The spirit has frequently been drunk with appetizers and desserts, but it functions nicely with a surprising range of dishes, from the modest corn dog to Cantonese and yakitori dishes including sea cucumber
It used to be that fine-dining restaurants would market tasting menus that were paired with high-priced wines, but increasingly it is Malaysia japanese whisky
that's the drink of choice. Recent events reveal there's a lot of interest, although the beverage was considered by many to be overly powerful to partner with food.
The Malt Masters festival at the Conrad, as well as the recent Hong Kong Whisky Festival 2016 at the InterContinental Grand Stanford, both offered popular matching seminars.
"There's a demand for whisky and food pairing in various portions of the planet, but in a few situations it's been little haphazard," says Ewan Henderson, a consultant who ran two matching seminars at Malt Masters, both of them completely subscribed.
"Some chemical reactions can assemble a bridge between the spirit as well as the food. Consider the Maillard reaction for example. It creates lots of flavours - in roasted coffee, chocolate, broiled steaks, and anything barbecued," he says. "That also occurs in the whisky making procedures of malting barley and charring casks.
The isle that is Scottish whiskies, he says, frequently have an affinity with seafood, especially oysters and smoked salmon.
Bruges agrees with Henderson that whisky may be a great partner to grilled meats.
For charcuterie, the sherry oak functions very well due to the wood smoke and spice flavours that come through."
Most whisky promotions in eateries take the kind of one off dinners with guest speakers (occasionally wearing kilts, occasionally not). Some eateries offer whisky matching menus over a longer stretch.
In Central, the Preference of Classics menu pairs of Lai Bun Fu chef Chun Kin Leung's Cantonese cuisine with four Scottish single malts. Meant to run for just a couple of weeks and established last September, the menu has proven so popular that it'll stay for the near future.
Sherry barrel whisky
and steak are on the menu at Lai Bun Fu. Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest is developed in oloroso sherry casks, as well as the eatery match it with double-boiled Angus beef brisket with chu and turnip hau bean sauce. Two to three days' advance booking for at least six individuals is needed.
Lai Bun Fu supervisor Jeff Chum is running tasting sessions for another whisky menu to be introduced much later in the year. The present menu is priced at HK$6,280, whisky contained, for six.
"When pairing with whisky you need powerful meaty flavours to reach a harmony together with the strong flavour of the nature," he says. "I advocate drinking it neat or with only a couple of pieces of ice, otherwise you lose the real flavor."
I tried a couple of choices with spirits and wine adviser Ron Taylor, and we concurred that while the Glen Garioch was a match that was brilliant textural together with the sauce for the sea cucumber, the Bowmore was a better fit for the marine flavours of the dish.
The dinner is priced at HK$3,268 per individual.
Taylor and I share the perspective that the majority of the top whisky and food matches are in the start and ending of a meal, starting with alternative seafood appetizer or oysters, subsequently with desserts - especially people that have chocolate in them.
The Macallan M, paired with whisky chocolate fondant
with praline and orange chiboust, ought to be a treat.
For roasted or broiled red meat in a creamy or hot sauce his selection is the 30-year old single malt that is Strathisla.
"The idea of pairing is basically the same as for wine. For those who are in possession of a rich, full bodied whisky you go with more substantial food; in case you have a less full bodied whisky you go for lighter flavours," says Mehr. You try to find a balance."
Au and Mehr discover that food and the finest whisky matches have an oily feel in common and a smoky component.
"For main courses the principal issue is getting the oiliness without an excessive amount of fat, because whisky doesn't cut through it in exactly the same manner as wine. In that sense it is more straightforward," Au reasons.