Similar to curry, Rendang is traditionally made from beef, slowly simmered with coconut milk and spices till the meat is tender and the gravy has been absorbed. Other meats that can be frequently prepared as Rendang include chicken and lamb. Lemongrass, galangal, garlic, turmeric, ginger and chillies are some of the spices that are used, pounded into a Rempah (spice mixture) which is then used to coat the beef. Coconut milk is then added and it is left to stew for a few hours. However, many people believe that it tastes even better if left overnight.
Originally served during ceremonial occasions such as Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or to honour guests, Rendang is now eaten all year round. It is rare to find Rendang on its own, as it is often eaten with a variety of dishes in Nasi Padang. These dishes include Ikan Bakar (barbequed fish), Ayam Goreng (fried chicken) and Sayur Lodeh (vegetable curry), together with rice, Ketupat (rice dumpling) or Lemang (glutinous rice roasted in bamboo sticks).
The Nasi Padang belt of Kandahar Street, located at the historic Kampong Glam area, houses numerous Nasi Padang stalls which are known for their tender and aromatic Rendang. These include Sabar Menanti and Warong Nasi Pariaman, two extremely popular restaurants in Singapore. Other Indonesian restaurants serving authentic Rendang, albeit in a more modern setting, include Garuda Padang and The Rice Table, both located along Orchard Road.