Indonesians urged against fried food as cooking oil prices rise

A woman shops for cooking oil at a supermarket in Jakarta, on March 27, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (BLOOMBERG) - The party backing President Joko Widodo is urging Indonesians to start boiling, steaming and roasting food instead of frying them as the price of edible oil surges.

"The food today must showcase the cook's creativity, use local ingredients and can't use any cooking oil," said Ms Wiryanti Sukamdani, an official at Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDIP, at a Monday food fair to showcase cooking methods without oil. The PDIP is the largest party in parliament.

Party leader Megawati Sukarnoputri was met with public backlash earlier this month when she questioned why Indonesians were queuing for oil and whether all they did was fry their food all day.

Indonesia has announced 7.28 trillion rupiah (S$689.93 million) of subsidies and raised export levy for palm oil to safeguard local supply and stabilise cooking oil prices.

Food costs are becoming a key political issue as the country that's home to the world's largest Muslim population heads into the fasting month of Ramadan, when people break their daily fast with feasts and celebration.

"Once I asked my father, what is the most important thing in politics? And he easily said, 'The stomach must be full,"' Ms Megawati said in a Monday speech, referring to the country's first president Sukarno.

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