Thai Beef Salad pairs best with crisp white wines like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé, along with low-tannin red wines like Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
Thai Beef Salad or Yum Nua is a mix of greens topped with pan-seared steak dressed with a savoury, spicy and tangy sauce with a touch of heat. Due to the spicy heat, you’ll want an acidic wine with a hint of perceived sweetness.
An off-dry Riesling pairs well with Thai Beef Salad as Riesling is a bright and crisp white wine that is ever so slightly sweet. The touch of sweetness offsets the Thai Beef Salad’s heat, keeping your mouth refreshed during the meal. If your Thai Beef Salad has a mild sauce with no heat, select a dry Riesling if dry white wines are your preference.
Riesling has bright lemon and lime flavours, along with peach and pear, which is an instant win with the tossed greens of the Thai Beef Salad. The acidity of Riesling ensures you’ll taste all the veggies in your salad.
The dominant flavour of Thai Beef Salad is the zingy dressing, and the flavours of Riesling will taste great with many of the ingredients in your Thai dressing, which might include garlic, onion, soy sauce, coriander, fish sauce, mint, chilli, lime and cucumber.
Unfortunately, Riesling won’t do much for the beef as citrus and beef are not known for being a match made in heaven. The meaty Beef flavours are a bit too mighty for Riesling, however, since you’ll mostly be tasting the zippy Thai dressing, this combination of wine and food remains an acceptable pairing.
Sauvignon Blanc and Yum Nua Salad Pairing
Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine that is bright with flavours of lemon, lime, and grapefruit. The acidic flavours of Sauvignon Blanc bring out the flavours of your Thai Beef salad, including the mixed greens, beef and ingredients found in the salad dressing. Sauvignon Blanc is also known for having herbal or grassy notes which complement the green flavours of your salad.
I don’t recommend a Sauvignon Blanc with a spicy hot Thai Beef Salad, as Sauvignon Blanc is not a sweet wine. I find the dryness of Sauvignon Blanc makes the spicier flavours of any hot chillies burn even more.
Rosé and Thai Beef Salad Pairing
Rosé is a fantastic wine pairing with Thai Beef Salad as this light, and refreshing wine has delicious raspberry, cherry and strawberry flavours that go great with the greens. Plus, these red fruit flavours are right at home with the grilled beef.
Rosé might look sweet, but often it’s incredibly dry and tart. Low in tannin and high in acidity, Rosé puts out any flames that any hot chillies in your Thai Beef Salad might start. Rosé from France tends to feature herbal notes and hints of white pepper, mineral, and spice, adding even more intrigue to this wonderful food and wine pairing.
Pinot Noir & Thai Beef Salad Pairing
My preference for pairing wine with a Thai Beef Salad would be a white wine, however, if I were choosing a red wine, I’d select a Pinot Noir. More specifically, I’d select an un-oaked Pinot Noir, as hot spices make oak flavours taste bitter.
Pinot Noir tastes fresh, with bright flavours of cherry, wild strawberry and raspberry. When left unoaked, Pinot Noir has minimal tannin and lots of refreshing acidity, which brightens up every flavour in your salad. Pinot Noir also has an earthier side, and you’ll find seductive notes of truffle, forest floor or mushroom that will go great with the beef in your salad along with the soy sauce found in the dressing.
Good Pinot Noir is expensive, and while good Pinot Noir is worth every penny, it’s not suitable for everyone’s budget. If you want an experience similar to Pinot Noir, pair up your Thai Beef Salad with a Beaujolais Villages. Similar to Pinot Noir, Beaujolais is light, fun and a touch earthy, with its primary flavours featuring cherry and raspberry.
Zinfandel and Asian Beef Salad Pairing
A fruity and young Zinfandel pairs well with Asian Beef Salad as this red wine has a smoky edge that complements the grilled beef, soy sauce and toasty sesame seed oil used in the Thai Beef dressing. Zinfandel is low in tannin and high in acidity, meaning it won’t clash with any hot spices in the dressing. Zinfandel also has spice and black pepper notes that will go great with your Thai Beef dressing.
The rich flavours of raspberry, blackberry, and plum are delicious with grilled beef. However, with Zinfandel ranging from medium to full-bodied, it will drown out the majority of the green vegetable flavours of your salad.
If you are a bigger fan of the beef in your salad than the greens, Zinfandel would make a fantastic choice. If you are more in it for the green flavours, you’ll want to lean more towards a white wine or a lighter red wine like Beaujolais or Pinot Noir.