Ifemelu wanted to lie, to say that she cooked and loved cooking, but she remembered Aunty Uju’s words. “No, ma,” she said. “I don’t like cooking. I can eat Indomie noodles day and night.”
Huh? The cheaper-than-chips noodles found in every supermarket and convenience store in Indonesia? Literary stardom on page 85 of Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s Americanah, my current bedside read? The words are spoken by Ifemelu in Nigeria. Consider me intrigued.
We have a bit of an Indomie thing going. They entered our life comparatively recently when a friend recommended the deliciousness of the Balinese sambal matah flavour. Now every shopping trip sees several packets added to the supplies. And we have branched out trying Rendang and Rica Rica among other variations. An egg here, a bit of chicken there, maybe some greens and hey presto ‘noodles day and night’. Well, maybe breakfast once a week or a quick lunch, anyway. They aren’t exactly packed full of nutrients, have more MSG than is desirable but, oh mie – delicious.
We have seen them on the shelves in Australia. One variety only, the standard mie goreng (fried noodles) and a little dearer to buy, but we have never considered them a worldwide phenomenon.
Who knew? Sold in 14 countries as well as Indonesia: Malaysia, Timor Leste, Australia, NZ, Egypt, Netherlands, Kenya, China, Japan, US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Nigeria, which has its own noodle manufacturing plant, the largest in Africa. Indomie is a household name in many countries it seems.
With 38 flavours available, we have some trying out to do.
But wait, there’s more. Australian singer Courtney Barnett has composed a hymn to noodles – ‘Three Packs a Day’. Don’t believe the lies on the Interwebs. She’s not talking ramen. She’s talking noodles. Specifically Indomie noodles. Rolling Stone magazine has it at number 24 of the 50 best songs of 2016, no less.
Nor was she the first. Not so much a hymn, more a rap. J20 presents Indomie
Literature, indie, rap but the noodles post-date Warhol, otherwise I feel sure he’d have immortalised them. So here is my Prisma app variation of our kitchen bench.
Indomie! Beloved noodle of the world.