You’ve heard your foodie friends say it. You’ve even tried saying it yourself (alone, in your car). But, now we’re going to say it all together… “oo·maa·mee”. Great job! Now that that’s out of the way—what is umami? Different from the other 4 tastes—sweet, salty, bitter and sour, umami lingers. It’s not a quick satiation, rather a full satisfaction. When you experience umami, you may not know right away what item or ingredient brought you the flavor. It’s deeper. More complex. More scientific. More, umami. Beyond its complexities, including the origin of its name, as shared in this piece by The New Yorker, all we really need to know about it is—its delicious.

FOODIE DETOUR—but, one worth exploring, as we work through what may be our own subconscious racial and cultural biases, and how they impact what we eat: Where umami (glutamate) gets a little more complicated is where the information overload really takes place—and, that is in its close relationship to MSG (monosodium glutamate)—yes, that MSG. If you’ve ever heard renowned chef David Chang wax poetic about MSG, you’ll know that he LOVES the stuff! What you may not know is that there is controversy over where the actual concern about MSG originated (but, not it’s fancy cousin umami)—here’s a worthwhile This American Life podcast that you should savor.

Now, onto the good stuff! We’ve got a few umami suggestions that are a fall MUST EATS!

Photo by @lovemimibakes

Tokyo Dashi Broth with Vegetables and Tofu – Raku

Medalhões com Bacon – Fogo de Chão

Enoki Bacon – Sushi Damo

Spicy Umami Miso Ramen – Jinya Ramen Bar

Spaghetti Carbonara – Mamma Lucia