Diplomacy, which used to function only as a negotiating tool during the war, has now developed as a peaceful and non-violent advocacy tool for the national interest. Furthermore, diplomacy that previously could only be carried out by state actors can now be carried out by unlimited international companies or non-governmental organizations (Ramadan, 2020). There are several aspects of diplomacy itself, such as culinary diplomacy. Culinary diplomacy or gastro diplomacy is part of public diplomacy, also classified as soft diplomacy. The existence of culinary diplomacy can provide benefits to promote the culinary specialties of the country of origin to other countries. Indonesia is one of the countries that use gastro diplomacy to promote Indonesian things such as rendang, even though Indonesia is relatively new in implementing gastro diplomacy (Khusairi Ramadhan, 2020).
Indonesia has many unique foods that can be popularized worldwide, including rendang. Rendang is a typical Indonesian food originating from West Sumatra. Rendang is a trendy cuisine in demand by the people of Indonesia and internationally. Rendang culinary has been ranked first in the category of the world’s best culinary version of CNN in 2011 and 2021 (Indonesia, 2021).
Indonesia’s Strategy and Efforts in Implementing Gastrodiplomacy
Banquets can be a medium for conducting diplomatic activities. When heads of state and representatives of countries gather in bilateral or multilateral forums, serving food is an integral part of diplomacy. Several countries sometimes adjust food from guests from different countries and often serve western food rather than typical food from their own country. This could be one of the strategies to promote typical food from Indonesia so that this nation’s culture is increasingly known to the world. The Indonesian foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, has implemented this. According to CNN, Ms. Retno Marsudi hosted the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, with a dish of rendang, a worldwide specialty of Indonesia (Dewangga, 2017).
Seeing the many interests related to Indonesian cuisine, namely rendang, the Indonesian government then made efforts to promote this typical Indonesian cuisine on the world stage. The measure used by the Indonesian government through the Ministry of Tourism in gastro diplomacy is the Co-Brandingwith several diaspora restaurants worldwide. Program Wonderful Indonesia Diaspora Restaurant Co-Branding is a program belonging to the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia, which conducts promotional collaborations with various Indonesian restaurants spread worldwide and belonging to the Indonesian diaspora.
The program started on November 11, 2018, with nearly 100 diaspora restaurants worldwide, including France, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland, the UK, Hong Kong, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Netherlands. Cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Singapore, Turkey, and the United States. Among these countries, the central destination countries for this program are Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Finland, and the United States (Ramadan, 2020).
The success of Indonesian Gastrodiplomacy
The program introduced Indonesian food, and the Indonesian government also branded restaurants abroad. This aims to introduce Indonesian culture through exceptional food and become a strategy for the international community to come to Indonesia and see culture and taste Indonesian culinary specialties and also to optimize restaurants that are spread across various countries as channels as well as an appreciation for restaurants that have to promote Indonesia in their respective countries (Ramadan, 2020).
Indonesia’s success is related to gastro diplomacy. This is seen in the strategy used by Indonesia. Indonesia uses the Media Relations Strategy; this strategy uses social media to promote Wonderful Indonesia, the Diaspora Restaurant Indonesia Co-Branding, for example, short films with Indonesian culinary themes, Instagram, and others. In France, Indonesian food, including rendang, has a significant place there.
Promotion through social media has made rendang and other Indonesian specialties quite famous in France. About 95% of Indonesian food is trendy there. France and several countries such as America and other European countries also like Indonesian specialties. This shows that the strategy carried out by Indonesia was quite successful in introducing Indonesian food on the world stage. Judging from the percentage, rendang is favored by the Indonesian diaspora abroad, and the world community is starting to recognize and like rendang as an exceptional Indonesian food (Ramadan, 2020).