British show's take on rendang curry riles Southeast Asians | Inquirer Lifestyle
Malaysia's national dish, Nasi Lemak and chicken rendang, at a restaurant in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Judges on a popular British cooking show are being ridiculed for ignorance of Asian food after insisting a Malaysian contestant's chicken rendang curry should have been crispy, and have taken to social media to denounce the TV show hosts. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)

British show’s take on rendang curry riles Southeast Asians

Malaysia’s national dish, Nasi Lemak and chicken rendang, at a restaurant in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Judges on a popular British cooking show are being ridiculed for ignorance of Asian food after insisting a Malaysian contestant’s chicken rendang curry should have been crispy, and have taken to social media to denounce the TV show hosts. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)

 

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Judges on a popular British cooking show are being ridiculed for ignorance of Asian food after insisting a Malaysian contestant’s chicken rendang curry should have been crispy.

 

Foodies in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia have taken to social media to vent at the critique of the Malaysian-born cook’s traditional and standard method for preparing chicken rendang.

 

“The skin isn’t crispy. It can’t be eaten but all the sauce is on the skin I can’t eat,” one of the MasterChef UK judges complained in a recent episode of the show.

 

Online, Southeast Asians pointed out that the chicken is cooked in curry sauce, not fried, and is never crispy. Some accused the judges of neo-colonial attitudes, and racism.

 

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak also chipped in, posting a photo of chicken rendang on Twitter and light-heartedly asking whether anyone has ever eaten a crispy chicken curry. Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said the judges were guilty of “whitesplaining.”

 

The contestant, Zaleha Kadir Olpin, was eliminated from the competition but took to Instagram to vow she would never stop cooking the traditional way.

 

Her offending rendang was presented as part of Malaysia’s national dish, Nasi Lemak, or rice cooked in coconut milk that comes with sides such as peanuts, spicy prawns, and rendang.

 

The judges lavished praise on most of the ingredients but dismissed the non-crispy chicken rendang as a “mistake.”

 

One of the judges, John Torode, later stirred more controversy online by trying to fuel the ages-old war of words between Malaysians and Indonesians over which country invented rendang. However, the absurdity of the crispy curry saga has provided the neighboring countries with a rare point of agreement.

 

The curry, which originates from West Sumatra in Indonesia, is popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, and southern Thailand.   /kga

 

  • Batz61

    a case of ignorant, ethnocentric, cultural colonialism still existing with the defunct colonizers

  • Bwisita ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    I think this is a matter of preference, not about traditions. I also would prefer chicken skin to be crispy than boiled. The difference is in the texture, for thick-sauced dishes like curries, putting some crispy will make the dish a lot better. Cooking shows like MasterChef is not about whose traditional cooking is better, it’s how a cook can make traditional dishes better.

    • Vox_Populi

      I agree that people are entitled to their own opinion and chefs are entitled to take liberties at times and experiment with food. I believe though that the “traditional” way of cooking a particular dish should NEVER ever be labeled as a “Mistake” as one of the judges put it. The time honored method can always be improved upon but is never wrong when it was done that way.

      Something like an American insisting that an Adobo should be crispy and not stewed as it traditionally is even if there are dishes like adobo flakes and the like.

  • Miles Brusset

    I can’t fap to this

  • sherlyn

    Well, that’s what happens when stoopid British who’s never been to Asia tries to host a TV show about Asian food. They should have toured Asia first and did their research.

  • Sure Shock

    Ignorance on the loose.

  • joel

    What the F do they know about Asian’s on how to cook their dish. $tupid westerners.

  • Heavenly Probably

    If the judges wanted crispy chicken, they should have specified that they wanted a crispy fried chicken competition.

    I like my chicken curry, chicken adobo or chicken rendang for that matter cooked the traditional way.

    If I wanted crispy fried chicken, I’ll get Chicken Joy. If I want it hot and spicy and not crispy, I’ll get KFC.