And it’ll be available for one night only
The initial furrowed eyebrows swiftly escalated to an angry social media storm when MasterChef UK judge Gregg Wallace made a rather ignorant remark in regards to a Southeast Asian classic: The chicken rendang.
“The skin isn’t crispy,” the bespectacled English man lamented after sampling Malaysia-born contestant Zaleha Kadir Olpin’s nasi lemak that had a side of the controversial delicacy. “It can’t be eaten but all the sauce is on the skin I can’t eat.”
Traditional rendang is devoid of any ‘crispy’ aspect. In fact, the dish features meat from either chicken, lamb or beef that has been slow cooked in coconut-based curry sauce until extremely tender and moist. It is then eaten with white rice.
In the wake of Wallace’s comment, Olpin was unfortunately eliminated from the competition, but not without sparking a forceful backlash by the citizens from Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, including the Malaysian Prime Minister, who voiced their irritation and frustration towards the critic given by the UK judging panel.
Days later, perhaps as an attempt to diffuse the heavy criticism, Wallace, alongside fellow judge John Torode, went on a talkshow to explain what he really meant.
He elaborated: “I didn’t mean it should be fried, like fried chicken. What I meant was it wasn’t cooked. It simply wasn’t cooked. It was white and flabby.”
Regardless of whether you’re satisfied with Wallace’s backtrack or, like us, are rendered even more confused to his implication that crispy and cooked are synonymous, a Singaporean chef seemed unfazed by the whole ‘crispy rendang’ saga and even made lemonade out of it.
Chef Malcolm Lee of one Michelin star Peranakan restaurant Candlenut has recently posted on Instagram his version of the crispy rendang.
He writes in the caption: “Chicken cooked traditionally rendang style, battered with the rendang curry it was cooked in and deep fried.”
The fried delights are also said to be in morsels, or as Chef Malcolm describes them: ‘popcorn crispy chicken rendang’.
His crispy rendang is only available for one night only at Candlenut’s eighth birthday party on 11 April 2018.
So if you’re hankering for a taste of controversy, you can get tickets to the party here.