Indonesian group protests to 'save' popiah

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A group of Indonesians protested in front of the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta over ownership of popiah, the spring roll delicacy widely eaten in both countries.

Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Zahrain Mohamed Hashim uploaded two images of the protest on his official Twitter account on Friday, which showed a crowd of demonstrators holding up placards and calling for the "lumpia", which is the Indonesian version of the popiah, to be "saved".

A banner held by the protestors from the group Forum Masyarakat Peduli Budaya Indonesia claimed that the lumpia is an Indonesian national cultural heritage.

According to Indonesian news portal www.merdeka.com, the protestors are from Semarang, Central Jawa, where they claim the popiah originates from.

In the past, Malaysians and Indonesians have wrestled over the origins many traditional food and items. Among them are batik - the coloured designs on textiles, the Rasa Sayang song, wayang kulit or shadown puppets, rendang - a spicy meat dish and the keris (dagger).

The popiah and its variants are widely found in East and Southeast Asia although is believed by many to have originated from Fujian, China.