Rendang is an Indonesian spicy meat dish originating from the Minangkabau region in West Sumatra, Indonesia.[3] It has spread across Indonesia to the cuisines of neighbouring Southeast Asian countries.[1] Rendang is piece of meat — most commonly beefslow cooked and braised in coconut milk and spice mixture,[4][5] well until the liquids evaporate and the meat turns dark brown, tender, caramelized, infused with rich spices.

Rendang daging sapi asli Padang.JPG
Authentic Minangkabau rendang has a dark colour, less liquid content, and served with ketupat (rice dumplings woven in palm leaves)
Alternative namesRandang (in Minangkabau)
CourseMain course
Place of originIndonesia[1]
Region or stateWest Sumatra[2]
Associated national cuisineIndonesia
Serving temperatureHot or room temperature
Main ingredientsMeat (beef, lamb or goat), coconut milk, chilli, ginger, galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, shallot
VariationsChicken rendang, duck rendang, liver rendang, spleen rendang

One of the specific signature dish of Minangkabau culture, rendang is traditionally served at ceremonial occasions to honour guests during festive events; such as wedding feasts and Hari Raya (Eid al-Fitr).[6] Rendang is also traditionally served among the Malay community in Malaysia, and the Maranao in the Philippines.[7] Although culinary experts often describe rendang as a curry,[3][8] the dish is usually not considered as such in Indonesia since it is richer and contains less liquid than is normal for Indonesian curries.[9]

In 2011, an online poll of 35,000 people by CNN International chose rendang as the No. 1 most delicious dish of their World's 50 most delicious foods: Readers' picks list (it was #11 on the original list).[10][11] In 2018, rendang was officially recognised as being one of the 5 national dishes of Indonesia; the others are soto, sate, nasi goreng, and gado-gado.[12]

Composition and cooking methodEdit

A rendang cooking festival in West Sumatra.

Rendang is most often described as slow-cooked meat in coconut milk and spices.[5] The cooking technique flourished because of its role in preserving meat in a tropical climate.[13] Prior to refrigeration technology, this style of cooking enabled preservation of the large amount of meat.[14] Its durability is one of the reason that today, prepackaged rendang are sent as the food aid relieve for natural disaster survivors in Indonesia.[5]

The cut of beef suitable for rendang is lean meat of the rear leg of the cattle; i.e. topside or round beef, which is considered perfect for slow cooking.[15]

Rendang is rich in spices. Along with the main meat ingredient, rendang uses coconut milk and a paste of mixed ground spices, including ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chillis and other spices. This spice mixture is called pemasak in Minangkabau. The spices, garlic, shallot, ginger and galangal used in rendang have antimicrobial properties and serve as natural organic preservatives.[16] If cooked properly, dry rendang can last for as long as four weeks.[8]

Traditionally the term rendang does not refer to a certain type of dish. The verb merendang actually refers to a method of slow cooking; continuously churning the ingredients in a pot or frying pan, on a small fire, until all of the liquids evaporate and the meat is well done.[17] Traditional Padang rendang takes hours to cook. Cooking rendang involves pounding and grinding ingredients as well as slow cooking, and so is time-consuming and requires patience.[18] The meat pieces are slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices until almost all the liquid is gone, allowing the meat to become tender and absorb the condiments. The cooking process changes from boiling to frying, as the liquid evaporates and the coconut milk turns to coconut oil.[19] Cooking the meat until tender with almost all the liquid evaporated requires great care, keeping it from getting burnt. Because of its generous use of numerous spices, rendang is known for having a complex and unique taste.

Rendang is often served with steamed rice, ketupat (a compressed rice cake) or lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo tubes), accompanied with vegetable side dishes such as boiled cassava leaf, cubadak[20] (young jackfruit gulai), cabbage gulai and lado (red or green chilli pepper sambal).

Cultural significanceEdit

Rendang is a dish delivered to elders during traditional Minangkabau ceremonies.

Rendang is revered in Minangkabau culture as an embodiment of the philosophy of musyawarah, discussion and consultation with elders.[21] It has been claimed that the four main ingredients represent Minangkabau society as a whole:[22][23]

  1. The meat (dagiang) symbolises the Niniak Mamak, the traditional clan leaders such as the datuk, the nobles, royalty and revered elders.
  2. The coconut milk (karambia) symbolises the Cadiak Pandai, intellectuals, teachers, poets and writers.
  3. The chilli (lado) symbolises the Alim Ulama, clerics, ulama and religious leaders. The hotness of the chilli symbolises Sharia.
  4. The spice mixture (pemasak) symbolises the rest of Minangkabau society.

In Minangkabau tradition, rendang is a requisite dish for special occasions in traditional Minang ceremonies, from birth ceremonies to circumcision, marriage, Qur'an recitals, and religious festivals such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.[24]


Padang restaurants found across the region have increased the popularity of rendang

Rendang originated in the Sumatran Minangkabau region.[25] One of the earliest written records of rendang is from the early 16th century literary work, Hikayat Amir Hamzah.[26] The making of rendang spreads from Minangkabau region to Mandailing, Riau, Jambi, across the strait to Malacca and Negeri Sembilan, resulting in a variety of rendang traditions.[25]

The popularity of rendang has spread widely from its original domain because of the merantau (migrating) culture of Minangkabau people. Overseas Minangkabau leave their home town to start a career in other Indonesian cities as well as neighbouring countries, and Padang restaurants, Minangkabau eating establishments that are ubiquitous in Indonesian cities, spring up. These Padang restaurants have introduced and popularised rendang and other Padang food dishes across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the wider world.

Andalas University historian, Prof. Gusti Asnan suggests that rendang began to spread across the region when Minangkabau merchants and migrant workers began to trade and migrate to Malacca in the 16th century, "Because the journey through the river waterways in Sumatra took much time, a durable preserved dry rendang is suitable for long journey."[13] The dried Padang rendang is a durable food, good to consume for weeks, even when left at room temperature.[8]


Nasi ramas padang, rendang served with steamed rice, cassava leaf, egg and gulai sauce, served in a Padang restaurant in Indonesia.

In Minangkabau culinary tradition, there are three recognised stages in cooking meat in spicy coconut milk. The dish which results is categorised according to the liquid content of the cooked coconut milk, which ranges from the most wet and soupy to the most dry: Gulai — Kalio – Rendang.[27] The ingredients of gulai, kalio and rendang are almost identical with the exceptions that gulai usually has less red chilli pepper and more turmeric, while rendang has richer spices.

If pieces of meat are cooked in spicy coconut milk and the process stopped right when the meat is done and the coconut milk has reached its boiling point, the dish is called gulai. If the process continues until the coconut milk is partly evaporated and the meat has started to brown, the dish is called kalio. For a traditional dry rendang, the process continues hours beyond this, until the liquid has all but completely evaporated and the colour turns to a dark brown, almost black colour. Thus not only liquid content but also colour indicate which type of rendang is involved: gulai is light yellow, kalio is brown and rendang is very dark brown. Today, one mostly finds only two simpler categories of rendang: either dry or wet.

Dried rendangEdit

Dried beef rendang (center bottom) as part of nasi lemak Medan set meal.

According to Minangkabau tradition, their true rendang is the dry one. Although, unlike crispy dendeng balado spicy jerky, rendang's texture is not actually dry, since it is quite moist and rather oily. Rendang is diligently stirred, attended and cooked for hours until the coconut milk has evaporated, turned into coconut oil, and the meat has absorbed the spices. It is still served for special ceremonial occasions or to honour guests. If cooked properly, dried rendang can last for three to four weeks stored in room temperature and still good to consume.[8] It can even last months stored in a refrigerator, and up to six months if frozen.

Wet rendang or kalioEdit

Most rendang in the Netherlands is actually a kalio because it still contains some liquid

Wet rendang, more accurately identified as kalio, is a type of rendang that is cooked for a shorter period of time and much of the coconut milk liquid has not evaporated. Kalio has quite abundant liquid sauce acquired from cooked coconut milk that partly has turned into spicy oil, which is quite flavourful if consumed with steamed rice. Much of rendang served abroad are actually more akin to kalio or wet version of rendang. If stored at room temperature, kalio lasts less than a week.[6] Kalio usually has a light golden brown colour, paler than dry rendang.


Variations of Rendang
Randang dagiang or beef rendang
Chicken rendang
Randang hati or beef liver rendang
Randang talua kariang or dry egg rendang
Randang maco or salted fish with diced cassava rendang
Randang jariang or jengkol rendang
Randang lokan or clam rendang

Rendang is made from beef (or occasionally beef liver, chicken, mutton, water buffalo, duck, or vegetables like jackfruit or cassava). Chicken or duck rendang also contains tamarind and is usually not cooked for as long as beef rendang.[28]

The original Indonesian-Minangkabau rendang has two categories, rendang darek and rendang pesisir. Rendang darek (‘land rendang’) is an umbrella term for dishes from old regions in mountainous areas of Minangkabau such as Batusangkar, Agam, Lima Puluh Kota, Payakumbuh, Padang Panjang and Bukittinggi. It mainly consists of beef, offal, poultry products, jackfruit, and many other vegetables and animal products which are found in these places. Rendang pesisir (‘coastal rendang’) is from the coastal regions of Minangkabau such as Pariaman, Padang, Painan and Pasaman. Rendang pesisir mainly consists of seafood, although it is not unusual for them to incorporate beef or water buffalo meat in their rendang.

Indonesian Rendang variations:[13][29][30]

  1. Rendang daging: meat rendang. The most common rendang is made from beef, but may also be from water buffalo, goat, mutton or lamb, speciality of Padang.[29]
  2. Rendang ayam: chicken rendang, speciality of Batusangkar and Bukittinggi.[29]
  3. Rendang baluik (rendang belut): eel rendang, speciality of Solok. In the Solok dialect, it is also called ‘randang baluk’.
  4. Rendang cubadak (rendang nangka): jackfruit rendang, speciality of Payakumbuh.
  5. Rendang hati: cow liver rendang, speciality of Minangkabau.[30]
  6. Rendang itiak (rendang bebek): duck rendang, speciality of Bukittinggi and Payakumbuh.[29]
  7. Rendang jamur: mushroom rendang
  8. Rendang jantung pisang: banana blossom rendang, speciality of Minangkabau.
  9. Rendang jariang (rendang jengkol): jengkol rendang, commonly popular in West Sumatran towns, especially Bukittinggi, Payakumbuh, Pasaman and Lubuk Basung.[30][31]
  10. Rendang jo kantang: beef rendang with baby potatoes, speciality of Kapau.
  11. Rendang lokan (rendang tiram): marsh clam rendang, speciality of coastal Minangkabau regions such as Pariaman, Painan and Pesisir Selatan.[30]
  12. Rendang maco: rendang that uses a type of salted fish, specialty of Limapuluh Koto.[29]
  13. Rendang pakis: vegetable rendang made from pakis or fern leaf, specialty of Pasaman.[29]
  14. Rendang paru: cow's lung rendang, speciality of Payakumbuh.
  15. Rendang pucuak ubi (rendang daun singkong): cassava leaf rendang, speciality of Minangkabau.
  16. Rendang runtiah (rendang suir): shredded beef or poultry rendang, speciality of Payakumbuh.
  17. Rendang tahu: tofu rendang, a vegetarian variant that uses tofu beancurd instead of meat.[32]
  18. Rendang talua (rendang telur): egg rendang, speciality of Payakumbuh.[29]
  19. Rendang tempe: tempe rendang, a vegetarian variant that uses tempeh soybean cake instead of meat.[33]
  20. Rendang tongkol: mackerel tuna rendang, speciality of coastal Minangkabau regions.

Today, rendang is quite widespread in Indonesia, owed mainly by the proliferation of Padang restaurants in the country, which led to popularity and adoption of rendang into the kitchens of contemporary Indonesian households of various ethnic backgrounds. This might led to development of variants with slightly altered tastes to accommodate regional preferences. Other ethnic groups in Indonesia also have adopted a version of rendang into their daily diet. For example, in Java, the rendang—aside from the Padang variety sold in Padang restaurants—tend to be wet, slightly sweeter and less spicy to accommodate Javanese tastes.

In other countriesEdit

Beef rendang with braised vegetables curry and steamed rice served in Malaysia, examine the abundant liquid of wet rendang.

Outside of its native land in Minangkabau lands of West Sumatra, rendang is also known in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, southern Thailand, and the southern Philippines.[2][7] Most Malaysian rendang is more like kalio, lighter in colour and taste when compared with its Minangkabau counterpart. Malaysian rendang has several variants, such as the Kelantanese rendang and the Negri Sembilan rendang. Malaysian styles of rendang are typically cooked for shorter periods and use kerisik (toasted grated coconut) to thicken the spice,[8] instead of stirring over a low heat for many hours to evaporate the coconut milk as Indonesian rendang requires. Nonetheless, in Malaysia, the rendang Tok variant, found in the state of Perak, is a dry one. In Singapore, there is a vegetarian or vegan rendang, that uses mock meat made of mushroom and other plant-based ingredients to substutite the real meat.[34]

In the Philippines, rendang is most commonly associated with the cuisine of the Muslim Maranao people of Mindanao. It differs from the Indonesian versions in the use of the native spice mix palapa as well as the addition of muscovado sugar.[35][36][37]

Through colonial ties the Dutch are also familiar with rendang and often serve the wet kalio version in the Netherlands—usually as part of a rijsttafel. Indonesian dishes, including rendang, are served in numbers of Indonesian restaurants in Dutch cities, especially Den Haag, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.[38]

Fusion rendangEdit

Spaghetti rendang sold in 7-Eleven convenience store, Jakarta.

Rendang bumbu is sometimes used as the base of other fusion dishes. Some chefs in Indonesian sushi establishments for example, have developed a Japanese-Indonesian fusion cuisine with recipes for krakatau roll, gado-gado roll, rendang roll and gulai ramen.[39] Several chefs and food industries have experimented with fusing rendang with sandwiches, burgers and spaghetti. Burger King at one time served their take on a rendang-flavoured burger in their Singapore and Indonesia chains for a limited promotion period.[40][41] Spaghetti with rendang could also be found in 7-Eleven convenience stores across Indonesia.

Rendang is also a popular flavour in Indonesian instant noodle variants, such as the Indomie Goreng Rendang.[42]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Taylor, Jean Gelman (2003). Indonesia: Peoples and Histories. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp. 46. ISBN 0-300-10518-5.
  2. ^ a b "Should chicken in rendang curry be crispy? Masterchef U.K. sparks debate". Canoe. Associated Press. 3 April 2018. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 5 April 2018. The curry (rendang), which originates from West Sumatra in Indonesia, is popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and southern Thailand.
  3. ^ a b Owen, Sri (1993). The Rice Book. Doubleday. ISBN 0-7112-2260-6.
  4. ^ Holzen, Heinz Von (15 September 2014). A New Approach to Indonesian Cooking. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. ISBN 978-981-4634-95-3.
  5. ^ a b c Kautsar, Muthi Achadiat (2 September 2018). "Why beef rendang is the right food to send to natural disaster victims". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  6. ^ a b Lipoeto, Nur I; Agus, Zulkarnain; Oenzil, Fadil; Masrul, Mukhtar; Wattanapenpaiboon, Naiyana; Wahlqvist, Mark L (February 2001). "Contemporary Minangkabau food culture in West Sumatra, Indonesia". Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Blackwell Synergy. 10 (1). doi:10.1046/j.1440-6047.2001.00201.x. PMID 11708602.
  7. ^ a b Thomas, Amanda. "Regional Cuisine of Mindanao". Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e "William Wongso: Duta Rendang di Dunia Kuliner Internasional". Indonesia Proud. 23 November 2010.
  9. ^ "Arti Dibalik Masakan Rendang" (in Indonesian). Rendang Naniko. 30 April 2014. Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  10. ^ Tim Cheung (7 September 2011). "Your pick: World's 50 best foods". CNNGo. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  11. ^ "World's 50 most delicious foods". CNNGo. Cable News Network. 21 July 2011. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  12. ^ Media, Kompas Cyber. "Kemenpar Tetapkan 5 Makanan Nasional Indonesia, Ini Daftarnya". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  13. ^ a b c "Inilah Rendang Minang Juara dunia itu". Urang 12 September 2011. Archived from the original on 22 April 2014.
  14. ^ Brissenden, Rosemary (2007). Southeast Asian Food, Classic and modern dishes from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Periplus. p. 102. ISBN 0794604889. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  15. ^ Cornish, Richard (22 July 2019). "The best cuts of beef for slow-cooked dishes". Good Food. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  16. ^ Winiati Pudji Rahayu (2000). "Aktivitas Antimikroba Bumbu Masakan Tradisional Hasil Olahan Industri Terhadap Bakteri Patogen Perusak" (in Indonesian). Retrieved 20 September 2015. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ "Rendang Ternyata Bukan Nama Masakan". 20 July 2012.
  18. ^ "Rendang Padang, Ikon Masakan Indonesia Hadir di Pameran Wisata Berlin".
  19. ^ "Rendang, Hidangan Terlezat di Dunia". Female
  20. ^ "Gulai Cubadak | Online Indonesian Food and Recipes".
  21. ^ Heni Minata (12 January 2012). "Arti Masakan Rendang Minangkabau" (in Indonesian). Kompasiana. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  22. ^ Pipiet Tri Noorastuti, Febry Abbdinnah (21 September 2011). "Kisah di Balik Kelezatan Rendang". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  23. ^ "Rendang Minangkabau, Warisan Leluhur yang Mendunia". Kebudayaan Indonesia (in Indonesian). 7 August 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  24. ^ Albala, Ken (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 109. ISBN 9780313376269. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  25. ^ a b Brissenden, Rosemary (2007). Southeast Asian Food: Classic and Modern Dishes from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Tuttle Publishing. p. 189. ISBN 9780794604882. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  26. ^ Ahmad, A. Samad (3 April 1987). "Hikayat Amir Hamzah". Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kementerian Pelajaran, Malaysia – via Google Books.
  27. ^ Dian Kelana (17 March 2010). "Gulai, Kalio, atau Rendang?" (in Indonesian). Kompasiana. Archived from the original on 14 September 2014. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  28. ^ Owen, Sri (1999). Indonesian Regional Food and Cookery. Frances Lincoln Ltd. ISBN 0-7112-1273-2.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g Minangkabaunews. "Inilah 11 Ragam Rendang Minang yang Patut Diketahui - Minangkabaunews". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  30. ^ a b c d (14 January 2016). "11 Ragam Rendang yang Patut Diketahui". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  31. ^ Media, Kompas Cyber. "Membuat Rendang Jengkol yang Nikmat". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  32. ^ "Vegetarian Rendang Tofu Recipe". Vegetarian Recipes and Cooking. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  33. ^ "Resep Rendang Tempe - Rasanya Tak Kalah Lezat Dengan Rendang Daging". Tribun Pontianak (in Indonesian). Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  34. ^ hermes (23 July 2017). "Don't mock this vegetarian rendang". The Straits Times. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  35. ^ Fenix, Micky. "Kitchens of Mindanao: Durian custard, 'piyaparan a manok,' Tausug 'tiyula'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  36. ^ "Popular Muslim Cuisine and Delicacies in CdeO". About Cagayan de Oro. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  37. ^ "How to Cook Beef Rendang of The Maranao People". Lyn Sojor. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  38. ^ Awesome Amsterdam. "A guide to Dutch-Indonesian food". Expatica. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  39. ^ "New: Suntiang, When Padang Marries Japanese Food". Culinary Bonanza. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2015.
  40. ^ "BK Doubles Rendang". Burger King.[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ Rian Farisa (17 September 2013). "Flavor Updates: Rendang Burger (Burger King Indonesia)". The Gastronomy Aficionado.
  42. ^ "Indomie Goreng Rendang". Indomie. Archived from the original on 29 April 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2018.

External linksEdit