to enjoy — and photograph.

Mary in Vancity Kaya Malay Lunar New Year Dinner-6 Sean Neild of Flavour Town Adventures

The Bub 2012 ($24.90) was served with samosas and chicken satay, as well as with dessert (a trio of fried banana, black rice pudding, and vanilla ice cream) to show its flexibility as a light bubbly. The Bub, as well as other Okanagan Crush Pad’s Haywire varietals, exude expression of place. The Okanagan wine growing region is known to produce crisp, pure, fresh, and clean wines that can both showcase and stand up to a variety of dishes, and OCP is no exception in that regard.

Kaya Malay deep-fried soft-shelled crab
[Deep-fried soft-shelled crab]

Kaya Malay BBQ Duck salad, Cantonese Dressing
[BBQ Duck salad, Cantonese dressing]

Our dinner started off with deep-fried soft-shelled crab and BBQ salad with Cantonese dressing, both served with a 2011 Gamay Noir Rosé ($18.99). This is a classic gamay produced from red Okanagan grapes, without the standard sweet taste that rosés are generally known for. Sweetness is a common misconception. Rosé can also be fresh and adaptable, and it certainly made a good partner with the BBQ salad, while cutting through some of the crab’s deep-fried skin.

Kaya Malay Mandarin Hot & Sour soup
[Mandarin Hot & Sour soup]

Kaya Malay Thai seafood soup
[Thai seafood soup]

Both soups were paired with the winery’s 2012 Gewürztraminer ($19.90). While the Mandarin hot & sour soup complemented, I felt that the Thai seafood soup contrasted in flavour with this acidic wine. The Gewürtztraminer benefits from a cool climate in Oliver, giving a crisp finish to the palate, which is why I preferred the hot & sour soup’s spices with it over the Thai seafood.

Kaya Malay Taiwanese stir-fried eggplant
[Taiwanese stir-fried eggplant]

Kaya Malay Korean style grilled sablefish
[Korean style grilled sablefish]

Taiwanese stir-fried eggplant and Korean-style grilled sablefish were enjoyed with Haywire’s 2012 Pinot Noir ($24.90). Now here’s a medium-bodied, bold and fruity red that worked really well with both dishes, and happens to be my favourite Haywire of the collection. Specially designed for the local Asian market, a 2012 limited-release label now rings in the Year of the Horse.

Haywire Pinot Noir 2012 for Lunar New Year
[Cheers to the Year of the Horse!]

Only 688 bottles featuring this red and gold label were produced. The Pinot is aged in old French oak, imparting fruit and cherry aromas at the nose, with light tannin and full flavour to savour the last bites of our eggplant and sablefish. An earthy Pinot Noir works with the pungent eggplant as well as the grilled flavour of the sablefish.

Kaya Malay wok-fried egg noodles with Shiitake & Siuchoy
[Wok-fried egg noodles with Shiitake & Siuchoy]

Kaya Malay Vietnamese shrimp & scallop fried rice
[Vietnamese shrimp & scallop fried rice]

With a glass of 2012 Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris ($22.90) came our next two dishes: wok-fried egg noodles with Shiitake & Siuchoy, and Vietnamese shrimp and scallop fried rice. Both dishes were mild on the spice, allowing the fruit’s complexity to shine through. The grapes from this one are processed in five separate lots to impart complex layers in the wine. As the tasting notes recommend pairing it with mildly-spiced Asian seafood, this combination was spot on for my palate.

Kaya Malay deep fried banana, rice pudding, vanilla ice cream
[Kaya’s delish dessert trio: Deep-fried banana, rice pudding, vanilla ice cream]

A trio of desserts made the rounds to end our feast. Deep-fried banana, vanilla ice cream, and black rice pudding were paired with two wines: Haywire’s 2011 Gamay Noir Rosé and 2012’s The Bub. The myriad of flavours in the desserts coupled with both refreshing wines were an excellent choice for a sweet finish. Want to learn more about Asian food and wine pairings? Haywire’s got you covered!

In foreground: Kaya Malay's Chef SinSer Lim, and Manager Scott Kwan
[Kaya Malay’s Chef SinSer Lim and Manager Scott Kwan]

Kaya Malay Bistro is located at 1063 West Broadway in Vancouver. Haywire Wines are made and sold by Okanagan Crush Pad in Summerland, BC. Visit Okanagan Crush Pad and Haywire Winery online.


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