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May 12, 2022

How to pair wine with Korean fried chicken

Arkhe's sommelier, Bhatia Dheeraj, regularly orders Korean fried chicken from Hong Bao on Portrush Road. We asked him for tips on pairing wine to the ever-popular foodstuff.

  • Interview: Johnny von Einem
  • Illustration: Emilly Daws

Bhatia Dheeraj has worked at many impressive restaurants, including Penfolds Magill Estate and Est. in Sydney, and he is now sommelier at Arkhé on The Parade.

Recognised locally and internationally for his talents, Bhatia won the Ruinart Sommelier Challenge in 2017, and the Judy Hurst Award for his list at Est.

Here, Bhatia applies his vast knowledge to the task of pairing wine with Hong Bao’s Korean fried chicken.



The Takeaway Somm
In every print edition of CityMag, we ask an Adelaide wine lover to pair wine with their most-ordered takeaway item according to the app of their choosing.

See how to pair wine with:
Burger Inc’s Incredible Burger
McChicken with Cheese and Bacon
T-Chow’s Salt & Pepper Eggplant
Sit Lo’s Banh Mi

How did you first discover Hong Bao?
I got to know this through Shikha, my wife, who is a pastry chef and is always discovering new places.

What initially caught your attention about the restaurant?
It was recommended by her Korean chef friend, and I’m always curious to try what chefs like.

Have you done a full tour of the menu?
Not the full menu, as I don’t do well with extreme spice.

Some standout dishes?
Bibimbap, kimchi stew, Korean fried chicken with sweet spicy sauce.

Why is the Korean fried chicken always part of your order?
It’s comfort food and always appealing.

Do you get the fried chicken with any sauce in particular?
Yes, sweet spicy sauce.

What mood are you in when you most feel like a serving of Hong Bao’s Korean fried chicken?
Relaxing day off, usually with my wife, alongside a movie.

What’s important to consider when pairing a wine to fried chicken?
For me, balanced acidity and fruit profile in a wine to counterbalance the fried chicken and its accompanying sauces.

What wine best pairs with a serving of Hong Bao’s Korean fried chicken?
There are many that I have tried, like pet-nat, chilled reds (Pinot or Gamay). In saying that, last time we had the Ochota Barrels Weird Berries in the Woods, Gewürztraminer, Adelaide Hills, and it was delicious.

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