Amazon Umami Survey Expedition

January 2012

  • Date: Dec 2nd - 5th, 2011
  • Event: Amazon Umami Survey Expedition
  • Place: farm villages along the Amazon River in Peru
  • Host: Umami Information Center
  • Participants: Chefs, Scientists, Journalist, etc (Total: 26 persons)Reported by Shintaro Yoshida, Scientific Affairs of UIC

Mr. Murata preparing a dish using macambo

  • To dedicate the establishment of the umami concept, UIC organized Amazon Umami Survey Expedition.

    Peru that is composed of seashore, Andes and Amazon region is known as the origin of some vegetables such as tomato, potato and chili, and the country rich in fish and shellfish. It suggests that Peruvian have enjoyed many varieties of ingredients and dishes. In fact, Peruvian cuisine is recently getting popularity and charms the gourmets across the world. However, Peruvian cuisine is not well known in Japan and AQUA Expedition Co. Ltd., Peruvian Tourism regretted that Peruvian cuisine is still less popular in Japan.

    Therefore, it was proposed to Umami Information Center that AQUA want to invite two renowned Japanese chefs, Mr. Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, the owner and chef of Nobu restaurant and Mr. Yoshihiro Murata, the owner and chef of Kikunoi restaurant to explore the Amazonian foods that were rich in umami. Finally, UIC decided to organize Amazon Umami Survey Expedition in cooperation with Mr. Pedro Schiaffino, the owner and chef of Malabar restaurant in Peru and invite Mr. Matsuhisa, Mr. Murata, Dr. Gary Beauchamp, Director and President of Monell Chemical Senses Center and Ms. Mara Salles, the owner and chef of Tordesilhas restaurant to this expedition. This expedition was started on Dec 2nd to Dec 5th and participants explored the umami rich foods along Amazon River near IQITOS city by ship.

    During this expedition, participants first encountered the exotic fruits and many varieties of fish that excite the curiosity to create new recipes and cook the new dishes with using these Amazonian ingredients. Especially, all the participants were surprised at the high umami contents in Amazonian ingredients including 'Araza' (a fruit) and 'Macambo',(a fruit which belongs to a family of malvaceae) because they have never found umami in any fruits. It caused the very active discussion about the umami. Moreover, the participating chefs decided to have a umami dinner on board.

    In this umami dinner, Mr. Matsuhisa picked 'Paiche' and marinated it with vegetables and his original source to enhance umami in fish. Mr. Murata cooked 'Gamitana' one of 'Piranha' that was baked and sauced with 'Macambo' cream and miso. Brazilian chef, Ms. Salles served the 'tucupi' soup. At the end of this dinner, all the participants applauded Mr. Matsuhisa, Mr. Murata and Ms. Salles.
    This umami survey expedition provided the excellent chance to know the new ingredients which are rich in umami. We hoped to find the novel umami rich ingredients and disseminate the umami concept with them.

  • Mr. Murata preparing a dish using macambo

    Media Interview



  • Media Interview