British cooking show Masterchef has angered netizens in Malaysia and Indonesia over its elimination of a contestant because her chicken rendang “wasn’t crispy”.
Zaleha Kadir Olpin, a Malaysian-born British resident who cooked the Southeast Asian nation’s signature nasi lemak during the quarter finals of the BBC reality show, was criticised by several of the judging panel for the chicken rendang component of the coconut rice dish.
“The chicken skin isn’t crispy, it can’t be eaten,” said Gregg Wallace, a TV presenter and one of the show’s judges. “All the sauce is on the skin I can’t eat.”
“I think the chicken rendang on the side is a mistake,” added Australian celebrity chef John Torode. “It hasn’t had enough time to cook down and become lovely and soft and fall apart. Instead the chicken itself is just tough and it’s not really flavoursome.”
“I had really worked a lot. Really worked hard today and I thought they would like it,” said Zaleha, who was later eliminated from the competition. She described being “gutted” by the judges’ decision.
Aspects of culinary and cultural heritage are often a point of contention between Indonesians and Malaysians, with rendang no exception.
But Zaleha’s elimination drew the ire of both Malaysians and Indonesians online.“Chicken Rendang and Crispy in the same sentence. White people are insane y’all,” tweeted one netizen.
“Bonding over rendang injustice is peak ASEAN culture,” remarked another. Many criticised the two judges for being ignorant and even colonial in their criticism of Zaleha’s dish.
Source: Asian Correspondent
Photo courtesy of WorldofBuzz