#1 Asian Cuisine Wine Book favourite

With four Masters of Wine now living and residing in Asia, the first person to receive Master of Wine title was Jeannie Cho Lee MW. She is an award-winning author, television host, editor, wine critic, judge and educator based in Hong Kong.

Her pioneering #1 Asian Cuisine Wine book Asian Palate book 2009, explores wine and Asian food pairings. It has won many awards, including the Gourmand Award for Best Food and Wine Pairing Book in the World in 2010.

Her second book, Mastering Wine for the Asian Palate (2011), introduces a new set of Asian wine descriptors for major grape varieties and wine styles.


Visit her website Jeannie Cho Lee where authentic Asian Cuisines and wines are celebrated together; mastering wine, food trends, pairing guide and taste notes database are just a few highlights.

 "Savouring Asian Cuisine & Wine" by Jeannie Cho Lee MW

Asian Cuisine and Wine book favourite; Asian Palate by Jeannie Cho Lee MW

Jeannie has developed an Asian-oriented Food and Wine Wheel with wine recommendations for various southeast-Asian cuisines, which I ordered online directly through Jeannie Cho Lee website.

I genuinely can recommend her first book based on 5 valuable reasons. The content is exceptionally informative about the pairing of Asian cuisines with old and new world wines.

Reason #1 Asian Cuisine Wine Book

Why? It definitely is a first book, where Asian ingredients and terms are truly introduced to the language of wine.

The popularity of Asian cuisines rising up all over the world from fine dining to trending street food restaurant and food truck outlets. The use of typical sub-tropical ingredients showcasing native dishes.

A lot has been written and said about wine pairings with Asian cuisines, but never from an Asian point of view.

Reason #2 Focus on Asia

The Asian perspective, this book brings a wide-angled view focusing on Asian cuisines mentioning specifically ingredients in dishes and cooking styles.

Typical native ingredients tied to Asia which you will not come across Europe or other Western parts of the world.

Reason #3 Demonstrate dishes and considerations

Illustrating regional cuisines with wine consideration, recommendations and what to avoid. This by itself is significantly refreshing, instead of the boring and copied standard advice to choose for the outdated choice of sweet wines.

Reason #4 Eye seduction

Important to realise, as the wine is approached by appearance, nose and taste, the visual value is made by alluring food photography.  In effect seducing the eye and wetting the palate.

Appetising food photography of wine and Asian cuisine, along with snapshots of the location and introduction of the regional or national cuisine.

Reason #5 Asian Cuisine Wine book

Not the last or least reason, the value, this should have been on top but then it wouldn’t make any sense without the introduction. The western approach is often to match one wine with one dish, this is difficult in reality with food served on the Asian table.

A simple bowl of rice is often accompanied with at least 10 different dishes in Korea. A humble Chinese meal at least with 2 dishes and a soup not counting the small sides or a festive banquet dinner of many courses.

While a perfect pairing between an Asian meal and wine is often possible, Jeannie has identified among Asian wine and food lovers four key consideration: –versatility, umami character, intensity and quality – when matching Asian cuisines and wine. Jeannie Cho Lee MW.

Singapore is highlighted featuring the national poultry classic dish, here’s my Hainan Chicken post with the recipe. Or click for Thai famous beef salad Yum Nuea instead.


food and wine wheel - Asian Palate

Food & Wine wheel

She also collaborated with the German Wine Institute, launching the 52-page book in November 2011, for a full read here’s the article link: “Perfect Pairings: German Wines and Asian Flavours“.

The German Wine Institute Dutch brand office hosted a book launch event held in Amsterdam where Jeannie presented the book during luncheon with Dutch-Asian Chefs and Restaurateurs. I stumbled upon this online Dutch review article  Smaak van Wijn (Dutch readers only, no translated transcript).

For more information on how to obtain a book copy, visit the German Wines website. The site also offers an online shop with interactive web-based food and wine pairing tool with other helpful accessories.

Most importantly it has tonnes of information how to discover, experience and enjoy German Wines with wine travel tours and tips.

A video impression, watch The Deutsches Weininstitut (DWI), German Wine Institute


WSET wine course in Leiden

After years of enjoying many and more glasses of wines and spirits I decided to sign up for the International Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), qualification Level 2 and 3. The WSET wine course is the largest wine educator in the world with 56,000 students per year in 62 countries. The institution has become the international standard for sommeliers, importers, retailers and hospitality. This action does not come as a surprise for my inner circle, who are familiar with my entrepreneurial history in the restaurant business. The enrollment was just a delay due to travel and living abroad. What’s not to like in another discovery trail and acquiring a certificate for wine appreciation it is hitting two birds with one stone.

WSET wine course in Leiden

The above mentioned WSET wine course has approved program providers in The Netherlands ensuring the high standards of teaching. From the listed companies on the WSET wine course page in Dutch I have chosen the Dutch educational company “Wijnstudio”. The Wine Studio claims since 2005 the highest exam results for the International Wine Certificate with 99 graduates in one take and 71 graduates  for Wine Professional (Source:

The Winestudio is an independent company, who does not sell wines nor being tied to an importer. The company also focuses in addition to the educational courses on gastronomy, the pairing of wine and food taste in flavor and aroma. For those who aspire a professional career and wonder what the education differences entails here are two summarized articles to consider on wine courses; comparison of wine certificationsGuide to Wine education courses. More information in the Wine education widget as listed on our Asianfoodtrail ZEEF page.

Having viewed Dutch wine educational websites information and comparing course fees, it was enlightening to notice their graduates success rate. While this is encouraging information, the decision maker however was distance for preferred location. The WSET wine course program is being held in my present hometown Leiden at a new course location this year. Instead of a bored meeting room it is being hosted now at the wine shop La Bordelaise which lies conveniently in the heart of the city.

Last night entering the class room, all students received the course material and the box with tasting glasses. The Level 2 Award course began with our teacher opening the first bottle of the evening, a Royer Brut Champagne, France. Although we received a wine tasting list overview, I wished I had remembered to take a snapshot of the wine labels. Besides illustration purpose I wanted to test a new mobile wine app, coming up in a next post.

WSET Level 2 award

Unboxing of WSET level 2 award

China International Fashion Brand Fair 2014 – Shenzhen

The largest and most influential fashion exhibition in southern China, highlighting innovative designs, ideas and intelligence sharing

via The 14th China International Fashion Brand Fair — Shenzhen opens today – MarketWatch.


14th China International Fashion Brand Fair-Shenzhen (FashionSZhow)

14th China International Fashion Brand Fair-Shenzhen (FashionSZhow)

China International Fashion Brand Fair 2014

Information Venue and Organizer:


Tea connection, introducing The Tea Urchin

Tea Connection

For the love of Tea, I’ve made a wonderful connection with the owners of Tea Urchin, Eugene & Belle. I have been following Tea Urchin’s blog for quite a while and the main reason is their ongoing search and tea explorations but what attracted me the most are the wonderful travel stories, discoveries, people and affinity with their surroundings.

Through Eugene’s writings you can read their passion and engagement sharing tea experience from a wide angled view. Their home is in ShangHai, China, but in our recent email exchange Eugene shared with me that he and Belle visited The Netherlands while on honeymoon. So there you have another introduction, live is a series of moments invisibly string together.

Tea Urchin: mountain tea – hand picked leaves


Why Tea Urchin?

Eugene & Belle launched Tea Urchin to share their love of Chinese tea with the world. Eugene is an Australian who moved to Shanghai in 2004, where he discovered gongfu cha & became obsessed with puer. There he met & married Belle, a feisty Shanghainese tea lover with a penchant for sweet reds & fragrant oolongs.

Together, we travel around China, collecting rare, hand crafted teas. We love finding good tea, made by good people, and we help them to find an international market. We also specialize in premium tea ware from Yixing, Jingdezhen, Longquan & Taiwan.

We go the extra mile to produce our own puer tea, called “Cha Ren” (茶仁 which means “tea compassion”). Each year, we travel to Yunnan to source traditional, hand crafted puer teas directly from the best farmers. We work with the same trusted tea-makers each year, to ensure our tea is pesticide free, and not blended with cheaper or inferior teas. You can meet our producers & follow our tea adventures on our Tea Urchin blog.

Tea connection: Eugene & Belle – The Tea Urchin

I am delighted to share our tea connection with their latest publication about Tea, specifically Chinese Tea the process of tasting and grading Chinese teas. Just click on the title link below.

Cupping Tea- How to taste and grade Chinese teas



Tea Urchin website

Tea Urchin website




Tea webshop 

AMT Seminar 26 March: The new middle class in China – who are they?


China Leiden China-gerelateerde lezingen en andere activiteiten aan de Universiteit Leiden

China Leiden
China-gerelateerde lezingen en andere activiteiten aan de Universiteit Leiden

AMT Seminar 26 March: The new middle class in China – who are they?Posted: 24 Mar 2014 08:04 AM PDTTime
15.00-17.00 hrs

Lipsius Building Room 148
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

Everyone is welcome!


The new middle class in China

The new middle class in China – who are they? What are their dreams? What do they worry about? Can you be happy in a dictatorship? And how about sex?

Journalist and anthropologist Sybilla Claus writes for the Dutch daily newspaper Trouwabout East Asia. She will talk about two special projects she researched in China.

  1. Wherever you look, China is building apartment buildings. In 2020 there will be hundreds of cities with a million inhabitants. But who is living in all those flats? Sybilla Claus lived for a week in Tower XII of a new high-rise complex.
  2. Soul searching: the changing moral landscape.
    a. Chinese citizens are better off economically, and feel emotionally liberated. But can the modern Chinese be happy in a dictatorship?
    b. A sexual revolution is happening in China, of course in Red style. How do citizens find their (erotic) way between the do-nots of censorship?
    c. Chinese are world champions in hard working and making money – but spending it is a different story. Philantrophy and volunteer work are upcoming phenomena.





Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC)’s mission is to be an international centre of excellence for research on contemporary East Asia. MEARC aims to maximize the impact of East Asia research on stakeholders within and outside academia in the Netherlands and beyond. MEARC funds original research projects, serves as hub for academic and non-academic networks, organizes targeted dissemination events, and offers bespoke executive courses. MEARC’s expertise includes politics and international relations, and deep insight into the socio-cultural and economic dynamics of contemporary East Asia.