Spreading Indonesia’s Identity through “Rendang” as the World’s 50 Delicious Food

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Indonesia is known as a country rich in abundant natural resources, mostly known for its spices. The various types of spices owned by Indonesia make Indonesia have a distinctive taste of cuisine that is owned by every cuisine in Indonesia. Indonesia is a country that has 34 provinces and each province in Indonesia has the characteristics of different foods with different tastes and delicious pleasures. The taste of Indonesian cuisine has no doubt from domestic and foreign tastes. Indonesian dishes that have been recognized by foreign countries for their deliciousness and unique taste are Rendang, Rawon, Chicken satay, Minced Curry, Vegetable Tamarind, Meatballs, Gado-Gado, Aceh noodles, Egg Crust, Pempek, Gudeg, and many more. this makes Indonesia in the spotlight of the world as a culinary country that must be visited. Therefore, this will certainly have a positive impact on Indonesia by introducing a country’s culture and branding from its culinary sector.

Indonesia is not only famous for its natural beauty such as tourist destinations that have been known to the world such as Bali, but Indonesia also has a country identity with rendang cuisine that is known and recognized by the world. (Liputan6.com, 2022). Rendang is not only the most delicious food in Indonesia, but it has become the most delicious food in the world, this is conveyed from the results of a CNN International survey in 2011, where Rendang occupies the first position in the World’s 50 Delicious Food. From the survey results, rendang beats various foods from other countries, such as sushi from Japan, pad Thai from Thailand, Peking duck from China, and many more (Safitri, 2021). In 2017, Rendang again took first place in the World’s 50 Delicious Food. Of the 50 types of food from various countries that participated in this event, Indonesia managed to occupy rendang in the first position and the second position was followed by fried rice in the World’s 50 Delicious Food (Mustinda, 2017). This is an achievement that Indonesia has through the culture of the Minangkabau with the delicacy of rendang it has, so that it has a positive impact on Indonesian culinary delights in the eyes of the world.

Indonesian rendang, which is known to the world, is a typical dish from Minangkabau, West Sumatra. Rendang has a meaning in the Minang language, namely ‘Mendang’ which means “slow”. The cooking process takes a long time to dry this dish. Minangkabau does have many unique culinary delights, but rendang food is more of an identity as a food of honor in traditional events such as weddings, traditional celebrations, and other important events. For the Minang people themselves, Rendang has a philosophy that means Patience and Perseverance. Of course, this food is one of the prides of the Minang community and Indonesia, of course, because this food is also identity as a typical Indonesian food in the eyes of the world (DapurOcha.com, 2020). This Minang rendang has a characteristic black and dry appearance, as well as a thick and savory blend of spices native to West Sumatra. In the manufacturing process, Minang rendang is made from beef cooked with coconut milk and some special spices such as garlic, shallots, ginger, galangal, red chilies, turmeric leaves and lime leaves. Cooked for 7 hours, resulting in a beef texture that is tender and also has a savory aroma. In its area of ​​origin, namely West Sumatra, rendang has several types. Not only made with beef, but also made from chicken, lungs, potatoes, shrimp, eggs, duck and fish. Some even add cassava or red beans (Mustinda, 2017). This rendang dish is no doubt delicious. Rendang is usually very suitable to be eaten with warm white rice, fresh sweet potato shoots, jackfruit vegetables, and green chili sauce. Besides being known for its distinctive and delicious taste, rendang also has a very simple recipe. Currently, Padang cuisine, especially rendang,  is widely found in various regions in Indonesia today and even internationally.

After being named the most delicious food in the world, rendang is now officially introduced to several countries in Europe. this is based on the construction of a rendang factory in Bulgaria with the “Rendang Goes to Europe” project which has been launched by President Joko Widodo in 2021. This project contributes to the activities of the Indonesia Spice Up the World (ISUTW) program, where this program is a cross-cultural joint program. ministries/agencies to support increased contribution and added value of the culinary sub-sector to the national economy. To realize this project, a large factory will be built in Bulgaria under the Bella Bulgarian company. Later, this factory will produce rendang in large quantities to be marketed in several European countries, including the Middle East (Setya, 2022). Rendang is an Indonesian dish that is ready to be launched in various countries in Europe and the world as part of the Rendang Goes to Europe and Goes to World initiatives. The launch of this program activity is part of a series of G20 presidential events that will take place in Bali starting December 1, 2021. This program has a target of increasing the number of spices/spice exports by USD 2 billion and 4,000 Indonesian restaurants abroad by 2024 (Indonesia Spice Up the World, nd ). The program was carried out, not only in the form of spices but also spices in the form of rendang spices and other traditional cooking spices. Therefore, the inauguration of the Rendang Goes to Europe program will have a positive impact on Indonesia, especially the province of West Sumatra so that it is better known by rendang cuisine which has delicious and unique characteristics. For this reason, Indonesia, especially West Sumatra, should be able to take advantage of the opportunities of this project so that in the future it can become the locomotive of the spice supply chain for making rendang, and can open new business opportunities or employment opportunities and can increase the number of tourism visitors through the identity of rendang cuisine through Indonesia’s diplomatic strategy in the culinary field.

Ramadhan Dwi Saputra
Ramadhan Dwi Saputra
Research Assistant at Universitas Islam indonesia

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