The founder of Mamee Monster, the iconic Southeast Asian noodle snack brand, has died, the company confirmed Tuesday.
Mamee-Double Decker Group, a Malaysian food manufacturer, told CNN Business that Pang Chin Hin died on Saturday at the age of 92. Local media had given his age as 96, reflecting a traditional Chinese way of calculating age.
“Without [him] many of our childhoods would be very different,” Group CEO Pierre Pang Hee Ta, Pang’s grandson, told CNN Business in a statement. “He is truly a legend, we have our utmost respect for him, and we are grateful for what he has done and will now continue his legacy.”
Pang leaves behind a beloved brand that has become a pantry staple for consumers across the region. Mamee is best known for its colorful packets of crunchy, dry instant noodles, which are typically sold with savory powdered flavoring. Some have likened the image of a furry blue cartoon character on its packaging to Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster.
Pang, a former used car dealer, founded the company in 1971, when he and a business partner set up an instant noodle factory in the Malaysian coastal state of Malacca.
The company started off making traditional instant noodles, with packs of vermicelli sold under a brand called Lucky.
About three years later, Pang’s son noticed laborers who worked as rubber tappers “eating uncooked instant noodles straight from the pack,” according to a company biography posted on its website. The family then decided to branch out into a new category: selling noodles as dried snacks.
The Mamee line now has various powdered flavors, ranging from barbecue to chicken to black pepper. The company says the name of the snacks, which are popular with children, is a play on the word “Mummy.” The group sells its products in 86 countries.
Today, the company’s product range has expanded to include a variety of snacks and beverages, including Double Decker crackers, Mister Potato chips and Boom+ vitamin drinks.
In an interview this year, Pang’s grandson said that while Mamee was its most recognizable brand, Mister Potato crisps were its biggest moneymaker.
Pierre Pang told Malaysian publication The Edge in March that the launch of those potato chips was “the single most important decision in our history, as the brand contributes more than 70% of our revenue and is exported to 18 markets.”
He added that his father and grandfather, the now late Pang, were receptive to new ideas and supportive of his vision to grow the company in new directions.
“I’m so fortunate that they are so open,” he said. “We are the product of two great, forward-thinking generations.”