Singaporean Café Apologises After Being Accused Of Disrespecting Indonesian Nasi Padang

The Ritual Café came under fire after they promoted their version of the traditional Indonesian rice dish with an insensitive caption on Instagram last week.

Cover image via The Ritual & (Instagram)

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Singaporean café The Ritual came under fire after claiming to serve nasi padang "without the nasties" in an Instagram post last week

According to Malay Mail, the caption of the post invited customers to enjoy the restaurant's nasi padang as it comes "without the nasties" and that anybody can indulge in the "guilt-free" dish.

The café added that the dish is made without monosodium glutamate (MSG) and additives.

They also claimed that customers could taste the "Indonesian flavours bursting forth minus the guilt".

The post with the insensitive caption has since been taken down from the café's official Instagram page.

Nasi padang is a well-known dish from the Minangkabau cuisine. It originates from the West Sumatra province of Padang in Indonesia.

The dish is made up of steamed rice served with an array of pre-cooked side dishes.

The criticism online mainly stemmed from the phrase "without the nasties" as netizens — from Indonesia and Singapore alike — did not appreciate the implication the word "nasties" had on the make-up of the dish. 

Malay Mail reported that Indonesians called out the restaurant on its social media for presenting one of their country's most well-known dishes in a negative light.

Following the backlash, the restaurant posted an apology through its Instagram Stories

The apology on the café's Instagram stories clarified that it did not intend to put anyone or any culture down.

Acknowledging that they had removed the earlier post, the café — which champions people to follow healthy rituals for a balanced lifestyle — explained that they had done so as they don't want to upset anyone or spread any negativity.

"We are definitely not implying that the cultural dish itself is nasty," they stressed.

"We were just letting our own guests and friends know what we did with our rendition without MSG, artificial flavouring, less oil and no additives (unlike most commercial places do for Asian cuisines)."

The café contended that the word "nasties" was intended for any ingredients that may be bad for health, but not for the cultural dish.

"But again, we shouldn't have written it this way that gives room for misunderstanding and thus create tension," the apology statement read.

Image via SAYS

The café posted another statement on Instagram over the weekend, acknowledging the misunderstanding and apologising for offending netizens

"We love nasi padang and we want to celebrate our love for it with our own interpretation to cater to friends and guests with dietary restrictions," the statement read.

The Ritual also took the opportunity to thank those who have come forward to express their views on the issue.

They recognised that they have a lot more to learn and promised that they would be more mindful in the way they communicate in the future.

Following the apologies, netizens reiterated their hope that the café understood what mistake was made

Image via Instagram
Image via Instagram
Image via Instagram

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