Umami was discovered in 1908 by Professor Kikunae Ikeda, a chemist at the Imperial University of Tokyo. He observed a particular “salty” taste in certain foods, such as dashi, asparagus, cheese, tomatoes and meat, which were neither sweet, sour, salty or bitter. Umami, also known as monosodium glutamate, is one of the fifth major flavors, including sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
Umamimeans “essence of delight” in Japanese, and its flavor is often described as the meaty, savory treat that deepens flavor.
Umami is your fifth basic flavor along with sour, sweet, bitter and salty. Japanese scientists discovered this fifth flavor at the beginning of the 20th century and called it umami, which translates as salty. It wasn't until the late 20th century that scientists agreed that umami was the fifth flavor and listed it along with salty, bitter, sweet and sour.
Umami isa basic flavor of Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Thai cuisine, meaning it is seen in both Western and Eastern cuisine.
Although difficult to pinpoint on its own, umami is an excellent flavor enhancer, making salty foods taste even saltier and sweets taste even sweeter. 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. Monosodium glutamate can also be used to reduce salt levels in foods while creating a pleasant flavor. While enjoying a bowl of seaweed broth called kombu dashi, he noticed that the salty taste was different from the four basic flavors: sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
Adding foods that are full of umami flavor to your plate can add an explosion of delicious flavor to your food. Umami is identified as the fifth flavor that has a deep flavor, which is meaty and salty and gives you a feeling of satiety in your mouth.