Are spicy foods considered sour

What is the flavor of umami?

The Japanese term umami denotes a taste apart from the usual four flavors: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Umami is particularly common in protein-rich foods. The taste quality is described as hearty, intense, meaty. But it cannot be compared with a salty aroma. In the meantime it has also been scientifically proven that in addition to the receptors for sweet, sour, salty and bitter, taste buds for umami are also present in the human mouth.

Umami is mediated by the amino acid glutamate, which is mainly found in high protein foods such as meat, fish and cheese. Mushrooms and ripe or dried tomatoes also contain the umami-mediating substance. In the form of the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate, umami is now used in the food industry to enhance the inherent taste of food. Soy sauce, fish sauce, stock, broth, meat and yeast extract and celery seed contain particularly high levels of glutamate. The flavor carrier is also present in human breast milk.

The name umami was created in 1908 by the Japanese chemist Ikeda Kikunae, who investigated the taste quality of the alga Laminaria japonica. The type of algae known in Japan as Kombu contains a lot of monosodium glutamate and is used in the "land of the rising sun" to flavor soups. The Japanese word “umami” is made up of the parts “umai” and “mi” and translated means something like “tasty” or “delicious and spicy”.

Did you know that our taste buds change during a flight? Read our article on eating on the plane.