Former footballer fires up fried rice furore

Retired footballer Rio Ferdinand, who was in town over the weekend for the Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, got fried by Indonesian netizens after he implied that nasi goreng is a Singaporean dish.

On Saturday, the former Manchester United defender posted on social media a photo of himself with a plate of the dish in his hotel room with the caption "Nasi goreng lunch.. Keeping it local in #Singapore".

The post, which received more than 1,400 retweets and 7,000 likes on Facebook, provoked a string of reactions from Indonesians who claimed the fried rice dish as theirs.

These included comments such as "If you want the real nasi goreng and satay... Please come to Indonesia", and "there's no 'nasi' and 'goreng' in Singapore".

Responding to these comments, others pointed out that fried rice is a dish common to numerous countries in the region, including Thailand and Malaysia, under a variety of names.

Rio Ferdinand posted on social media a photo of himself with the dish in his hotel room.
Rio Ferdinand posted on social media a photo of himself with the dish in his hotel room. PHOTO: TWITTER/RIO FERDINAND

Posted one netizen: "Nasi goreng not only from S'pore, Indonesia but also from Malaysia. Indonesia should claim haze is from their country."

Others suggested that Ferdinand head to hawker centres for a "real taste" of local cuisine.

The 37-year-old former English international player did not respond to any of the tweets.

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'Former footballer fires up fried rice furore'. Print Edition | Subscribe