Forget beer and wine made from grapes. Bloomberg recently published an article that the growth of the booze market in China is slowing done. The demand for beer is even in decline. However, there’s one bright spot in the industry: traditional Chinese Yellow Rice wine, known in China as ‘Huang Jiu’.
Together with beer and red wine, huang Jiu is considered as 1 of the 3 biggest traditional liquors by the Chinese.
The market for white rice wine (Bai Jiu) is still much larger than yellow rice wine. Bai jiu is expensive and popular among Chinese generals and government officials, but China is cracking down on corruption and extravagance since 2014, resulting in lower demand.
Huang jiu on the other hand is seeing a strong growth. Chinese people have enjoyed strong economic growth in the past decade and as a result consuming more imported Western goods. However, many Chinese are also rediscovering their own background and rediscover traditional Chinese food and beverages.
Different from white rice wine, the yellow cousin contains much less alcohol making it more suitable for a larger crowd. In addition, it’s highly nutritious containing 18 kinds of amino acids. A wine with so much nutritional value is what makes it attract a growing crowd.
Yellow rice wine is brewed directly from rice. Sometimes millet or wheat could also be used as an alternative to rice. Unlike white rice wine, it’s not distilled and contains not more than 20% alcohol due to the inhibition of fermentation by ethanol at that concentration.
Yellow wine is pasteurised, aged, and filtered before they are finally bottled and sold. Depending on the variation in production, the final color could range from beige to reddish brown. Yellow wine is mainly classified by production regions, each with their own variation of production methods. See below the list:
Besides the region yellow wine is also classified as: dry, half dry, half sweet, sweet.
Huangjiu mainly consumed in Mainland China and Taiwan and consumed in different ways.
While drinking yellow wine cold is still the most popular way to go, the traditional way of drinking yellow wine is actually by warming it until a perfect temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit). Drinking the wine warm is considered healthy for the stomach.
The older generations often drink the wine from a bowl instead of a glass or cup.
Among younger people in China, Yellow wine is often drank cold. The wine is first refrigerated and then served with ice. Sometimes fresh fruits are added for additional taste.
The Chinese love to pair yellow wine with dishes. Dry wines are paired with vegetables and cold appetizers. Semi-dry types are paired with red meat, crab and other seafood. Half-sweet types are paired with chicken and duck. At last, sweet-types are paired with desserts.
In some regions Huang Jiu is also used for cooking traditional Chinese dishes. Popular dishes include huang jiu chicken soup and huang jiu steamed crab.