‘Rendangate’ is hilariously uniting Malaysia’s political arch-enemies and stirring up a storm on social media, Business Insider


Malaysian chef Zaleha Kadir Olpin’s chicken rendang was criticised by MasterChef UK judge Gregg Wallace for not being “crispy enough”.
Instagram/ @z.olpin

The “crispy rendang” brouhaha has whipped up a social media firestorm after MasterChef UK judges criticised a Malaysian chef’s chicken rendang for failing to be “crispy enough”.

In fact, even the most belligerent of political rivals took time off their political endeavours to – in a united voice – slam the judges for their remarks.

Malaysian chef Zaleha Kadir Olpin, who was a MasterChef UK contestant, had served up traditional nasi lemak with chicken rendang during one of the show’s challenges.

However, Zaleha’s dish resulted in her elimination from the quarter-finals of the competition after MasterChef UK judge Gregg Wallace denigrated her chicken’s lack of crispiness.

Fellow judge John Torode added that her chicken rendang was a mistake, claiming that it had not enough time to cook down.

Consequently, social media users have been left scratching their heads about whether the two judges were qualified to criticise Asian cuisine.

An online movement now dubbed “Rendangate” soon ensued, with Malaysians on social media furiously lambasting Wallace and Torode for their comments.

Even with the imminence of a general election, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak diverted his attention to give his own take on the controversy.

In a Twitter and Instagram post on Tuesday (Apr 3), Najib wrote: “Where do people eat chicken rendang that is ‘crispy’?”

Political arch-enemy Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad concurs with Najib, offering tongue-in-cheek humour in a response to a Twitter post made by Torode.

“Maybe you are confusing rendang chicken with KFC,” Dr Mahathir quipped, making reference to fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken.

In hilarious fashion, KFC Malaysia has taken advantage of the “Rendangate” controversy and Dr Mahathir’s comment.

An image posted on the restaurant chain’s Instagram account features the headline “Not Rendang”, while the image says: “The only thing that should be crispy is our fried chicken.”

Torode tried to diffuse the situation by claiming on Twitter that Malaysians should not be distressed, suggesting chicken rendang to be a dish with Indonesian origins.

“Maybe Rendang is Indonesian!! Love this!! Brilliant how excited you are all getting..Namaste,” Torode wrote in a Twitter post which has since been removed.

However his attempt only served to incur the wrath of Twitter and Facebook users from all four nations – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore – where rendang is eaten.

Twitter user [email protected] said that no rendang is crispy or comes with sauce on the side, regardless of origin.

“Padan muka (serves you right), Now feel lah the bawangness (onion-like pungency) of Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean and Bruneian [sic],” wrote user [email protected]

Facebook user Fitrani Puspitasari wrote: “Well you know what? Indonesian [sic] don’t eat crispy rendang either!!! And we don’t say namaste, that’s India, you ignorant prick.”


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