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Dendeng refers to thinly sliced dried meat in Indonesian cuisine. It is preserved through a mixture of sugar and spices and dried via a frying process. It is similar to jerky. Dendeng is traditionally produced by using some spices and sugar at various levels. Therefore its flavour is sweet and spicy, and it is stable for several weeks at room temperature.
The creation of dendeng is commonly credited to the Minangkabau people, and their earliest dendeng was made from beef, dried so it would be preserved for days and could be taken along with them when they traveled. The Padang cuisine version—probably the most popular dendeng dish in Indonesia—is called dendeng balado or dendeng batokok, and is a speciality from Padang, West Sumatra, made from beef which is thinly cut then dried and fried before adding chillies and other ingredients.
The most common version of dendeng found in Indonesia is dendeng sapi (beef dendeng), and it usually has a sweetness from the inclusion of caramelized coconut sugar. However, versions made from other exotic meats are also available, especially in Eastern Indonesia. Dendeng rusa (deer dendeng) can be found in the Nusa Tenggara islands and Papua. Indonesian Chinese favor the similar dried pork dish known as bakkwa.
Cocos Malays have been observed preserving many types of fish like jacks and barracudas this way, a similar method is found among the Filipinos called daing.