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.


Why this retired engineer is a ‘model’ Saudi citizen

The models include typical houses and traditional shops that served fava beans, barbecued meat, kebabs and mabshoor, a traditional Arab dish of bread in a meat or vegetable broth. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
The models include typical houses and traditional shops that served fava beans, barbecued meat, kebabs and mabshoor, a traditional Arab dish of bread in a meat or vegetable broth. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
Updated 04 August 2021

Why this retired engineer is a ‘model’ Saudi citizen

The models include typical houses and traditional shops that served fava beans, barbecued meat, kebabs and mabshoor, a traditional Arab dish of bread in a meat or vegetable broth. (Photos/Huda Bashatah)
  • Abdul Aziz Taher Al-Hebshi aims to preserve the history of social and cultural life in Saudi Arabia
  • Makkah in those days was a beacon for writers, poets and scientists

MAKKAH: A Saudi agricultural engineer is spending his retirement years helping to preserve the Kingdom’s architectural and cultural history — in the form of extremely accurate models of important buildings and sites in Jeddah and Makkah.

Now Abdul Aziz Taher Al-Hebshi has turned his house in Jeddah’s Al-Rawdah neighborhood into an exhibition space to showcase his models, which represent a fascinating record of daily social and cultural life in the cities in the early-to-mid 20th century.
A good example of this is his model of a “writer’s cafe” in the Misfalah neighborhood of Makkah that was once popular with writers, intellectuals and poets. Through it, he said, he aims to immortalize the role these figures played in the development of literature in Saudi Arabia and the country’s cultural history.
“Knowledgeable people told me that the cafe where Makkah’s writers, poets and intellectuals used to go to was Saleh Abdulhay Cafe, located next to Bajrad Cafe,” 72-year-old Al-Hebshi told Arab News. “Similar cafes were found throughout Makkah’s Misfalah neighborhood in the past.”
He said culture and literature thrived in Makkah in those days, along with the study of science and the quest for knowledge. The city was therefore a beacon for writers, poets and scientists, and the Saleh Abdulhay Cafe was one of the places where they could gather for intellectual and cultural discussions.
“Among the cultural and intellectual figures that used to go to the writer’s cafe … was the Saudi Minister of Culture Mohammed Abdu Yamani,” he said, adding that such venues were the country’s first literary and cultural forums, where people could gather to discuss literary and intellectual issues.
With his models and exhibition, Al-Hebshi said he wants to depict and preserve this history of day-to-day life and culture in Makkah and Jeddah in days gone by. In addition to the cafe, his models include typical houses and traditional shops that served fava beans, barbecued meat, kebabs and mabshoor, a traditional Arab dish of bread in a meat or vegetable broth.
In particular, he said he wants to immortalize the lives of the intellectuals and writers of the era by documenting their daily lives, the ways in which people interacted with them and how neighborhoods such as Misfalah developed as important cultural centers.
So far he has spent three years building his models of cafes, shops, houses and public squares. He has completed four and is working on a fifth. The task requires hard work and patience, he said. For example, it requires great effort to accurately recreate in miniature the rawasheen, the elaborately patterned wooden window frames found in old buildings in Makkah and Jeddah that maximize natural light and air flow. Great accuracy is required throughout the model making process when it comes to the sizes, dimensions and scale.
“One meter in real life is 10 centimeters in the models,” Al-Hebshi said, which represents a scale of one-to-10. “This measure seeks to maintain, as much as possible, the space’s real dimensions.”
The contents of rooms must also be in scale with the building and each other, he explained: “A bottle of Coca-Cola cannot be bigger than a watermelon and so on.” These are all important details in his models, he added, which ensure they are accurate and consistent.
Given the incredible detail and quality of the models, you would be forgiven for thinking Al-Hebshi is a trained carpenter; in fact he is an enthusiastic amateur with a true passion for the craft. Such is his dedication that even hand injuries — and the need for surgery after damaging a finger with a drill — have not kept him from his work for long.

HIGHLIGHT

Abdul Aziz Taher Al-Hebshi says he was inspired by Jeddah’s Old Town and its magnificent Hijazi buildings with rawasheen, beautifully crafted doors, ornate engravings and delicate details, along with the beauty of its landscape and old streets.

He said his model making began after he found some tools that had been abandoned in a carpentry shop, and for materials he used wood and discarded kaftans he found in stores he shopped at. Wood cutting requires great skill, he added, and while he makes most parts of his models, he said he imports some items from abroad to ensure the highest levels of accuracy. For example he buys miniature signs advertising popular international brands such as Pepsi, Miranda and 7-Up, which are difficult to recreate through woodworking.
Al-Hebshi was director of the Agricultural Bank in Jeddah when he was forced to retire in 2006 as a result of a back injury, and he found himself wondering what he could do with his time. A few years earlier he had developed an interest in woodworking but the demands of his job left him with little time to pursue it. A friend who was aware of this suggested he do something with the wood from a large felled neem tree that had been dumped in Jeddah.
“That tree turned out to be the start of me professionally building models,” he said. He added that he was inspired by Jeddah’s Old Town and its magnificent Hijazi buildings with rawasheen, beautifully crafted doors, ornate engravings and delicate details, along with the beauty of its landscape and old streets. The Saudi leadership has put a special focus on the area to showcase its history and splendor and Al-Hebshi said that this has helped him research his detailed designs.
He added that he welcomes all those who wish to visit his house, in Al-Rawdah neighborhood 3, to see his models. He plans to build more to add to his incredible picture of past life in the Kingdom, and the people who helped the country become the nation it is.


Saudi anti-extremism initiative leads the world, says UN expert

Saudi anti-extremism initiative leads the world, says UN expert
Updated 04 August 2021

Saudi anti-extremism initiative leads the world, says UN expert

Saudi anti-extremism initiative leads the world, says UN expert
  • Head of UN Center for Counter-Terrorism ‘impressed by the pioneering research work’ carried out by Kingdom’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology
  • Center’s Gether2 initiative, which aims to raise awareness of the risks of extremism among people with hearing disabilities, singled out for particular praise

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) is a “world leader” in pioneering work to prevent and counter violent extremism, according to Jehangir Khan, director of the UN Center for Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT).

“Etidal is a world leader in this field and we are proud of it,” he said during a visit by a UNCCT delegation to Etidal’s headquarters in Riyadh on Tuesday. “We are very pleased … to be able to work closely with the center.

“We are impressed by the pioneering research work you are doing in this field. We have to follow your example on matters in which we need to cooperate.”

Khan in particular highlighted Eitdal’s Gether2 initiative, which aims to raise awareness among people with hearing disabilities of the risks of extremism, saying he had never seen any other initiatives designed to reach people with disabilities in this way.

“I congratulate you on this project and we would like to know more about it,” he said. “As you know, we in the United Nations have specific agencies that deal with matters of concern to people with disabilities from a humanitarian side only, unlike your side, where I think we should see the whole picture.”

The UN delegation was welcomed to the center by Etidal’s secretary-general, Mansour Al-Shammari. During the visit the two sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation in their efforts to prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism.

The delegation also learned about the center’s monitoring and analysis mechanisms, the techniques it use and the models it is creating and developing, as well as the most prominent advanced technologies in the field.


Saudi Arabia to take part in G20 digital economy event

Photo/Shutterstock
Photo/Shutterstock
Updated 04 August 2021

Saudi Arabia to take part in G20 digital economy event

Photo/Shutterstock
  • Saudi Arabia has realized qualitative achievements in this regard, mainly the unanimous approval of countries on a roadmap to measure and define the digital economy

TRIESTE: Saudi Arabia is taking part in a G20 digital economy event on Aug. 5.
The G20 Digital Economy Ministers Meeting will discuss key issues related to digital transformation ahead of a final communique that will be endorsed by heads of states and governments at the Rome Summit.
It is an extension of the role played by Saudi Arabia during its G20 presidency last year. The Kingdom aims to focus on empowering people, protecting the planet and forming new horizons.
Saudi Arabia has realized qualitative achievements in this regard, mainly the unanimous approval of countries on a roadmap to measure and define the digital economy, in addition to adopting artificial intelligence principles.
Communication and Information Minister Abdullah Al-Swaha is scheduled to take part in the event.
The G20 aims to take the lead in ensuring a swift international response to the COVID-19 pandemic – able to provide equitable, worldwide access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines – while building up resilience to future health-related shocks.
Each G20 presidency includes the organization of ministerial meetings on each of the main focus areas of the forum. These meetings are important opportunities to discuss and further develop issues of international relevance.


Students in Saudi Arabia urged to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Students can access the vaccine appointment service via the Sehhaty or Tawakkalna apps. (SPA)
Students can access the vaccine appointment service via the Sehhaty or Tawakkalna apps. (SPA)
Updated 04 August 2021

Students in Saudi Arabia urged to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Students can access the vaccine appointment service via the Sehhaty or Tawakkalna apps. (SPA)
  • Only fully jabbed pupils allowed to return to the classroom

JEDDAH: Students aged 12-18 are being urged to book their first COVID-19 jab, with the Ministry of Health saying that appointments were available for them.

The appointment allocation follows the Kingdom’s announcement that only fully jabbed pupils could return to the classroom when the new school year begins.
Students must receive the first shot before Aug. 8 in order to have the second before the first semester of the new academic year. The specified period between the two doses is three weeks.
They can access the appointment service through the Sehhaty or Tawakkalna apps.
The ministry also said that a quarter of the Kingdom’s population was fully vaccinated. The total number of people who have been jabbed in the country is 28,033,852, including 1,488,193 who are elderly.

FASTFACTS

• Saudi Arabia reported 1,075 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.

• The death toll has risen to 8,270 following 11 more virus-related fatalities.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reported 11 more COVID-19-related deaths, taking the death toll to 8,270. There were 1,075 new cases reported, increasing the total number of infections to 528,952. There are 10,575 active cases, of which 1,433 are critical.
Of the newly recorded cases, 209 were in Makkah, 188 were in the Eastern Province, 184 were in Riyadh, and 70 were in Madinah. There have been a further 1,113 recoveries, bringing this total to 510,107.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted more 25.33 million PCR tests, with 110,254 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made on Sehhaty.
In Hafr Al-Batin governorate, Tetamman clinics have provided services to 75,310 people so far through three clinics: Hafr Al-Batin Central Hospital, Qaisumah General Hospital, and the Abu Mousa Alashari Health Center.


Efforts to fight global terrorism discussed

Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Falah al-Hajraf gestures during a news conference at the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021. (REUTERS)
Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Falah al-Hajraf gestures during a news conference at the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021. (REUTERS)
Updated 04 August 2021

Efforts to fight global terrorism discussed

Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Falah al-Hajraf gestures during a news conference at the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) 41st Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia January 5, 2021. (REUTERS)
  • The council focuses on enhancing capacities of member states and private organizations in preventing and mitigating the misuse of technological developments by terrorists and extremists

RIYADH: Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajjraf, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), met with Jehangir Khan, director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT).
During the meeting, they reviewed the efforts of the GCC in combating terrorism.
Al-Hajjraf affirmed the council’s continuous support for the UN in combating crimes of terrorism and extremism, in addition to strengthening their cooperation while achieving security and peace in the world.
A day earlier, Khan met with Dr. Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the Royal Court and supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief).
The UN Security Council has adopted additional resolutions, often under Chapter VII, to address new avenues of terrorist financing, including by targeting the nexus between terrorists and organized crime groups and tackling fundraising through kidnapping for ransom.
The council focuses on enhancing capacities of member states and private organizations in preventing and mitigating the misuse of technological developments by terrorists and extremists.