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What Is Umami and What Does It Taste Like?

By September 24, 2019In the News
Umami Taste

ICYMI: Published on Yahoo! Lifestyle ( August 1, 2019

Author: Corey Williams, contributor to Yahoo! Lifestyle and Editorial Fellow at

“Umami is the most recently identified and accepted of the basic tastes. It’s found in a variety of foods (like asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat), but all umami foods have one thing in common: They contain amino acids called glutamates, which are commonly added to some foods in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG).”

“Umami’s history is as old as food itself”…

“French chef Auguste Escoffier was known for creating groundbreaking dishes in the 19th century that were deep and rich, but could not be described as salty, sweet, sour, or bitter. Many people credit him with ‘creating’ umami with his invention of veal stock. However, he did not try to classify the taste.

“The name ‘umami’ didn’t come around until 1908, when Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda pinpointed the presence of glutamic acid in foods with the specific characteristics he was trying to identify. He named the taste ‘umami’ which is Japanese for ‘good flavor.'”

What does umami taste like?

The MSGdish Team's goal is to provide timely and important information about glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the many culinary creations inspired by “umami" while connecting these topics to facts about food, taste, and health. The MSGdish Team is comprised of TGA staff professionals who are recognized as experts in science-based nutrition communications. Read more on the About page.

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