When we first arrived in Palembang and walked about the local shops, I couldn't help noticing that many had the entire store front covered by a colorful assortment of these plastic sachets. My initial thought was that the society that I thought was very conservative was actually extremely open about promoting safe sex and these were all condoms.
Upon closer inspection, I realized that they were little sachets of shampoos, teas and MSG (monosodium glutamate). I recall a conversation I had with our old driver about him not using shampoo each time he washes his hair. He said it was too expensive and he usually just used soap or water. So, I guess these little sachets are for special occasions.
The teas are mostly just plain but there are also some flavored teas there. I'm not a tea (or coffee) drinker so I can't really comment on what they taste like.
And finally the MSG. Some of the sachets there are just pure MSG while others are pre-mixes for the various Indonesian foods. Some are marinades while others are just the quick way of making their traditional meals without the tedious preparations. Either way, the main ingredient in there is MSG. The food here is so heavily laden with MSG that I have no idea what the originals would have tasted like. In supermarkets, there are more brands of MSG than there are of salt or sugar. I've found that most of the Indonesians I've met need their foods to be extremely spicy, salty or sweet before they enjoy it.
The good thing about discovering these little sachets is that the shampoos will come in very handy when traveling. I don't really see shampoo being sold like this elsewhere.