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Elevating Happy Hour With Asian Street Food & Spirit Pairings

A scene from a street food market in Hong Kong.

There’s something about the buzz of a busy street market in Asia. The sizzle and crunch from the food stalls, the pop of bottles and the visual experience of live cooking get your taste buds dancing. Imagine capturing that infectious street food energy and pairing it with the perfect Diageo spirit for your next happy hour at home or at the neighbouring Asian joint.
 
Let's walk through some pairings that are sure to get you salivating.
 
First off, let's chat about dumplings, the king of street food. Those little pockets of joy, steamed or fried, filled with sweet or savoury goodness. Pair them with a serving of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve. The smooth, honeyed notes of the whisky play well with the delicate flavours of the dumplings to deliver an unforgettable delight.

Steamed dumplings on the street-side.
 
How about stepping off the beaten path and pairing the South Asian street favourite Bhel Puri  with Talisker Skye? Bhel Puri is a popular snack consisting of a mix of puffed rice, finely chopped onions and tomatoes, a tangy tamarind sauce and a hint of spice. The smoky complexity of the Talisker Skye whisky intermingles beautifully with the sourness of the tamarind, creating a pleasantly chaotic experience.
 
Now, for something with a bit more kick, think spicy satay sticks straight off the grill. The smoky, charred edges and that signature grainy peanut sauce—a flavour explosion with fans all over the continent. For more heat, dip the stick into some authentic sambal from the nearest Asian store. Wash that down with a cooling Tanqueray gin and tonic. The herbs in the gin cut through the spice and leave your palate refreshed and ready for more.

Satay skewers
 
Sushi and Smirnoff Vodka are a duo you might not have thought of, but trust us, it works. The clean and crisp vodka doesn't overpower this delicate fish. Sip on a chilled vodka martini between bites and feel those flavours come alive or let the wasabi remind you. If you are not a sushi fan, it is time to get on the bandwagon!
 
Every culture has their own version of fried chicken, but the Korean version of the snack takes the prize when paired with Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold Rum. The heat and crispiness of the chicken come in contact with the vanilla and warm spices in the rum, adding a new dimension to each bite.

Stir fry
 
For a final curveball, pair Youtiao, or homemade Chinese donuts, with Baileys Irish Cream. The light, fluffy and airy body of the donut is perfect to soak up the creamy Baileys, adding a chew that's just right. A breakfast staple in the nation, these donuts can be paired with a coffee-infused Baileys cocktail as well.
 
When you’re hosting your next happy hour or going solo, remember that these pairings are just a starting point. Feel free to mix things up. There is plenty to choose from since Asian street food is a gift that keeps on giving!