Wine expert Britta Wiegelmann’s monthly recommendation. Today: Fabian Fuchs’ steamed buns with brisket – paired with sweet plum wine.

Remember way back when your local Chinese eatery would serve you a glass of sweet plum wine with the bill (or, worse still, with the dessert menu)? If you are like me, you will have been trying to erase the experience from your memory ever since. This is why I need you to make a leap of faith and go out and buy a bottle – which is precisely what I did recently. Steamed buns with brisket – an amazingly tasty yet simple sharing dish from Fabian Fuchs – were calling out for a congenial partner. There is no better steamed bun this side of Taiwan, I dare say. But what to drink with it? The cured beef brisket, cooked sous vide, packs plenty of punch – not a problem per se. But the condiment for the bun consists of fermented cabbage and pickled gherkin, both of which are very sour – a wine’s worst enemy. This is where our trusty plum liqueur comes into its own, taming the flavoursome brisket with delicate acidity while wrapping the cabbage and gherkin in sweetness. The result is an unexpected flavour sensation of fruity sweet versus salt and sour – Chinese fireworks for your taste buds! Let me reassure you that plum wine, called umeshu in Japan from where most of it comes, is also available in premium quality. Look for it at any outlet that sells top-notch sake – and try to forget the cheap imitation from way back when.

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