For foodies, Singapore has a lot to offer: not just wonderful local food but also excellent Italian, French and other European cuisine. The city-state is famous for crab dishes. Chilli crab comes in various degrees of spiciness and sweetness, but the base is a rich tomato and chilli sauce thickened with egg. There are many flavours in chilli crab sauce, but they blend, extend and lift the base sweet note of the crab. While the claws are the meatiest part of a crab, the tastiest, sweetest part is the back swimmer section and hind legs. A wine to go with Singaporean chilli crab needs to have defined flavours that can shine through the myriad notes in the sauce and support the richness of the crustacean. Red wine tannins can destroy the silky sauce while a woody wine will mask the sweetness of the crab meat.
Taittinger Prelude Grand Cru NV, Reims, France
This delicious champagne is made solely from grapes from a grand cru vineyard, and you can taste the class. It's very elegant and persistent, and somewhere between the beginning and end of the last tastes are caressing bubbles that are soft and mouthwatering, as well as layers of flavour freshness driven by the high-quality, hand-picked fruit. The champagne has a good base from the creamy, biscuit-like yeastiness. The champagne's freshness lifts the crab in the dish in the same way that the sauce adds complexity. The base note of shallots and garlic melts into the yeasty age complexity. Creamy gas makes the palate silky and extends the silkiness from the egg.
Available for HK$426 at Fine Vintage (tel: 2896 6108)
Wooing Tree Blondie Pinot Noir 2010, Central Otago, New Zealand
This white pinot noir is full of red wine flavours and completely devoid of oak or tannins. The wine has plenty of richness and brightness to pair with Singaporean chilli crab. The pinot noir's assertive dryness brings out the succulence of the meat while the chilli in the sauce marries with the fruit. Serve the wine chilled and the crab hot and spicy. All you need is a big bowl of steamed rice to soak up the leftover sauce.
Available for HK$270 at At Style Wine (www.atstylewine.com)
Dom Perignon Ros?2000, Epernay, France
This champagne has plenty of red fruit flavours and even the structure of red wine, but it's delicate enough that it begs to be paired with chilli crab. The sweet crab needs the unmistakable red fruit in the champagne's assertive structure. The heady, perfumed crab is multidimensional and needs Dom Perignon's superior complexity to extend and expand. Don't serve the champagne too cold, and witness the flavours and structures of the wine as they go to work and marry with the crab.
Available for HK$1,988 at Watson's Wine Cellar (tel: 2606 8828)
Simon Tam is Christie's head of wine, China. Flavour Colours, his iPhone Chinese food and wine pairing app, can be found at www.iwinecentre.com/iwine-en/flavour-colours.php