Why beef rendang is the right food to send to natural disaster victims
The Jakarta Post
Jakarta / Sun, September 2, 2018 / 10:10 am
In response to the recent Lombok earthquake, West Sumatra administration was said to have sent at least 400 kilograms of beef rendang to victims of the quake.More than just classified as a world-famous dish, rendang, made of meat slow-cooked in coconut milk and spices, can last for quite a long time. Not to mention many people think it’s delicious.
Apart from the fact that beef rendang lasts long and contains protein to give a sense of fullness, is it really a suitable food to send to natural disaster victims? The Jakarta Post spoke to culinary entrepreneur Reno Andam Suri, who is also a food storyteller and author of the book Rendang: Minang Legacy to the World.
Q: Regarding the West Sumatra administration reportedly sending rendang as a form of aid to Lombok quake victims, do you agree that rendang is suitable for the victims?
A: Oh yes, humanity has moved people to help, and West Sumatra is known for rendang that lasts, particularly black rendang, which has been 100 percent drained of its water content. And it is proven to last as Minang people carry rendang during their migration. But it depends on what type of rendang and from what part of West Sumatra it came from.
In certain seasons [such as Ramadan and new school years], many women take rendang packages to Tiki (courier service) [station] in Padang, [to be sent to their children or other family members out of town] because it lasts and can be stored for a long time.
Q: Do rendang require special packaging?
A: No sophisticated packaging is needed because it is already dry. Back then it was packed in cans, drenched in oil. Canned rendang for giveaway would also be covered with plastic inside the can, so that the oils do not leak out.
But nowadays, rendang for giveaway is already in dry form like chips, snacks. We can send those types of dry rendang, as the flavor is more acceptable for most people.
However, it depends on where the disaster happens. If it happens in Yogyakarta, rendang is not suitable, because as far as I know, people in West Java, Central Java, prefer rendang at the kalio stage (stewed beef, red with thick soup) with certain level of spiciness.
I seldom see West and Central Javanese people eat the same rendang as Sumatrans.
Q: So there are different stages of rendang? Kalio stage and black stage?
A: [First stage is] gulai or the caramel beef curry, [and then] kalio stew, karonggo red rendang (red like the red ants) and dry, black rendang.
Q: Would you say that the black rendang is more suitable for disaster victims?
A: It could be. And the snack-like dry version.
Kompas.com reported that as of Aug. 26, residents of Bukittinggi city and Agam regency in West Sumatra had collected meat from Idul Adha to make rendang for Lombok quake victims.