Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Multiculturalism in Action, Again

In the middle of a sunny afternoon here in Champagne, I took a break from watching video highlights of Arsenal's pre-season matches writing my column for Wine & Spirits to enjoy the sunshine and inspect the leftovers of last night's Aspasie Blanc de Blancs, just to, you know, make sure it was still fit for human consumption and all.

Thanks to the massive carbon footprint that is modern transportation, I happen to be in possession of a bag of krupuk, the Indonesian chips made of prawn paste and tapioca flour that are ubiquitous anywhere Southeast Asian people are present (thereby completely ruling out the Champagne region). While not exactly Proustian, krupuk do nevertheless trigger fond memories for me, as they never fail to remind me of sitting in my grandmother's kitchen as a child (she was Indonesian), watching her fry these things up in a big, black wok.

It's probably not a huge surprise to hear that krupuk are excellent with champagne. After all, potato chips, french fries, tempura, and just about anything else that's deep-fried make terrific partners to champagne. But krupuk have the additional superpower of shrimpiness, beyond their simple quality of being fried. Aspasie's blanc de blancs comes from the village of Brouillet, on the far western side of the Montagne de Reims where there are tons of little fossils embedded in the 60 million-year old chalk, and at the moment I'm imagining that these are having a bonding moment with all the little prawns embedded in my krupuk. This might not be the most highbrow of food-and-wine pairings, but there's no denying its tastiness.


ned said...

Truly a serendipitous combination. Brilliant!

werner.j said...

Indeed a great combination.
Peter, I hope you don't mind my curiosity, but
are you Indonesian by origins ?

vickibarkley said...

sounds wonderful. I could go the the store now....
(Live in LA - Asian food and Champagne are natural partners here!)

Peter Liem said...

Hi ned,
Sometimes those little things just make you happy!

I'm largely of Chinese descent, but one of my grandmothers was Indonesian, and my mother grew up in Indonesia. My other grandmother was from Malaysia, but she spoke seven or eight different dialects of Chinese, so I'm assuming that she had some sort of Chinese origins.

I used to live in LA too... being here in France definitely makes me miss the ethnic diversity that one takes for granted when living in the US.

Samantha Dugan said...

Sun, shrimp chips and Champagne...perfect.

Brooklynguy said...

sounds excellent. in nyc i mostly come across krupuk as multi-colored chips that are long on the oily flour and short on the shrimp. is there a brand that you are particularly fond of?

vinosseur said...

I will run out to my local Asian market and see if I can find these chips. Having lived in CA for 27 years, and HI for 3, I am familiar with these chips and can see this being an awesome pairing!

Also, we need to start enjoying Champagne at all times and with all foods. Champagne is not just for New Years anymore!

TWG said...

I'm have to check these out, I've had them in Indonesian restaurants in DC and NYC. Phila. has no Indonesia rest. that I'm aware of but we have a number of Asian grocers nearby.

Wine of Month Club said...

I like the post and multicultural themes just give us more options for food/wine etc. I'm having a traditional arroz con pollo tonight, trying a pairing with a Pinot Noir which should be interesting

Erica said...

i'm obsessed with "krupuk" (and thank you for providing the actual real name, 'cause i've always just called them "those pink deep-fried appetizer things"). i like dipping them in peanut sauce at my local thai restaurant... hmm, champagne, krupuk and peanut butter -you've just inspired me. :)

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