Friday food fight: Mapo Dofu

By Jim Boyce

The wine and dirt pairing didn’t garner many recommendations, so let’s return to something a bit spicier and tackle Mapo Doufu, a Szechuan speciality. Let’s go to Wikipedia on this one:


Mapo doufu… is a combination of tofu (bean curd) and minced meat, usually beef, in a spicy chili- and bean-based sauce, typically a thin, oily, and bright red suspension…. True Mapo doufu is powerfully spicy with both conventional “heat” spiciness and the characteristic “mala” (numbing spiciness) flavor of Sichuan (Szechuan) cuisine.

Frankly, I’m thinking ice-cold draft beer with this dish, which ranks among my favorites, but let’s say you did want to pair it with wine. Any suggestions?

(By the way, here’s a recipe using pork.)

See also:
Friday food fight: Dirt
Friday food fight: Beijing duck
Friday food fight: Scorpions on a stick

(Photo: China Daily)

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  1. Wow! Nice wine challenge. My normal “goes with spicy” varietal is Verdelho. But that would be awful with Mapo Doufu.

    Maybe a very crisp Reisling?

    I also like your “default” of “beer” — but it’s not enough to just say “beer” and have done, as I mentally shudder at eating “Grandma Tofu” (to use the usual translation) with, say, watery/lemony Yanjing. *shudder*

    I would think a nice, strong IPA — something that can stand up to a little pressure — would go well with Mapo Doufu.

  2. I love this dish, but don’t see it going with any wine. Because of the peppercorns that numb your tongue and just the sheer heat of the dish, I think I’ll stick to beer. I love Sichuan cuisine dearly, and have tried experimenting with different wines, but the food completely overpowers. Maybe a sparkling wine? Certainly not a Champagne…maybe Prosecco? Something to cleanse the palate, help it recover a bit?

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