A local cafe in Singapore called The Ritual has apologised after receiving criticism from social media users on Instagram for their comments about nasi Padang.
The uproar relates to the new product at the café called “Nasi Padang without nasties”, seeming to imply that diners can enjoy nasi Padang without guilt.
The cafe, which offers fresh bread and healthy foods, is being called out for being creating a negative image of and being disrespectful towards the cultural heritage of nasi Padang, which is traditional Indonesian food.
In a now-deleted photo posted on their official account, The Ritual called customers free to eat traditional dishes “guilt-free“.
According to The Ritual, their version of nasi Padang has no MSG, no additives, and only uses Himalayan salt. Therefore, people can “enjoy the taste of Indonesia without guilt”. Their version of the food consists of lemongrass chicken, beef or a “Patty Impossible”; fried potatoes; eggplant balado; eggs; and either quinoa or rice.
Instagram users have taken offense to The Ritual’s portrayal of the food, claiming they are being culturally insensitive.
Not long after the initial post and subsequent reaction, the cafe apologised on their Instagram Story. They also clarified that this “nasi Padang without nasties” wasn’t intended to demean anyone or any culture.
Instead, they said the food was created because the cafe really likes nasi Padang and wanted to create a “healthier version”. They claim they want to make their own version without MSG, additives, artificial flavourings, and less oil.
“We shouldn’t have written like this, which leaves room for misunderstanding and thus creates tension. Because we clearly love and value original dishes so much that we want to recreate them in our own creative interpretations to be healthy for everyone to enjoy,” wrote The Ritual.