Beware the butter in Bali (or, tip for surf trip food buying)

[I’m supposed to write a post on full moon & swells, part the second, but I’m getting pinched for time, except I do have a few minutes for this rant]

Indonesia is the land of fakes and false advertising.

For example, the “butter” that’s sold as “BUTTER” in the supermarkets. A local food conglomerate produces this so-called butter, which is labeled boldly, and some might even say brassily, as “BUTTER” in English, but tastes like a combination of recycled plastic bags and used crank-case oil. The Indonesian language list of ingredients tells you what it is, a recombination of processed skim milk and vegetable oil, but it not so declared in English. Its packaging, with “BUTTER” in elegant bold, looks like real butter and cleverly fools the unwary buyer who is expecting that creamy taste on her toast.

Spread this “butter” on your bread, and one bite later, you will be tossing the slices in the garbage. Because even your dog won’t eat it.

I don’t know how many tourists & expats & house maids for expats have been tricked into buying this godawful spread.

If this company tried to market this product as “butter” in real butter producing countries, it would be fined for illegal advertising.

Why I’m bringing this up today is because I’m leaving tomorrow on a surf trip, starting with a small boat on high seas. I’ve done uncounted dozens of these trips and have my food buying down to an art (I try to avoid instant noodles, the standard feral surf trip staple food). I always buy the tinned butter, which will last longer.

So today I toss this golden tin in the supermarket cart, because it looks identical to the tinned butter I’ve bought in the past. At the check-out, however, I glanced at the Indonesian list of ingredients and spotted those dreaded words of “rekombinasi” and “susu skim” and “nabati” (vegetable oil). If I’d bought this damn “butter” it would only have been good for greasing up rusty bolts and my French toast would have gone butterless.

So if you are buying “butter” in a Bali supermarket, check the list of ingredients closely. Even if you are on a budget and want the cheapest product available, you will lose your money because this spread will indeed spread but is otherwise inedible.

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One Response to Beware the butter in Bali (or, tip for surf trip food buying)

  1. Bukit Bear says:

    The memory glands on my taste buds just made me queasy…

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