Umami is supposedly the “fifth” taste. We all know about salty, sweet, sour and bitter, now Umami is and has been another way to describe that indescribable flavor we are tasting.
In 1908 a Japanese chemist discovered a new primary taste that he labeled Umami which in Japanese means “Pleasant savory taste”. In 1985 the scentific community made it official and recognized umami as an official term. And that’s how Umami became the 5th taste.
What does Umami tast like?
Umami is a savory flavor that is linked to high levels of the amino acid glutamate. It is more a sensation than a flavor. It occurs naturally in some foods, such as meat, fish, vegetables and dairy. You might be able to reconize it as a flavor similar to MSG, which is monsodium glutamate. Like MSG, umami works best with other flavors to intensify the sweetness or salty flavor of a dish. Umami actually tones down sour and bitter flavors in food. But unlike MSG which is a chemical additive, Umami is natural.
Umami sweet sour bitter
It might be Addictive
Researchers suggest that the umami flavor might be addictive, like the flavor of a potato chip which is high in umami. Or if not addictive can cause cravings, like in a sausage, mushrooms and savory parmesan pizza. Umami causes salivation and is useful to aid the desirability of vegetables.