What is umami flavour?

Ever wonder what makes Japanese food taste so good? It absolutely has a very distinct flavour, but how would you describe it?

A hundred years ago, the distinct flavour of Japanese food lead to the discovery of a brand new flavour:  umami.

You probably use a few distinct words—sour, bitter, salty, and sweet—in combination when you want to describe the flavour of your food you’re eating. A Japanese scientist by the name of Kikunae Ikeda started to consider the possibility of a fifth basic taste in the early 1900s. Ikeda discovered the fifth flavour after evaluating numerous items that didn’t quite fit into the previous four categories.

He called it umami うま味.

It’s a little hard to describe, but when you taste it, you know how distinct it is. Umami is the kind of flavour that’s found in meat, cheese, and mushrooms. 

Umami means “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese, and its taste is often described as the meaty, savoury deliciousness that deepens flavour. Some cultures call it savoriness, but the term umami is used all across the world today.

Since umami is a specific taste and not a substance, it has no nutritional value. However, it is frequently seen as unhealthy and rich in salt because it is the primary taste in some foods and sauces. Umami, on the other hand, can also be found in a number of foods that are good for you, including kimchi, shrimp, cabbage, mushrooms, asparagus, and ripe tomatoes. Consuming meals with a lot of umami flavour is not harmful if you read labels attentively and eat moderately.

Is umami good for you?

Oishii, oishii! 

(that means delicious in Japanese, and that's where our name Oishya is derived from :)

Enjoy the richness of Japanese flavours and we hope this article gets you inspired to appreciate and cherish all the beauty around you.  Because there is so much of it!