Umami 101 - The Fifth Taste

Umami 101 - The Fifth Taste

Traditionally, you are taught the basic tastes - sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. But there's a new kid that has been buzzing around for years and you must have heard about it especially from your outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Yes, the taste called "Umami".

Here are 5 things to know about Umami


1. Umami means, " essence of deliciousness"

 The fifth taste is a Japanese word that means, "essence of deliciousness". Quite vague right? Umami is a savory taste that is not sweet, nor a combination of both salty and sweet. Yes, hard to describe and defined and best tasted (literally!).


2. Umami is the taste of glutamate

If you want to be more scientific about it, umami comes from the taste of glutamate that is essentially present in various food from vegetables to your meat. Glumate is a kind of amino acid, a protein building block. 


3. Umami was "discovered" in 1908


In Asian cuisine, umami can be achieved from soy sauce, broth, fish sauce, mushroom and other fermented ingredients. Part of Asian cuisine for thousands of years and not even originating from Japan, umami was formally "discovered" by a Japanese scientist, Dr. Kikunae Ikeda while he was enjoying his bowl of savory dashi - a kind of kelp (seaweed) soup. 

His research lead to the knowledge that the taste of umami is due to glutamate found in various food sources. Hence the start of the commercially available monosodium glutamate that many Asian cuisine use to achieve umami


4. Scientists identified it in human tongue receptors in 2002

Though enjoyed by the palate for thousands of years, it was only in 2002 that scientist found umami in human receptors. What does this means? It means that though widely accepted as an Asian flavor, umami is not tasted inherently and enjoyed worldwide.



5. Umami is not an exclusively Asian flavor

Speaking of that, umami is actually a universal flavor. Various countries have their own sources of umami - usually the preserved and fermented ingredients from Marmite to dry-aged meats.

In the US, where do you get your umami flavor? Umami can be found in ketchup (thanks to glutamate-rich tomatoes), BBQ sauce, gravy and our all-time favorite, bacon!

There are plenty of sources and umami flavorings in the market. Cavemanstyle Knife Ambassador and rock star chef, Matt has his own line of seasoning to boost that umami flavor! 



@themattdad Its all you need for food to taste better. #steak #yummy #nothingfeelsbetter #eminem #tiktok ♬ EminemRemix. Bilston.Web - Francesco


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