Jokowi campaign tells supporters not to boycott Nasi Padang over heavy loss to Prabowo in West Sumatra

A wide selection of Padangnese dishes from Padang Merdeka restaurant in Jakarta. Photo: Facebook/Padang Merdeka

What has Nasi Padang ever done but give us joy and full tummies (and maybe the occasional bout of diarrhea)? Yet some people are allegedly trying to politicize the cuisine native to the Minang tribe of West Sumatra due to the results of last Wednesday’s presidential election.

Recently, some netizens on social media, who claim to be supporters of President Joko Widodo in the election, said they wanted to boycott Nasi Padang because the incumbent lost heavily in West Sumatra to challenger Prabowo Subianto. According to quick count tallies, Prabowo beat Jokowi handily by around 85% to 15% in the conservative province.

While the boycott movement doesn’t seem to be very widespread in that there only seem to be a handful of people calling for cutting out rendang and pals from their diet (we don’t even know if they are actually Jokowi supporters or if this is all part of an elaborate post-election hoax), the numbskullery behind the premise is so outrageous that it nonetheless caught the attention of Jokowi’s campaign, who, understandably, don’t want to be associated with it at all.

“It’s impossible for us to boycott a culinary tradition that Indonesians take pride in. We cannot boycott Nasi Padang… If such a boycott happens, we will surely regret it,” Jokowi campaign spokesperson Ace Hasan Syadzily told reporters yesterday, as quoted by Detik.

“Even Pak Jokowi had Nasi Padang in Grand Indonesia mall yesterday. Look at Pak Jokowi’s track record. Even though his votes aren’t maximum in certain regions, he still cares for those regions.”

Even if the calls for a nasi padang boycott were genuine, they don’t seem to have had any effect in the real world. According to state news agency Antara, Padang restaurants in the capital haven’t seen a drop in customers since the election.

If this story worked up a Nasi Padang craving for you, be sure to check out our list of best Padang restaurants in Jakarta, where you can eat the most delicious rendang, sambalado, ayam pop, and more.

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