Umami: the fifth basic taste

To further introduce the umami experience to the Ilonggos, Ajinomoto held an Umami Culinary Challenge-Visayas which comprised of culinary competitions, a cooking class, and umami conversations.

The four most common basic tastes are sweet, sour, salty and bitter. But there is a fifth basic taste and this is the secret to why certain food stand out in terms of taste. It is called umami.

Our brain has cells that respond preferentially to the umami taste, thanks to the presence of glutamate receptors within the tongue’s taste cells.


Umami is imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products. Image: Free Digital Photos

According to the Umami Information Center, umami is a “pleasant savoury taste imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products.”

Umami has long been there but it was only in 1908 that it was discovered by a Japanese professor, Kikune Ikeda of the Tokyo Imperial University. He experimented with broth from dried seaweed and discovered that glutamate, the most common amino acid and a component found in protein, was the source of umami.

So that more people will experience umami, a food enhancer called monosodium glutamate (MSG) was created. This umami seasoning provides a similar flavouring function as the glutamate that occurs naturally in food. It is comprised of water, sodium and glutamate. When eaten, MSG is separated by the body into a small amount of sodium and glutamate.

Best Filipino Umami Dish winners

Ajinomoto, has long been a popular maker of MSG. Its umami seasoning has been used by many Filipino families in preparing food for their daily sustenance and celebrations. Apart from their Umami Seasoning, Ajinomoto has other products such as the Ajinomoto All-in-Ione Seasoning Mix, Crispy Fry Breading Mix, Crispy Fry Seasoned Crumbs, Tasty Boy All Purpose Breading Mix, All-SHIO Seasoning Mix and Amino FRES-C Drink Mix.

To further introduce the umami experience to the Ilonggos, Ajinomoto held an Umami Culinary Challenge-Visayas last Nov. 27, 2015 which comprised of culinary competitions, a cooking class, and umami conversations.

The competing schools were Kryz Culinary Arts and Restaurants Services, Hercor College, ISAT-Miagao Campus, Cabalum Western College, Guimaras State College, Garcia College of Technology, Northwest Samar State University, St. Paul University-Iloilo, Iloilo State College of Fisheries-Dumangas Campus, University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos, ABE International College-Iloilo, University of Iloilo-Phinma, Western Institute of Technology, ISAT-Barotac Nuevo and University of Cebu-Main Campus.


My Own Umami Creation winners

LIST OF WINNERS

Best Filipino Umami Dish
1st place: Hercor College | Recipe: Binalot na Hito at Liempo sa Maumaming Ginatan na Dahon ng Kamoteng Kahoy at Masarsang Kamatis
2nd place: Western Institute of Technology | Recipe: Duo of Duck and Pork Estofado
3rd place: Guimaras State College | Recipe: Inihaw na Manok with Mango Atsara and Kalkag Rice

My Own Umami Creation
1st place: Hercor College | Recipe: Crab and Prawn Pasta in Rich Fresh Tomato Sauce
2nd place: ISAT-Miagao Campus |Recipe: Steamed Roll Fish with Spicy Tomato and Coconut Cream Sauce in Tree Organic Rice
3rd place: Northwest Samar State University | Recipe: Coconut Milk Marinated Steamed Fish Fillet in Kulis Leaves with Ajinomoto sa Sampalok

Umami Master Visayas 2015
1st place: St. Paul University | Recipe: Asian Surf and Turf
2nd place: Guimaras State College | Chicken Parcel with Spicy Mango
3rd place: Hercor College | Arroz Caldo ala Pato

My Umami Coach and I
Top three teams:
Northwest Samar State University| Sour Milk Marinated Grilled Fish Fillet
ISAT-Miagao | Fried Fish Market in 2 Mango Salsa, papaya, Steamed Okra and Organic Rice
University of Iloilo | Peanut Crusted Lapu-Lapu w Fillet with Sour Sauce Served with Grilled Vegetables and Mashed Kamote

Aminomazing
Top 3 teams:
ISAT Barotac | Amino Essence)
ABE | Mango Madness
Guimaras State College |Frescojito

Special Awards
Perfect score in Umami Knowledge Test: Kryz Culinary Arts and Restaurant Services (KCARSI)
Voters' Choice Award for My Umami Coach and I: University of Iloilo-Phinma

The top three winners for all categories received cash prizes, medals, certificates and product bags.

Best Filipino Umami Dish and My Own Umami Creation winner Hercor College will represent the Visayas in the National Cooking Showdown which will be held in Manila in 2016.

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