Thai Street Food & Greek Wine Matching


Two Strangers

Thai Food and Greek Wine suddenly find themselves embroiled in a Food and Wine pairing.

9 min read

November 2023 / Nikos Panidis

Thai Street Food & Greek Wine

The pairing of wine with the appropriate food has always been something that piqued my curiosity, as it provided me with the opportunity to delve into the microcosm of flavors and the rules that govern them. It is a challenge, but at the same time, an experience, sometimes delicate and sometimes powerful, leading to the culmination of pleasure through the perfect taste combination.

With over two decades of experience in the wine industry and as a wine enthusiast, my focus remains on the wine, despite having immersed myself into culinary studies years ago as an option to shape my professional path. However, wine was what won me over, and soon after, my transition into the world of wine was swift and sealed with eternal faith and dedication. As a result, gastronomy became not only a professional pursuit but an integral part of my life.

As part of my work, I quickly discerned that through the pairing of wine and food, I could better understand the concept of wine as a source of enjoyment. This involved a focus on the potential role that Greek varietals play in the realm of gastronomy.

When considering food and wine pairing, one typically envisions familiar flavors and classic or traditional pairings rooted in the region of origin. Opting for an unconventional path, I decided to explore the challenge of pairing wine with exotic cuisines, such as Thai, in a gastronomic context where the wine had traditionally been absent. Additionally, incorporating low-intervention wines, natural, orange, or wines crafted in amphora provided me with the chance to expand my knowledge through novel approaches.

Thai cuisine is undeniably one of the most renowned and delicious cuisines in the world. It is characterized by a wide range of flavors and intensities that arise from the diverse ingredients used. It forms the foundation for dishes where spicy, sweet, sour, salty, or umami flavors can take center stage. Combined with a plethora of aromatic herbs and exotic spices, this diverse palette presents a challenge in wine pairing despite its balance.

Greek wines, in comparison, showcase characteristics that set them apart from other international wines. Their expressive style and authenticity, coupled with exceptional food-friendliness stemming from freshness and flavor complexity, marks them as genuinely distinctive. While the idea of pairing Greek wines with Thai cuisine may initially appear unconventional, the outcome is nothing short of exciting. The wines consistently complemented the intricate flavors of Thai dishes, resulting in pairings that achieve harmonious syntheses and delightful contrasts. In most of the combinations, it became evident that Greek wines demonstrated their ability to complement and elevate a diverse range of culinary experiences beautifully.

In the examples provided below, I am attempting to follow the path of flavor harmony while emphasizing the inherent gastronomic quality of each varietal used in the Food and Wine matching.

Dry Muscat of Alexandria1

The intensely floral nose with ripe citrus fruit of the Dry Muscat of Alexandria wine pairs perfectly with all the bold dishes of Thai cuisine, fragrant with fresh herbs and citrus, as was the case with Sea Bream Ceviche. The balanced acidity of the wine managed to temper the edge of the dish and soften its texture, resulting in a very refined outcome. The slightly funky taste of the wine seamlessly complemented the underlying umami flavor of the raw fish and fish sauce, adding a layer of tastiness to the overall experience. It also paired equally well with Steamed Shrimp Dumplings and Pad Thai. An alternative wine option could be one made from white Malagouzia grape.


Monemvasia has emerged as a standout white grape variety in the Central Aegean islands over the past few years. A notably full-bodied and rich expression of Monemvasia from Mykonos was used to marry with a particularly spicy, curry-flavored pork sausage. Despite the prevailing rule to avoid alcoholic wines with spicy dishes, as it can intensify the heat, this specific pairing paradoxically worked successfully. It appeared that the wine’s almost oily texture and notable acidity were the key elements instrumental in balancing the spiciness of the food. Beyond that, its mineral style and restrained character played a crucial role in allowing the diverse flavors of accompanying ingredients, such as papaya and peanuts, to play their part in the fusion. When contemplating alternative pairings, a full-bodied Assyrtiko quickly came to mind as a compelling option.


Vidiano is a native grape variety from Crete that has gained widespread recognition among wine enthusiasts in recent years. It produces white wines with a rich, fruity aroma and a balanced character, neither too full-bodied nor too light, making them a flexible and attractive choice for food pairings. In the context of food pairing, the relatively sweet and flavorful Massaman Beef Curry also benefits from wines with a relatively high flavor intensity, fruity characteristics, and a somewhat rich mouthfeel. The clean acidity of the Vidiano balances the creamy curry sauce and coconut milk, creating a harmonious result. Alternatively, for those who prefer red wine, choosing a young, fruit-forward Agiorgitiko with a soft texture can also serve as an excellent option, providing an equally enjoyable outcome.


The Agiorgitiko grape variety produces some of the most attractive and enjoyable wines from the Greek vineyard. The right balance of aromatic intensity, fruity flavor characteristics, and sweet spices, combined with its relatively gentle texture, makes it one of the most food-friendly Greek red varieties. In its lighter version, with low tannins and a distinct mouthfeel of sweet fruit, it pairs beautifully with spicier dishes as well as those rich in umami flavor, such as Phad Kaprao with chili and an intensely savory, smoky mushroom sauce.

Xinomavro rosé5

The Xinomavro is an exceptional variety, renowned primarily for the robust and powerful yet elegantly crafted wines it produces. Its high, dry tannins and a palate where the fruit does not dominate make it a challenging choice for Thai cuisine unless the wines are aged or rosé. Rosé wines, rich in red fruit notes, manage to harmonize with umami-rich dishes, adding depth and flavor intensity to the pairing. In contrast, its crisp acidity balances the weight of foods such as Massaman Beef curry. The wine’s elegant structure also pairs ideally with the delicate flavor of steamed Shrimp Dumplings.

A blend of Moscatella and Vostilidi2 grapes.

The blend of these two varieties from Kefalonia results in wines where the fruity aroma and floral character of Muscatella are combined with the less aromatic, fuller-bodied, and well-structured Vostilidi. This creates a wine with improved texture and a broader aromatic range without losing its authenticity. The wine is exceptional alongside fish ceviche, as it aligns with the aromatic character and adds coherence to the flavor elements of the dish. Similarly, it managed to stand alongside the aroma and rich texture of Massaman Beef curry.


  1. Mater Natura 17, Vaimakis Winery, Lemnos Island – Muscat of Alexandria (white)
  2. Efranor, Sclavos Zisimatos, Kefalonia island – Moscatella/Vostilidi (white)
  3. Mikros Taraxias, Microwinery Thalassinos, Crete – Vidiano (white)
  4. Skanavis, Mykonos Microwinery, Mykonos – Monemvasia
  5. Rosé Xinomavro, Oenos Nature, Amyndeo, Macedonia – Xinomavro (rosé)
  6. Agiorgitiko Naturε, Tetramythos winery, Peloponnese – Agiorgitiko (red)

Note: The wines selected for the food were exclusively low-intervention wines crafted from organically grown grapes.

So, the next time you indulge in Thai cuisine, dare to venture beyond the usual. Rather than sticking to the safe choice of beer, consider elevating your experience with the bold and distinctive notes of a Greek white wine, a refreshing rosé, or a delicately fruity red. Greek varietals, with their innate gastronomic qualities, offer a palate-pleasing harmony that goes beyond the conventional pairings.


I want to thank my friend Babis Askeridis, chef and co-owner of the Tuk Tuk Thai Street Food restaurant in Athens, who has contributed to the Thai Food and Greek Wine Pairing Event.