Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia

Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia
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Popularized by Indonesian domestic workers hankering for a taste of home, their affordability and unique flavor quickly gave the noodles an almost cult-like status among Saudis and expatriates alike. (Supplied)
Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia
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Popularized by Indonesian domestic workers hankering for a taste of home, their affordability and unique flavor quickly gave the noodles an almost cult-like status among Saudis and expatriates alike. (Supplied)
Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia
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Popularized by Indonesian domestic workers hankering for a taste of home, their affordability and unique flavor quickly gave the noodles an almost cult-like status among Saudis and expatriates alike. (Supplied)
Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia
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Popularized by Indonesian domestic workers hankering for a taste of home, their affordability and unique flavor quickly gave the noodles an almost cult-like status among Saudis and expatriates alike. (Supplied)
Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia
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Popularized by Indonesian domestic workers hankering for a taste of home, their affordability and unique flavor quickly gave the noodles an almost cult-like status among Saudis and expatriates alike. (Supplied)
Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia
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Popularized by Indonesian domestic workers hankering for a taste of home, their affordability and unique flavor quickly gave the noodles an almost cult-like status among Saudis and expatriates alike. (Supplied)
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Updated 01 February 2021

Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia

Indomie: how Nunuk Nuraini left a lasting legacy in Saudi Arabia
  • Indonesian instant noodle brand a staple of every Saudi household since the 1980s

RIYADH: In her dying moments, Nunuk Nuraini, probably did not know how many lives she had touched with the creation of something so simple.

But the creator of the world-famous Indomie noodles’ “Mie Goreng” flavor, left a legacy behind that impacted households across Saudi Arabia and further.

Everyone likes to think they will be remembered for something good, a legacy that maybe helped impact lives – in the case of Nuraini that was a flavor that reminded  Indonesian domestic workers of home and they shared this with their employers who now see the noodles as their “go-to comfort food.”

She could not possibly have known how many lives she touched, but on hearing of her death, fans of the now cult instant noodle brand took to social media to express their appreciation for Nuraini and her creation.




Mie goreng, which translates to ‘fried noodle’ in Indonesian, is the most popular flavor of the Indomie instant-noodle brand.

It is not known what caused her untimely death on Jan. 27  - she was just 59-years-old – but that simple creation is a legacy that many Saudi households will remain eternally grateful for.

Ask any Saudi about their favorite brand of instant noodles, and the answer will almost certainly be “Indomie.”

Launched in Indonesia in 1972, the instant noodles made their way to the Kingdom in 1986. Popularized by Indonesian domestic workers hankering for a taste of home, their affordability and unique flavor quickly gave the noodles an almost cult-like status among Saudis and expats alike.

Indomie’s popularity in the Kingdom eventually led to the creation of three factories in Saudi Arabia to meet the product’s high demand. Indomie’s main factory in Jeddah, the largest in the MENA region, produces up to 2 million packs a day in Jeddah alone, since it opened its doors in 1992.

FASTFACT

Launched in Indonesia in 1972, the quick and tasty noodles made their way to the Kingdom in 1986.

Hospital worker Sarah Al-Suqair told Arab News that Indomie had been an integral part of Saudi kitchens for as long as she could remember, and that preparing and eating the noodles didn’t just take place at home either.

“I remember a time when Indomie cups were the craze of the day at school, and there was a lot of swapping of Indomie cups for money, toys, trinkets, video games and movies, or even favors like doing homework,” she said. “It was the most delicious form of contraband in school, especially when the teachers caught wind of the craze and started banning them.”

Al-Suqair also recounted the wild ways in which students would prepare the instant cups at school, with little access to the boiling water necessary to create the soup.

“I remember some of my classmates getting suspended for sneaking into the chemistry lab and trying to use a Bunsen burner to boil water for the noodles. Another favorite trick was for two students to enter the teachers’ lounge, where one of them would distract the teacher with something menial while the other surreptitiously tried to sneak water from their kettle,” she said.

Nutritionist Leila Bakri told Arab News that her No. 1 weakness was probably a heaping bowl of Indomie mie goreng, something she couldn’t resist no matter how unhealthy it was.

“Instant noodles in general aren’t really healthy food, due to the amount of sodium, MSG, and processed ingredients in them. But I really can’t help it. I grew up eating Indomie at home; I think we all did. It’s easy to make, it’s inexpensive, and really filling. I try to make it healthier by adding chicken, veggies, anything fresh. I even tried making my own version, but the truth is, no matter how much I try, I can never recreate the authentic Indomie flavor,” she said.

Indomie as a brand has secured its place even in the Kingdom’s pop culture sphere. The logo has found its way onto merchandise, such as T-shirts and kitchenware, pins and stickers, and even led to the creation of a short-lived mobile game, Indomie Dash, in 2013. As news of the death of Indomie mie goreng pioneer Nunuk Nuraini broke on Wednesday, people from all over the world flocked to social media to post tributes in her honor, with many fixing up a bowl of noodles and sharing photos to celebrate her life.

Mie goreng, which translates to “fried noodle,” is the most popular flavor of the Indomie instant noodle brand. However, the brand has several flavors and varieties available, from spicy fried noodles, to chicken curry, to beef broth, and even a vegetarian option.

Indofood pioneered instant noodles production in Indonesia, and is one of the largest instant noodle producers in the world. It has regional offices across the globe and Indomie is available in more than 80 countries. Indomie has also experimented with local flavors for several special packets in the countries where the brand is most popular. For example, in Nigeria, one of the largest worldwide consumers of Indomie, a Jollof flavor was released, replicating some of the flavors of the West African rice dish.

The limited availability of those flavors has led to a bizarre black market of instant noodles, with criminally overpriced packs making their way onto Ebay. A pack of five mie goreng packets averages at about SR7.45 ($ 1.9), but a box of 20 packets of Indomie Relish, a flavor released in Nigeria, will run you a whopping $70 (SR 262.5) on Ebay.

Indonesian chefs have also utilized Indomie noodles in unusual ways, such as the creation of an Indomie mie goreng ice cream by West Jakarta-based creamery, Holi Ice Cream.

And the craze hasn’t stopped at food itself. Australian gift vendor Grey Lines put out a line of “Mi Goreng Noodle Scented Candles” in 2019, inspired by the much-loved Indomie brand noodle.

However, other countries will be hard-pressed to match the Kingdom’s love for the noodle.

In an interview with Katadata, a business news site, Indofood CEO Franciscus Welirang said Indomie consumers in Saudi Arabia are now in their second generation. Indomie also dominates 95 percent of the instant noodle market in the Kingdom, despite quite a few contenders, according to the Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah.


Stunning French soprano enthralls Jeddah audience

Clara Barbier Serrano performed arias by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Puccini. Her journey into opera began 10 years ago when she was 16 years old. (Photos/ Hayy Jameel)
Clara Barbier Serrano performed arias by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Puccini. Her journey into opera began 10 years ago when she was 16 years old. (Photos/ Hayy Jameel)
Updated 24 January 2022

Stunning French soprano enthralls Jeddah audience

Clara Barbier Serrano performed arias by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Puccini. Her journey into opera began 10 years ago when she was 16 years old. (Photos/ Hayy Jameel)
  • Clara Barbier Serrano performs arias taking audience on a special journey through European history
  • To be in this place in this Maraya concert hall was just incredible, because it’s beautiful; it’s so magical how we can bring this music to the whole world, and then people will somehow connect to it

JEDDAH: The first recipient of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation-Community Jameel Scholarship, French soprano Clara Barbier Serrano, thrilled a Jeddah audience with her stunning performance on the Hayy Jameel stage on Jan. 22.

Serrano performed arias by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Mozart and Puccini, taking the Jeddawi audience on a special journey through European history from the 17th to the 20th centuries, via Italian opera, Mozart and finishing with French songs, accompanied by a pianist to complete a beautiful, intimate recital.
This event is considered the first classical music performance at Hayy Jameel.
In an exclusive interview at Hayy Jameel, Serrano told Arab News that she was lucky to receive the scholarship as it created chances for her, including the opportunity to perform next to Bocelli at different locations throughout the world.
“I had my first performance next to Bocelli after I received the Bocelli-Jameel scholarship, it is really always a pleasure to sing next to him,” she said.
“Now I feel more at ease when we’re on the stage together. I’m more relaxed than before because I know him a little bit. There is very nice energy that he gives on stage.”
The talented young singer performed the day before with Bocelli at one of the Kingdom’s prominent cultural destinations, the award-winning Maraya in AlUla.
“To be in this place in this Maraya concert hall was just incredible, because it’s beautiful; it’s so magical how we can bring this music to the whole world, and then people will somehow connect to it,” she said.
As a child, Serrano said that she did not know much about opera. “My family also didn’t listen to classical music, I was not particularly into it. I was listening more to jazz and things like that.”
Serrano’s journey into opera began 10 years ago when she was 16 years old. “I played the violin as a kid, and I took so many musical classes, singing in the choir, and playing the violin, I got more and more interested in the voice and then my teachers would tell me, you have a nice voice you should think solo, and that’s how I got interested in opera or more in lyrical singing.”
“At the time, I hadn’t seen many operas in my life. And it’s a very particular form of art actually. However, this interest in the voice just led me to practice this kind of singing,” she said.
Serrano said that when an opera is performed on stage a great narrative combination happens. “When we are on stage, it is like a story and a plot, it is like a theater piece being performed in a music style. The technique and the way we use our body to make the sound are very emotional. You have to take people with you in something very personal.”
Serrano received the Andrea Bocelli Foundation-Community Jameel Scholarship in 2020; she was rewarded with a two-year diploma in opera and a chance for her to be fully immersed in the opera world.
“I have been studying opera classical singing for six years, including my four years of bachelor in art and music in Germany, and now I am doing a special kind of postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London,” she said.
Serrano performed with Bocelli in the 2020 “Believe in Christmas” concert at the Teatro Regio di Parma, at the annual Concerto di Natale in Assisi in 2020, and in 2021 at the Teatro di Silenzio in Bocelli’s Tuscan hometown of Lajatico.
The opera scholarship is open to students from around the world. Community Jameel, which supports the scholarship, and Art Jameel, which runs Hayy Jameel, are sister organizations founded by the Jameel family of Saudi Arabia.
The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and Community Jameel scholarship were established in 2019, with the aim of supporting up-and-coming singers to study opera at the Royal College of Music in London. The second Bocelli-Jameel Scholar was awarded to Egyptian talent Laura Mekhail in 2021.


Saudi Arabia and Romania sign defense cooperation agreement

Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs Khalid Al-Bayari and Romanian State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations Simona Cojocaru sign the agreement. (SPA)
Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs Khalid Al-Bayari and Romanian State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations Simona Cojocaru sign the agreement. (SPA)
Updated 25 January 2022

Saudi Arabia and Romania sign defense cooperation agreement

Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs Khalid Al-Bayari and Romanian State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations Simona Cojocaru sign the agreement. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Saudi and Romanian governments signed an agreement for cooperation in the defense field, state-run SPA news agency reported on Monday.
The agreement covered a number of defense fields between the two countries, most notably training, exchanging expertise, technologies, developing communications systems, medical services, military history, archives, publications and museums, among others.
“The agreement comes within the commitment of the two governments to promote and encourage international peace and stability,” the statement said.
The deal was signed by Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense for Executive Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Hussein Al-Bayari and Romanian State Secretary and Chief of the Department for Defense Policy, Planning and International Relations Simona Cojocaru.


Internal Audit Conference to start today in Riyadh

The conference will be held under the patronage of Hussam Al-Anqari. (SPA)
The conference will be held under the patronage of Hussam Al-Anqari. (SPA)
Updated 25 January 2022

Internal Audit Conference to start today in Riyadh

The conference will be held under the patronage of Hussam Al-Anqari. (SPA)
  • The conference will host 30 local and international leaders and experts specialized in internal auditing and control systems

RIYADH: The activities of the 8th annual internal audit conference starts in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Organized by the Saudi Institute of Internal Auditors, the conference will be held under the slogan “The Future of Internal Audit,” under the patronage of Hussam Al-Anqari the president of the General Auditing Bureau and chairman of the board of directors of Institute of Internal Auditors.

The two-day conference aims to review the developments of the internal audit profession and control systems globally, chart the future of the profession according to worldwide developments and enhance the characteristics of flexible leadership for the profession in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

The conference will host 30 local and international leaders and experts specialized in internal auditing and control systems, in addition to a number of representatives of international organizations and companies, led by the president and CEO of the International Institute of Internal Auditors , Anthony Pugliese.

The conference will include dialogue sessions, presentations and specialized workshops, discussing the new trends in internal auditing and risk tools in leading control systems in enterprises, as well as role of governance in crisis management and business continuity and growing demand for internal auditing in the Kingdom.


Saudi Arabia assumes presidency of GCC Commercial Arbitration Center

Saudi Arabia assumes presidency of GCC Commercial Arbitration Center
Updated 25 January 2022

Saudi Arabia assumes presidency of GCC Commercial Arbitration Center

Saudi Arabia assumes presidency of GCC Commercial Arbitration Center
  • Saudi Arabia takes over the presidency from Bahrain

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has assumed the presidency of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Commercial Arbitration Center and will be headed by the Kingdom’s representative Fahd bin Ali Al-Omari, Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
Saudi Arabia takes over the presidency from Bahrain following a decision made during a board of directors meeting in December.
Tariq Yousef Al-Shammari, the center’s secretary-general, said that Al-Omari is regarded as one of the most prominent legal figures in the Kingdom, and holds a leading position in the Federation of Saudi Chambers.
He also served as vice chairman of the disciplinary committee in the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and participated in several research projects on economic systems.
Bahrain’s representative and former president, Sami Zainal, praised the GCC’s accomplishments over the past year and the efforts made by the General Secretariat to achieve the center’s strategic objectives.
Oman’s Ali bin Salem Al Kasbi assumed the position of vice president.


Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia

Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia
Updated 24 January 2022

Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia

Cirque du Soleil to debut major international shows in Saudi Arabia
  • The Kingdom will host a brand new Cirque du Soleil resident show unique to Saudi Arabia
  • The deal also says the two parties will establish a regional Cirque du Soleil academy and office

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture has signed an agreement with the Canadian entertainment group Cirque du Soleil to enable it to put on its renowned creative performances in the Kingdom.
The agreement was signed by Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, minister of culture and chairman of the Theater and Performing Arts Authority, and Gabriel de Alba, co-chairman of Cirque du Soleil, at a meeting held in New York City.
The agreement will see Cirque du Soleil present a number of award-winning circus shows for the first time in the Kingdom, including touring shows such as “The Illusionist,” “Now You See Me,” “Paw Patrol Live,” “Race to Rescue,” “Trolls Live,” and the Blue Man Group’s world tour. The Kingdom will also host a brand new Cirque du Soleil resident show unique to Saudi Arabia.
The agreement also says the two parties will establish a regional Cirque du Soleil academy and office, to provide a curriculum of high standards led by the best global circus experts. Students from all over the Kingdom and abroad will have the opportunity to hone their performance skills through the circus’ international school exchange and artist-in-residence programs, and will also be awarded internationally recognized certificates.

Cirque du Soleil has presented six shows in Saudi Arabia since 2018, the last of which was the “Messi 10” show, which was held in November during the Riyadh Season and shed light on the life of the famous Argentine footballer Lionel Messi.
The agreement comes with the performing arts witnessing greater development in the Kingdom, especially after the establishment of the Theater and Performing Arts Authority, which announced its strategy to further improve the sector last year.
The plan includes better infrastructure for theater and performing arts, providing job opportunities, building partnerships, and providing educational and training opportunities for about 4,500 playwrights and more than 4,000 trainees by 2030.