Most of us have heard of umami, but many are still unsure what it is. The name invokes a certain level of intrigue and mystery, and that's because umami itself is difficult to describe. Often called the "fifth taste" (the other four being sweet, salty, spicy, and bitter), umami was first discovered back in the 1980s. In Japanese, the word translates to "pleasant savory taste," which is a pretty apt description of what you get when you encounter the umami flavour. Basically, umami is what you are tasting when something is truly savory.
Where to find it
While umami may seem mysterious, it's actually a lot more common than you may think and can be found in many foods you eat daily. From meat to seafood, certain mushrooms, and even tomatoes, umami is everywhere. And incorporating umami into your dishes is a great way to get extra flavour without cranking up the sodium levels. If seeing tomatoes listed surprises you, ask yourself why it is that so many people love ketchup. That, my friends, is because of umami. Curious where else you can find it? Fermented foods like fish sauce and miso are especially high in the flavour, as are many kinds of fancy cheese. It's also a key profile of breast milk, which means that though it's the fifth taste, it is one of the first we encounter.
More than just a taste
What makes umami so different (and interesting!) from the other basic tastes (another way to think of them is like primary colors) is that it doesn't just have flavour, it also creates a “mouthfeel”. According to this Vox interview with Gary Beauchamp from the Monell Centre, where they study taste and smell, umami creates a feeling of coating the mouth that gives one the impression of something thicker and more full-bodied. It's not just about the taste component; it's the feeling component that makes us crave that umami taste.
Now that we've briefed you on some fun umami facts, why not come by the shop and pick up one of our fabulous and savory soups? Our miso chicken soup, Thai coconut curry, and homemade broths are excellent examples of umami-filled dishes.
Let your taste buds lead the way!
We love making soup that is both super tasty and healthy for your body soul. We use less salt than traditional restaurants do and focus on clean products and nutritional balance. Most of our soups are designed to be eaten as a meal, with a grain, a veggie, and protein in each soup.