Steamed flower crab with egg white and fa diu wine is one of my all-time favourites. This Chinese wine is not to everyone's taste but it serves to highlight the silky egg white, which is texturally very close to the crab. The flower crab has a savoury sea tang as well as intense sweetness and succulence that are hard to pair with a wine. It can cancel the wine's fruitiness and leave the other balancing components exposed and without support. Woody whites and overly yeasty or over-aged champagnes are particularly vulnerable. Wines without fruit are rendered into a mouthful of unpleasant sourness. The best wine, however, can add texture or accentuate the rich flavours.
Domaine William Fevre 1er Cru Beauroy 2006, Burgundy, France
The wines from William Fevre are legendary. This is one of the few producers that still matures some of its chardonnay wines in barrels. It's done more to give the wines softness rather than to let them absorb the taste of oak. This chablis from the premier cru village of Beauroy is stylish and quite linear, but still very pleasing. It is a perfect match to flower crab and especially the fa diu wine - their floral notes are in the same line but the rice wine is quite advanced. The wine's assertive acid shapes and defines the steamed egg white as well as the crab's succulence. It's a delicious combination: all you need is a big bowl of white rice to soak up the juices, although a small amount of freshly ground wasabi will heighten the experience.
Available for HK$370 from Fine Vintage (tel: 2896 6108)
Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne, France
This world-famous Yellow Label is one of the most enjoyable and trusted wines in the market. Every bottle delivers precise richness that is enjoyable and accessible. Made with an almost even proportion of the three legally restricted Champagne grape varieties, the blend gives a lot more emphasis to the power and structure towards the end. The wine is perfect with the intensely sweet crab and velvety egg white. The fa diu brings all the components together in one complex mouthful. The soft bubbles in the Veuve also play mischievously with the egg white and the resistance of the crab meat texture.
Available for HK$430 from Moet Hennessy Diageo (tel: 2976 1888)
Quartz Reef Pinot Gris 2007, Central Otago, New Zealand
The pinot gris grape is by far the best all-rounder when it comes to matching with Chinese food, especially Cantonese dishes. The freshness and purity of the grape makes it an excellent platform for the equally pure flavours of many Chinese ingredients and the food direction. It's slightly spicy and aromatic but is pure fruit from beginning to end. The wine is perfectly weighted next to the egg white and the crab's richness sits happily alongside the wine's abundant fruit depth.
Available for HK$188 from Watson's (tel: 2526 2832)