This week, something rare happened. Malaysians and Indonesians were brought together in righteous fury by the only thing that could have done it: food. At stake was the reputation of their (co-)national dish, rendang (it’s meat, usually beef or chicken, slowly stewed over low heat in coconut milk and numerous spices).
The Southeast Asian internet essentially blew up after a Malaysian contestant on MasterChef UK was eliminated because the show’s English judge Gregg Wallace thought her chicken rendang wasn’t “crispy” enough and “couldn’t be eaten”.
It’s just so, so wrong. Following a tide of regional backlash (including comments from British High Commissioner Victoria Treadell and the Malaysian prime minister), Wallace insisted he actually meant that the chicken was simply undercooked. Right, now bugger off.
In any case, the #CrispyRendang hullaballoo (also referred to as “Rendangate”) was too good a farce to pass on for brands and agencies. Even in Singapore, where rendang may not be as widely appreciated as compared to other cultural dishes, folks joined in the fun.
Singapore Civil Defence Force
Not at all unexpected from the cheeky folks handling the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) social media account, a Facebook post went up to remind home cooks to pay attention to their kitchen stove — after all, hundreds of fire cases have occurred due to unattended cooking. And nobody wants to eat burnt, crispy rendang chicken.
Speaking of chicken, fast-food chain Jollibee couldn’t resist doing a bit of moment marketing by trumpeting what it does best: crispylicious chickenjoy.
On the back of SCDF’s gag about cooking, furniture chain Ikea waded into the fun by posting a photo of its ‘Tolerant’ wok, which apparently “tolerates everything” except “crispy” rendang. Oof.
Even the Republic of Singapore Airforce had a bit of high-flying fun by posting a picture of its F-15SG jet fighter, postulating that its afterburners should’ve been fired up for some extra crispy rendang.
Indie movie theatre The Projector has always been on trend, and the illuminated signs above its box office often reflect the management’s droll humor. “Justice For Chicken Rendang” sounds like a great title for a revenge flick though.
Not one to shun away from moment marketing, Tiger Beer proudly reminded everyone about its place as an Asian beverage, and how they “get” authentic Asian dishes.