Thai Beef Salad or Yum Nua consists of mixed greens topped with pan-seared steak. Recipes vary, but generally, the dressing or sauce on the salad is savoury, tangy and spicy with a touch of hot pepper heat. Crisp white wines like Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc work best with the sauce, which is the salad’s dominant flavour. For red wine, you’ll require something light and with minimal tannin like a Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, or something in between a white and a red like a tart Rosé.
Riesling and Thai Beef Salad Pairing
Riesling is a crisp and electric white wine full of bright lemon and lime citrus flavours. If your Thai Beef Salad is spicy with heat, we’d recommend an off-dry Riesling, which has a touch of residual sugar that helps offset your dish’s flame factor. For mild Thai Beef Salads, a dry Riesling will do the trick.
Since the sauce or dressing on a Thai Beef Salad is the dominant flavour, we are doing our best to match our wine up with that. Riesling won’t add much to the beef on your salad, but it will bring out all of the mixed green flavours even further due to Riesling’s acidity. If you’ve ever had a salad with a vinaigrette, you’ll immediately recognize how acidity brightens up everything and makes the green flavours crisper (in taste, not texture) and alive.
Sauvignon Blanc and Yum Nua Salad Pairing
Sauvignon Blanc is similar to Riesling but typically comes in a dry version, thus it’s not as enjoyable with a spicier Thai Beef Salad. Full of grapefruit and citrus flavours, Sauvignon Blanc will assist with making the greens taste even more delicious. Sauvignon Blanc is also full of herbaceous notes which complement the green flavours of the salad.
Pinot Noir and Thai Beef Salad Pairing
I’m not a huge fan of red wine with Thai Beef Salad, but I recognize that not everybody enjoys white wine. If I were choosing a red wine, I’d lean towards something light and fruity like a Pinot Noir. Sometimes Pinot Noir is oaked, but those are usually the more expensive bottles, which you’ll probably naturally avoid if you are eating Thai Beef Salad. Oak and spicy foods tend not to mix as the spice makes the oak taste bitter, and the oak makes the spice taste hotter.
With its wild strawberry and raspberry flavours, Pinot Noir will get along just fine with the greens. Acidic by nature, Pinot Noir will also help keep you refreshed. Pinot Noir also delivers earthy notes such as forest floor or mushrooms and this will blend well with the soy sauce component of the Asian salad dressing.
Zinfandel and Asian Beef Salad Pairing
With spicy hot Thai Beef Salad, a glass of red wine with tannin will not cut it as the tannin will make the heat taste like fire. Zinfandel is low in tannin, high in acidity and has enough fruity flavour to brighten up the grilled beef tossed on your salad. Zinfandel also has a smoky edge that complement the soy sauce and sesame oil used in the sauce.
You’ll want to pick up a lighter Zinfandel that is lower in alcohol as high levels of booze will also fuel the flames. A monster fruit-bomb Zinfandel will be expensive and loaded with higher alcohol levels, so stick to a less expensive Zinfandel.
Rosé and Thai Beef Salad Pairing
Our final pick is a chilled glass of Rosé, and it will be delicious with a Thai Beef Salad. Rosé may look sweet, however, it is quite dry and tart as it is swimming with crisp lemon, lime, cranberry and raspberry flavours.
The chilled temperature and fruity notes help extinguish any spicy heat, while the citrus flavours swoop in and accentuate the spice flavours you’ve never noticed before as your mouth was on fire. Rosé does not get a lot of credit in North American culture as it’s often seen as a ‘girly’ beverage. I guarantee you, though, once you sample this fabulous wine, you’ll discover how food-friendly and delicious it truly is.