What is Umami?

September 30, 2021

When it comes to basic tastes, there are five core ones: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. While the first four are pretty familiar to your average person, the umami taste might raise many questions. Is this just some modern advanced taste that’s not all that common? What does it even taste like? Well, fret no more; read on to know more about umami.

Umami: what it is and its background

Based on the Umami Information Center, umami is a basic/primary taste because it cannot be created by mixing other tastes. As part of the core five tastes, evidenced by the discovery of umami receptors on our tongues in 2002, it’s not a new taste but rather something inherent in our systems.

The umami taste was first discovered in Japan by Professor Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University in 1908. He had noticed that kombu dashi, also known as stock or broth, had a different flavor that was not the same as the previously established four basic tastes. It was eventually found out that this taste was because of the glutamate present in the said dish. Dubbing it “umami,” the term for “deliciousness,” this discovery spawned the invention of monosodium glutamate or MSG seasoning, which became a staple in many households when it was sold commercially.

Umami taste and characteristics

Now that we know what umami is and how it was discovered, the question is: what does it taste like? How do we know that what we’re eating has umami?

The best way to describe it is that of a “savory” and “meaty” flavor that’s separate from just calling food the other four tastes. Various food items have an umami taste, ranging from mushrooms, burgers, aged cheese, salmon, green tea, and so much more. To keep things short, a lot of the food you eat has umami taste due to the glutamate in its composition.

Aside from that, umami is characterized as a taste that spreads out on the tongue, stays for a while, and makes your mouth water—a memorable taste out of the five.

How your food can achieve umami

How can you make food umami or delicious or ‘malinamnam? Well, it’s as simple as using the AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning! Add this ingredient to your cooking and enjoy the meaty, savory flavors in your food! Not only that, but with AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning, you can reduce the salt content of your food. With this, you can lessen the health issues of excessive salt intake and help reach the World Health Organization’s goal of reducing salt consumption by 30%.

For a delicious and healthy umami-filled meal, go with AJI-NO-MOTO® Umami Seasoning!