Pair It Up! Rice Cakes and Riesling

In the latest issue of Lucky Peach, David Chang divulges the recipe for one of the most famous dishes from the Momofuku empire: Momofuku Ssam Bar’s Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes. It's a classic dish in Korean cuisine, but David Chang has brought it to an audience that probably wouldn't have tried it before. The sauce in this dish is similar to a pork ragu, but with big flavours from the Szechuan peppercorns, doubanjiang, onions, soy, and of course, the chilies. The texture of rice cakes is unique—firm on the outside and almost sticky on the inside.

I ate this dish at Momofuku Daishō back in January and have been thinking about it since. A kabinett Riesling from the Rheinhessen paired perfectly. Riesling has such a natural affinity for pork meat, something the folks from Germany and Alsace have known forever. Apple flavours, common in Riesling, pair magically with pork; pigs are often fed apples in the fall to fatten them up (sometimes even stuffed in their mouths when they are roasted) and many classic pork dishes incorporate apples and applesauce. Besides its complementary flavours, the other reason Riesling works so well with this dish is because of the sweet and spice balance. A little sweetness mellows out spice, and this dish definitely has a kick.

There are plenty of great off-dry Rieslings available on My Wine Canada, but there are a couple in particular that will love this dish. Prince Edward County's Rosehall Run Vineyards sources the fruit for the 2014 The Righteous Dude Riesling ($19.95/13% alc.) from a single block in Niagara's Twenty Mile Bench appellation. Layers of citrus and fresh acidity balance the wine's off-dry sweetness. The 2013 Scout Vineyard Riesling by Orofino Vineyards ($22/12.9% alc.) comes from a rocky granite bank above the Similkameen River. It's just off-dry, juicy, and fruit-forward with those apple characters that work so well with pork.

Rosehall Run 2014 Righteous Dude Riesling My Wine CanadaOrofino 2013 Scout Vineyard Riesling My Wine Canada

Jake Skakun is a writer and sommelier from Vancouver, currently living in Toronto. He can be found most days pulling corks and twisting caps at the Black Hoof. He Tweets and Instagrams @jakeskakun.

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