Not Just Four Basic Taste, Umami Taste

Last Revised on December 17, 2007

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As a kid, we are always told there are basic four taste – the fifth taste sensation. But more and more people seem to agree now a days there is another taste that needs to be added in the list – umami taste. Umami taste can be found be in parmesan cheese and ketchup. Umami is described as a savory, meaty, kind of tasted.

To understand the taste of umami, you have to imagine a perfectly dressed Caesar salad, redolent of Parmesan cheese, minced anchovies and Worcestershire sauce; or slurping chicken soup; or biting into a slice of pepperoni-and-mushroom pizza. The savory taste of these foods, and the full, tongue-coating sensation they provide, is umami.

Umami taste was first found by a japanese scientist over hundred years ago. The scientist identified that foods with a high level of glutamate, an amino acid and a building block of protein contain good amount of umami. Umami has been going mainstream in food culinary ever since the breakthrough in food science has been occurring to make new food flavors. The food industry now a days are looking into umami to make highly flavored foods while reducing the fat, salt, sugar and artificial contents in their food.

Many well known food companies such as Nestlé, Frito-Lay and Campbell’s Soup are trying to ramp up their packaged-foods as the umami tasting food. They are adding it in foods that contain low-sodium soup to make them taste better, while the nation’s mushroom farmers are advertising their produce to chefs as an ideal way to get the umami taste.

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One Response to “Not Just Four Basic Taste, Umami Taste”

  1. tinkerbell Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    umami is considered the fifth taste sensation and in my chemistry course we talk about this umami taste.

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