During a recent cookout with friends, we randomly stumbled onto the topic of taste buds. Apparently there is a less well-known fifth taste- along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty- called umami.
The Japanese word for delicious, umami has been described as a “meaty mouth-feel” and refers to the taste that monosodium glutamate (MSG), an amino acid, produces.
So where can you find this magical taste? Seaweed soup, tomatoes, aged cheese, mushrooms, veal stock, pepperoni pizza, fish sauce, and anchovies, to name a few.
There still appears to be confusion over the potential negative health consequences of MSG, but rest assured that glutamate is naturally occurring in many foods.
Anyone other there with more insight on this issue?
- Science Behind Mysterious ‘Fifth Taste’ Revealed
- The Fifth Taste Emerges from the Brine
- Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter … and Umami
- If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache?
- Culinary Applications of Umami