Reclaiming Rendang, Has Indonesia Really Lost It?

07 Desember 2010 23:31:41 Diperbarui: 26 Juni 2015 10:55:43 Dibaca : Komentar : Nilai :
Reclaiming Rendang, Has Indonesia Really Lost It?
Indonesian beef rendang

Rendang is a dish made from beef (or other meats) which slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices. The taste is curry like, pungent, with beautiful coconut fragrant, and a load of hotness from the chillies. A good rendang usually has darkish brown coloring with a greasy grainy rendang paste. The original version of rendang took hours of cooking; slowly altering the cooking method from boiling to frying as the liquid evaporates. A well cooked wet rendang could stay good up into a month with regular reheating, which makes the taste grow more intense from day to day. A good quality rendang though, would rarely survives through one complete week, or even day three, before being consumed out. Beside of beef, rendang can be made with other proteins, including chicken, mutton, prawns, liver, duck, or even eggs. You could also have the vegetarian version of rendang using young jack fruit's meat, and pebbles potatoes has been known as the ideal soul mate of beef rendang. Rendang originally came from Minangkabau region of Indonesia (a.k.a. "Padang" region) with slightly different version from one village to another. Thanks to the merantau culture of the Minang people, rendang is now widely available not only throughout Indonesia, but also in neighboring countries like Malaysia and Singapore. In Indonesia, you could confidently bet to find this particular dish in every Padang food restaurant; it is not a Padang food restaurant without rendang. Rendang is also considered as one of the national food of Indonesia, though lately Mr. President chose to promote Nasi Goreng Indonesia instead at the World Expo Shanghai China 2010 (WESC 2010) which held at Shanghai, China, from May 1st - Oktober 31st 2010; perhaps due to the more simpler preparation required by Nasi Goreng Indonesia. Indonesian culinary experts on the other hand, unanimously choose rendang as one of the signature dish of Indonesia. However, even though Wikipedia clearly states that Rendang is a dish originated from Indonesia, and there's no doubt in Indonesian mind that rendang is their national cuisine, a recent Google search shown an interesting fact that the most prominent promoters of Rendang are not Indonesian, but Malaysian.

Internet Authority on Rendang

Please have a look at the screenshot below, where Malaysian based websites are highlighted, and there's only one link from Indonesian website; The Indochine Kitchen by Jun, while two other links are from Australian and English (UK) websites.

Google search result on rendang
Google screenshot on search for rendang
This is not surprising anyhow, because through its long time assimilation of the food, Malaysian has also considered rendang as their traditional dish; worthy to be cooked and marks special events, including the festive holiday seasons. Not to mention that English is Malaysia's second national language, which making information sharing to the English speaking world much easier and effortless compared to the Indonesians. This result and reasons however, also showing a tendency that Malaysia will quickly becoming the more identical country for rendang, than Indonesia. Why? This is due to the fact that with Google search result domination, Malaysian websites will be the authoritative figures for this dish, and international people would be more likely to find information about this Indonesian national dish through Malaysian websites. Then to the common internet users, it's up in the hands of those authoritative websites the identity of rendang will be decided. Just like people mostly aware that Bonsai are Japanese original art, rather than a development of earlier Chinese art Penzai; then same principles applies in this case: whoever promotes the most, wins. And in the Google dominated world (which basically means about 65% of the internet users); Malaysian websites get a very good hold on rendang related topics. It even means that in the Google search universe; Malaysian have already won the ownership of information related to rendang. And with the past mischievous history of the two countries battling to claim cultural heritages, this is not a good news.

Reclaiming authority of rendang

Without accusing our friendly neighbor trying to claim ownership of rendang, and given that the most important website on the internet; the Wikipedia, still holds rendang as Indonesian original dish, Indonesian websites should strive to establish authority in this subject on the internet, and reclaim the information right of rendang back to Indonesian websites. How?

  1. For Indonesian authorities; take a more serious efforts in internationally promoting rendang as Indonesian National Signature Dish, make the international press interested in your efforts
  2. Still for Indonesian authorities; promotes the creation of rendang in foreign countries by providing information on how to create them and where to get the resources locally (or with minimum amount of imported goods)
  3. For Indonesian medias and journalist; write more about rendang (in English) and publish them in your already highly ranked newspaper, magazine, or your personal blog, submit them to Antara or AP if you could
  4. For blog owners and article writers, create an informative and authoritative page on rendang as Indonesian original dish (in English), and tell the world about it

There are also several things even you as regular readers could do:

  1. Create a back link into this article
  2. Tell your groups, forums, mailing lists, about this article
  3. Inform about this article in social medias you're in
  4. Repost this article citing the original link
  5. Create a link to other Indonesian resource on rendang available on the internet

Ready to reclaim rendang? (byms) Permanent link: Epicurina.com; Rendang image taken from here.

Bayu Amus



Menggemari makan enak, tertarik dengan kreativitas, dan hal-hal melebihi ranah logika. Mendalami User eXperience Design, serta menulis untuk Epicurina (epicurina.blogspot.com), Ufosiana (ufosiana.blogspot.com), dan Pipir Sawah Saiber (kangbayu.multiply.com).