Sunday, January 06, 2008

I Told You MSG Was the Sixth Food Group! Err, I Mean the Fifth Taste.

Happy New Year's everyone! The bad news is that I am way behind in my ever-increasing load of work and I completely blew my goal of finishing up my SF posts before 2007. . . But I have good news! MSG is healthy and good for you! Well, maybe not. Although I am sure you have heard already, but umami (also referred to as L-glutamate) has now been recognized by the mainstream media as the "fifth taste." In addition to sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, our taste buds can actually detect a meaty, hearty flavor. Still confused as to what umami is? MSG adds umami flavor, and parmesan cheese and plain beef stock contain a potent and almost unadulterated form of the umami flavor. Soy sauce is a combination of salty and umami tastes.

I actually first heard about umami on my way to work while listening to NPR. Soon afterwards, I read about it recently in the Wall Street Journal. Click on those links to check out their mouthwatering description of umami.

In celebration of the recognition of umami as the fifth taste, here is a post of some of my favorite umami-flavored foods: dim sum! Unfortunately, here in New Orleans, there aren't many dim sum places. Well, there is one in the West Bank, but it is both pricey and it sho' as heck ain't all that.

Bring on the umami please!


  1. That isn't tripe on the plate with the red octopus looking thing?
    (hard for me to like tripe. Yuk.)
    It probably is a noodle of some sort, I hope.
    Umami. Now we know what to call it.
    I have missed your posting. Hope you had a good celebration of New Year in
    'Orleans! Is it good there?

  2. Happy New Year Passionate Eater!

    Those dim sum sure look delish, although you say it's "not all that".

  3. Fish tacos have that elusive umami too. SO many wickedly delicious foods do, don't they?

  4. OMG! I want everything in this post. You are making me hungry!

  5. No Melinda, it is actually jellyfish!

    And Elmo Monster, these pictures are actually from a Silicon Valley dim sum joint. :)

    I love unami foods Susan and Lannae!

  6. Try Royal China in Metairie, it's better than Westbank.


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