Indonesians love their spicy food as much as many F&B establishments in the country like to invoke nouns related to fire and brimstone to proudly describe the extreme spiciness of their food, giving birth to dishes and restaurants that contain words like “neraka” (hell) and “setan” (Satan).
However, in one Indonesian province, such a naming convention has been forbidden by the region’s highest religious authority.
Recently, the West Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued a fatwa (religious edict) declaring usage of hellish names for brands of food, beverages, and other edible products as haram, meaning forbidden for consumption by Muslims. The fatwa came after authorities in the West Sumatra capital city of Padang began cracking down on satanic F&B names in July.
Furthermore, MUI’s fatwa states that if a dish contains names that are considered immoral such as “ayam dada montok” (plump chicken breast) or “mie caruik” (mie means noodles and caruik means a potty mouth), then it will be considered makruh (advised against, but not sinful in Islam).
West Sumatra MUI has recommended the local government to pass a regulation in accordance to their fatwa, as well as the Food and Drug Analysis Agency (LPPOM MUI) to not issue halal certificates to the offenders.
A fatwa is not legally binding in Indonesia, but can be used as a basis to pass laws in the Muslim-majority country.
West Sumatra MUI’s fatwa only applies to the province, but may apply nationwide if MUI’s central office adopts the edict.
Previously, the Padang city administration stated in July that they would take disciplinary measures to restaurants with names containing satanic and hellish elements, reasoning that they were not in accordance to Minang tradition. Such measures reportedly included the issuance of official notices demanding that offenders change the names of their restaurants or dishes.
According to the city’s officials, they found at least 21 restaurants with “extreme” names, such as Mie Setan (Satan’s Noodles), Ayam Geprek Neraka (Smashed Chilli Chicken from Hell), Mie Setrum (Stun Noodles), and Mie Narako (Noodles from Hell), which changed its name to “Minarko” last year.
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