[Umami in Japan]

When we eat a delicious dish, we routinely say that it is rich, deep, or umami, but what exactly is richness, deep in flavor, and umami? There are five basic tastes in taste, consisting of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami.

Umami plays an important role in delicious food. It is a taste that is very familiar to the Japanese, as it can be sensed in soup stock and other ingredients. Glutamic acid is found in kelp and vegetables, inosinic acid in fish and meat, and guanylic acid in dried mushrooms.

In 1908, Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University succeeded in extracting glutamic acid from kelp, believing that the component in kelp was the source of the taste of kelp dashi. He discovered that glutamic acid is the main ingredient of kelp dashi, and named the taste "umami. Saburosuke Suzuki, who was entrusted by Dr. Ikeda with the commercialization of the product, gave birth to AJI-NO-MOTO®.

In the past, four basic tastes other than umami were used in the West until the term "umami" was proposed. However, Western cuisine also has dashi such as "fond" and "brodo," which are dashi soup stocks that extract umami from ingredients, without which Western cuisine would not be complete. Many dishes with umami synergies have existed throughout the world since the time when the word "umami" was not defined, such as "dashi" in Japan, which is a combination of kelp and dried bonito flakes, "tang" in China, which is chicken and green onion or ginger, and "bouillon" in Europe, which is vegetables and meat. Fish sauce, used mainly in Southeast Asia, is another example of concentrated umami.

With the registration of "Japanese food" as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013, the traditional Japanese food culture is now attracting more attention and being enjoyed more than ever by people overseas. At the same time that Japanese food and cuisine are spreading around the world, an international term originating in Japan called "umami" is also becoming popular. While it is a little difficult to explain umami in words, it is also a sense of taste that everyone around the world is familiar with, and yet it makes me feel proud and curious as a Japanese person that it is called "umami.

Nakamura Douki's Tamagoyaki Pan can make dashimaki, which is truly a taste of umami. The thick copper plate features excellent heat conductivity and heat retention, and prevents uneven browning and scorching. Why not try a professional taste at home?

Nakamura Douki's Tamagoyaki Pan
Daiya's Bonito Sharpener