PETALING JAYA, May 31 — A Singapore cafe has apologised for claiming to serve nasi padang “without the nasties” in a now-deleted Instagram post.
The Ritual, located on Bukit Timah Road, posted a statement on their Instagram over the weekend admitting that the choice of words they used to refer to a “locally-inspired” dish was “inappropriate” and “insensitive.”
“It failed to articulate our original intentions and our respect for the culture and heritage of nasi padang as a dish.
“It did not align with our team’s values and we made the decision to remove it early this morning.
“We are extremely sorry for causing any hurt, anger, or offence,” read the statement.
The Ritual previously made an Instagram post inviting customers to enjoy its nasi padang “without the nasties” and indulge in a “guilt-free” treat.
The caption went on to explain that the dish is made without monosodium glutamate (MSG) and additives, and that diners could taste “Indonesian flavours bursting forth minus the guilt.”
Indonesians then converged on the cafe’s social media to call it out for presenting one of the nation’s most iconic foods in a negative light.
The Ritual’s apology has not gone down well either and many have continued to criticise the cafe for its handling of the situation.
“Yeah, the nasties being MSG, colouring, etc... real nasi padang doesn’t have any of those, so which nasi padang have you been eating that contains such things?
“I hope you understand why this really was an issue, it’s the implication (more) than anything else,” Instagram user @jhotan_ commented.
Another user also slammed the cafe for failing to do proper research on the culture and cuisine it was lifting its recipes from.
“You can stop adopting any other culture you’re unsure of and the first step is to take the Nasi Padang off your menu, ‘cause you don’t deserve to serve that in your restaurant,” said @pandazhar.
The nasi padang dish is still available on The Ritual’s e-menu for SGD21 (RM65) at the time of writing.
The cafe initially responded to the backlash on their Instagram Stories and said that there was no intention to put anyone’s culture down with the post.
The management also claimed that they simply wanted to create a “healthier” version of nasi padang so people with dietary restrictions could savour it as well.
Nasi padang is one of the best-known dishes of Minangkabau cuisine and hails from the West Sumatra province of Indonesia.
It consists of rice with a variety of side dishes which are typically put on display in restaurant windows in towering arrangements of stacked up plates and bowls.