Learn all about umami, which is the fifth basic taste. Umami is a pleasant, savory, rich flavor that provides an extra satisfying taste to foods.
What is Umami?
Umami is the fifth basic taste. For those of you who thought that there are only 4 basic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, and bitter), it turns out that a fifth taste has been discovered. And it's getting a lot of attention in the culinary world. It's called "umami" (pronounced oo-mah-mee). Umami is derived from the Japanese words “umai” meaning delicious, and “mi” meaning essence. It’s usually described as a pleasant, savory, rich flavor that provides an extra satisfying taste to foods. It’s found in foods such as certain meats, seafood, mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, truffles, and soy sauce.
What are some umami-rich foods?
- Poultry, Beef & Pork- turkey, Italian prosciutto, braised beef, chicken and beef broth
- Fish- anchovies, tuna, salmon, blue fish, oysters, shrimp
- Mushrooms- portobello, cremini, white button, shiitake, morel, truffles
- Garden Vegetables- corn, tomatoes, potatoes, red bell peppers, winter squash
- Dairy & Cheeses- Parmigiano-Reggiano, blue-veined cheese, Emmental, cheddar, eggs
- Soy & Soy Products- soy sauce, miso, tofu
- Legumes- white beans, black beans, lentils, black bean sauce
- Condiments- fish sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce
For more information about umami, refer to the Umami Information Center.