What do you get when you send your husband out on a mission in Singapore to find something to eat for your picky American kids? A bag full of McDonald's chicken nuggets, fries, and a very special Beef Rendang Burger. This folks, is why I love my husband. Some men bring their wives flowers or trinkets, but mine brings me Rendang Burgers to share.
For those of you that don't know, Rendang is a spicy meat dish popular in Indonesia and some of the surrounding countries. The meat is slow cooked for a long period of time in a bath of coconut milk, onion, chili, lemon grass, and host other ingredients. The meat gets soft and absorbs the flavor of the ingredients as the bath slowly boils down to almost gravy consistency.
My husband loves Rendang and so it's actually a dish that I have made pretty often. I will confess, however, that I cheat and use a Munik seasoning mix and just add additional fresh ingredients while cooking. Don't worry, my Mom-in-Law, who is an excellent cook, told me I could cheat. She actually introduced me to seasoning packets years ago. Indonesia food takes a notoriously long time to make from scratch.
Rendang is delicious, but the heat from the chili can be a bit over powering to those of us who do not have cast iron stomachs and flame retardant mouths. My husband's fined tuned body can eat it all day long, but my weak American constitution can only handle a few savory bites before I am begging for some milk and an antacid chaser.
Back to the Rendang Burger from McDonald's. This burger did not look quite as appetizing as real Rendang. But still, when in Rome Singapore.
Umm...nope it doesn't taste like real Rendang at all. No heat. No spiciness. We were disappointed. The burger had a strong kaffir lime flavor and was actually a little sweet. I would say the meat tasted like a badly executed empal goreng (a sweet fried beef dish). Better luck next time Mickey D. While I wish you would bring your spicy tomato ketchup to your U.S. franchises, you can keep the Rendang burger over there.