Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Shampoo, Tea and MSG

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.

6 comments:

Bilbo said...

LOL!! Condoms!! I guess they do look like those packages, though. I can't imagine using that much MSG in cooking...that's awful, not to mention probably unhealthy. Garlic, okay; MSG, not okay. Oh, wait...that's probably why no one wants to sit next to me on the Metro...

egan said...

MSG is good for you right? Oh, maybe not. Green tea is good for you though. You should consider drinking some green tea from time to time.

Nap Warden said...

Never heard of shampoo like this...That's why I like coming to your blog:)

Kellan said...

I've never seen anything like this. I think it is a good idea and would be good to sell other places as well - I wonder why it has not?

Nice to see you AManda - have a good evening - Kellan

MamaGeek said...

Wow, that photo is visually stunning Amanda. And I thought it was condoms at first glance too. TEA IS SO MUCH BETTER! :)

Surfergirl said...

these sachets are very common in the phils, mainly because not everybody can afford to buy a whole bottle of shampoo/conditioner. most esp those workers who get paid by the day/week. so they buy these little packets whenever they could afford it (get paid). interesting to see how companies adjust to socio-economic situations in different countries. they really do cater to everybody.