Is umami a real taste?

Umami, also known as monosodium glutamate, is one of the fifth major flavors, including sweet, sour, bitter and salty.


means “essence of the delicious” in Japanese, and its flavor is often described as the meaty, savory treat that deepens flavor. People test umami through taste receptors that normally respond to glutamates and nucleotides, which are widely present in meat broths and fermented products. Glutamates are commonly added to some foods in the form of monosodium glutamate (MSG), and nucleotides are commonly added in the form of inosine monophosphate (IMP) or guanosine monophosphate (GMP).

Since umami has its own receptors, rather than resulting from a combination of traditionally recognized taste receptors, scientists now consider umami to be a distinct flavor. Foods that have a strong umami flavor include meats, seafood, fish (including fish sauce and canned fish, such as Maldivian fish, katsuobushi, sardines and anchovies), tomatoes, mushrooms, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, meat extract, yeast extract, cheeses and soy sauce. Borrowed from Japanese (), umami can be translated as a pleasant salty taste. This neologism was coined in 1908 by the Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda based on a nominalization of the delicious umai ().

The compound (with flavor of my ()) is used to give a more general feeling that a food is delicious. There is currently no English equivalent of umami; however, some close descriptions are fleshy, salty and similar to broths. Umami is also found in a variety of foods and is familiar to us because of the taste of traditional foods, such as soy sauce, miso and cheese. However, it was only about a century ago that umami was discovered as a basic flavor and monosodium glutamate was invented and released as a condiment for umami.

As The New Yorker has extensively narrated, Adam Fleischman's Umami Burger hamburger chain is based entirely on the principle of maximizing umami. When food enters the stomach and the stomach's receptors detect a substance umami (glutamate), information from umami is transmitted to the brain via the vagus nerve. Succinic acid, which gives seafood its distinctive flavor, has also been identified as another possible umami substance. Undoubtedly, at the end of the 19th century, chef Auguste Escoffier, who opened restaurants in Paris and London, created foods that combined umami with salty, sour, sweet and bitter flavors.

Of these various elements, umami, in balance with the other basic flavors (sweet, sour, salty and bitter), plays an important role in determining the deliciousness of a dish. After many years of eating and researching, scientists (and chefs) are now adding umami, the almost mythical fifth flavor of glutamates and nucleotides, to umami, as the mysterious fifth flavor. Recent studies have revealed the presence of umami receptors not only on the tongue, but also in the stomach. Since the word “umami” is originally Japanese and the Japanese expressions “having umami” and “umai” can mean “flavor” or “deliciousness”, umami is often confused with “delight”.

By learning to make Japanese dashi, they master the use of umami as an alternative to animal fats before developing their own umami-oriented approaches to cooking. The detection of umami triggers the secretion of saliva and digestive juices, facilitating the smooth digestion of proteins. Professor Ikeda discovered that the main component of the flavor of kombu dashi (broth or broth) was glutamate and, calling it “umami”, wrote an academic article in which he explained the existence of umami as one of the basic flavors. Harry Lawless, food scientist, explained that umami is modified in its definition in Western cultures and has been translated as delicious, salty, meaty and brothy.

In one study, participants separately put solutions of the substances umami (glutamate and inosinate), table salt and tartaric acid (the acid component of wine) into their mouths, then spat out the solutions and compared the intensity of the flavor remaining in their mouths. Scientists have debated whether umami was a basic flavor since Kikunae Ikeda proposed its existence in 1908.This kaiseki-style bento box uses more than 40 ingredients, but contains less than 500 calories, and uses the umami of dashi to highlight individual flavors. . .

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