I have to admit that most of the cuisine from this part of the world is outside of my comfort level. This is not the case for most people, so I am in a minority. My other problem is that I have to find restaurants that can actually create dishes with out resorting to MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) which creates havoc internally for me.
I remember years ago when we were dating, my Bride insisted that we go to one of her favorite restaurants in Chicago for some Thai food. I agreed to it, with some trepidation, but I figured she would be my guide. When we got to the restaurant, which will remain anonymous we began to read the menu. When the waiter returned to take our order, I asked him which dishes could I get that would have no MSG in the dish. He paused, left and returned with the manager, to answer my question. With the myriad of dishes on the menu, I ended up ordering boiled shrimp and white rice, no sauces of any kind. After dinner I being the pain in the rear, that I can be, kept saying that was the best Thai food that I had ever eaten.
With that lesson firmly embedded, my Bride continued on her quest to find places that she could enjoy and be able to drag me along as well. One restaurant not far from our home has a sign on the side of the building that says “NO MSG” that is bigger than the side which proclaims their name. Since they do not have libations, she will usually get the food as a carry out and bring it home, if she is not in the mood to go out for dinner.
Another place that she has found is a national chain of restaurants called P.F. Chang’s which also does not rely on MSG, so we have eaten at several of their locations through the years, as well as getting carry outs as well. As I said earlier, I usually side step the menu and allow my Bride to make dinner selections, as she is used to my likes and dislikes about food. This way everyone comes out happy from the dinner.
When we are ordering this type of food, since it is mostly chicken or seafood, the go to wine by choice is made from the Gewurztraminer grape varietal. This grape must be hardy as it is grown in France, Austria, the western states of America, New York and Michigan at least I have enjoyed this type of wine from these areas. The Gewurztraminer is sometimes seen also as the Traminer grape, and sometimes even as Spicy Traminer. It is a white wine that has a memorable floral nose and a natural spiciness in the mouth. I find it to be refreshing with the Pan Asian dishes that I have enjoyed. When people ask me for a recommendation for a wine to pair, I always cite this varietal and tell people not to even worry about the brand, but to look for as young of a wine as they can get. If you haven’t tried this type of wine, I would strongly suggest it the next time you are out, and you can usually find it being offered in some form.