Umami. Am I speaking gibberish? No… Umami, a Japanese word, is the universal term used to describe the fifth basic taste that we experience when eating certain food products. It is a savory taste that can be very subtle to the average taste buds. Consisting of many compounds, umami is found in fermented foods, meat, dairy, fish and vegetables.
Originally, this 5th basic taste was discovered in Tokyo in 1909, by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda. Dr. Ikeda experimented with kombu (kelp) and found special savory notes. He proceeded to create the term “umami” to describe these flavors.
This 5th basic taste is now known to be in foods people eat every day. In Asia, it is found in beans, grains, shiitake mushrooms, kombu, dried seafood, and other fermented seafood products. In Western areas, cured or fermented meat, dairy products, and tomatoes all contain umami. This video is bursting with umami and definitely a recipe worth checking out. Disclaimer: contains yolk porn.
There are some surprising foods eaten daily that have umami in them. Popular food items include: chicken, soy, potatoes, carrots, tuna, shrimp, and bacon (no wonder so many people are addicted to bacon). Beef jerky and burgers both contain umami because it is found in read meats. While we’re on the topic of burgers, I’d like to share a must-try recipe: the Sriracha burger.
You can find restaurants experimenting with this intriguing flavor, like Umami Burger Chicago. People can also experiment with umami at home with recipes posted by the Umami Information Center. Now that you know about this 5th basic taste, be on the watch and see how many everyday foods you can find it in. You may surprise yourself.
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