Umami Information Center


Lecture on "Umami" in the Dry Food Maestro course

September 2012

Just like kombu (kelp), which enabled the discovery of umami by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda, dry foods have always been necessary for Japanese people's diet as traditional food ingredients in Japan.

Dry foods, such as kombu, bonito flakes, dried sardine, and dried shiitake, etc. are attracting attention within and outside of Japan again as ingredients for dashi, which is the fundamental of Japanese food.
On September 8, the lecture "Dry Foods and Umami" by Kumiko Ninomiya, Director of the Umami Information Center, was held as part of the intermediate curriculum for "Dry Food Maestro", which is a program by Dry Food Association of Japan, again following last year.
Twenty-two participants listened to the lecture with passion.

The lecture, which lasted for approximately 1.5 hours, started with the explanation of the basic knowledge about taste.
The contents were extensive, including understanding umami by tasting umami food (cherry tomatoes/parmesan cheese), history of the discovery of Umami, information on the umami substance "glutamate", various functions of umami, explanations of dashi utilizing umami, the synergic effect of glutamate and nucleic acid related umami substances (inosinic acid/guanylic acid), and tasting of kombu dashi, bonito dashi, dried sardine dashi, and dried shiidake dashi (2 types).
Participants learned about umami as well as dry foods and umami by fully utilizing their 5 senses.

In the last Q&A, we were also able to provide information that can be immediately utilized in works of the participants, such as a question by a dietician regarding the prolonged salivation time due to umami, etc.
Umami Information Center will continue to provide the accurate and latest information of umami through various opportunities in the future.

To understand exactly what kind of taste "umami" refers to, it is very important for all participants to have the same experience. Therefore, UIC always makes sure to include sampling of food and beverage during lectures.
In order to understand that the taste is different from the other 4 basic tastes, experiencing umami in tomatoes provides new realizations and recognitions regarding umami to participants in a number of different scenarios.

Lecture by Director Ninomiya
Lecture by Director Ninomiya
Umami tasting plates
Umami tasting plates
Participant trying a sample
Participant trying a sample