What Does Msg Taste Like? [What It Is and What Foods Have It]

Describing what msg tastes like might not be an effortless task because msg has a unique flavor that many don’t know or have encountered but can’t describe. Some describe its flavor profile as a little complicating. 

So, What Does Msg Taste Like? Msg has a flavor likened to ‘umami.’ Umami is the fifth flavor along with sweet, sour, salty, and bitter familiar to the tongue. Umami may be new to you if, like me, you were not taught that there was a fifth taste the tongue can sense. 

Umami defines a meaty flavor or a flavor that signifies the presence of meat or protein in food. 

Does msg only taste like Umami? Let’s figure it out. 

What does msg taste like? 

This salt-like ingredient can taste like Umami and metallic and chemical to others. 

Msg is often defined as having a pure umami flavor; a flavor used to describe the presence of meat or protein in food. Some people say it has an added chemical and a metallic feel to its umami flavor. 

For this reason, we recommend that you don’t eat msg raw and use small amounts in your meals. 

What is msg in food?

Monosodium glutamate, often abbreviated as MSG, is the sodium salt of a commonly occurring organic acid, glutamic acid. 

Msg naturally exists in some foods like dairy products, meat, fish, nuts, tomatoes, eggs, and corn.

Msg powder – used as a seasoning for many dishes – is made by fermentation and crystallization. 

Msg is often used as a seasoning. Although it looks like salt, msg provides a more-rounded flavor in dishes than salt. While salt produces a sharp taste in meals, msg gives a well-blended tang to dishes. 

If you are trying to reduce your sodium intake but still maintain the palatability that salt offers, msg is a good option. This is because Msg has less sodium content than regular salt. 

Msg seasoning is a common ingredient in most Chinese fast-food dishes, soups sold in the grocery store, mayonnaise, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, salad dressing, and some brands of chips to improve their flavors. 

What does msg look like? 

Often referred to as E621 in the food industry, msg is a white or sometimes transparent crystalline and odorless substance often used as a seasoning to boost the flavor of dishes. 

Sometimes msg assumes a cylindrical/rectangular crystalline structure or white crystalline powdery looks like salt or sugar. 

When msg dissolves in water, it separates into free glutamate and sodium. 

What foods have msg? 

  • – Some brands of instant noodles
  • – Some processed meats such as hot dogs, sausages, beef jerky, pepperoni, etc. 
  • – Some Chinese fast food. 
  • – Some seasoning blends are used for flavoring meals. 
  • – Some chips and snacks such as Pringles, Cheetos, and KFC fried chicken.
  • – Msg exists naturally in corn, fish, meat, eggs, tomatoes, and dairy products like Parmesan cheese and milk. 
  • – Some frozen foods like frozen pizzas.
  • – Some soup products like canned soups and dried soup mixes. 
  • – Some condiments like mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, soy sauce, salad dressing, ketchup, and mustard. 

Is monosodium glutamate bad for you? 

U.S FDA recognizes msg as being safe to eat, despite msg’s lousy reputation with symptoms of sweating, headaches, numbness or tingling in parts of the body, nausea, fatigue, chest pain, rapid heartbeats, and drowsiness. 

What does msg do to you?

Besides msg’s association with symptoms such as nausea, numbness, drowsiness, fatigue, tingling, headaches, etc., which have all been debunked as being caused by ingesting msg, some life-threatening illnesses are linked with msg.

  • Metabolic disorders
  • Obesity
  • Adverse effects on reproductive organs and health
  • Neurotoxic issues
  • Chinese Restaurant Syndrome
  • Gastric intention

What does msg do for food? 

Msg enhances the flavor of soups, broths, sauces, snacks, and many other foods. 

Msg adds a blended umami flavor to dishes and foods. The blended umami flavor has a savory and meaty/protein-like taste. 

Why does msg taste so good? 

Msg triggers umami receptors on your tongue; that’s why foods with Umami taste savory and rounded. 

Foods with umami flavors prompt an unconditioned mouth-watering response from you, making them taste perfect. 

This umami taste activation is why you find yourself going on when you eat pringles or some Chinese food. 

Is msg better than salt? 

It seems like msg might be winning this debate; let us explain how.

– Msg contains less sodium than salt; salt has about 2/3rd extra sodium content than msg. If you’re trying to keep your sodium intake low, msg is a better choice. 

– Msg tastes significantly rounded and better than salt. Salt is salty, and that ball it has to offer to foods, but msg kills two birds with one stone with its salty and savory tone. 

Is msg naturally occurring? 

Yes, msg occurs naturally in scallops, cured ham, fish, chicken, egg yolk, clams, Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, shrimp, tomatoes, walnuts, and mushrooms, kimchi, corn, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, etc. 

Is Ajinomoto bad for you?

It is safe to use Ajinomoto in small amounts, but consistent use of Ajinomoto in large quantities can increase insulin levels and increase glutamate levels resulting in cell death. 

Some other health conditions linked with prolonged use of Ajinomoto are obesity, burning sensation in the stomach of people with gut issues, thyroid problems, and cancer. 

Additionally, milder effects of Ajinomoto include fatigue, fluctuating blood pressure, body pain, snoring, and headache.

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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