MSG: Flavor Enhancer?

I had a conversation last night regarding an Asian restaurant that has a sign in the window "No MSG." That would only be true if they didn't use any packaged food products or sauces from Asia, which I highly doubt. What they should say, "MSG not added here."

Most Asian food companies, not all, do add MSG or something similar to their products. I'm not a scientist and not here to explain or debate the use of monosodium glutamate (MSG). I understand that packaged foods need preservatives, I just don't understand the use as a "Flavor Enhancer." Food companies are not willing to make a change, because that involves work and trying to match the flavor without the additive. I don't use MSG in my cooking, neither do most of the chefs I know.

10 years ago I was in Japan, we stopped to get a Chinese bao on the way to the train station. After I finished my bao, both feet fell asleep AND I was walking. WTF? It was like I had large clown shoes on flapping around trying to catch the train. Sorry no video, I was the one with the video camera and you don't think about things like that when you're running late. When we got to the train, I mentioned to my friends that the bao had a lot of MSG, the other chef said he had a headache. Funny thing, I didn't think the bao had much flavor to it.

But most Asians know that "flavor" and would probably view it as "missing something" without it. What do you think? Would love to hear your comments. Thanks for stopping by...

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Anonymous said…
I cannot eat anything with MSG. It is an INSTANT migraine. Those of us who have food allergies are trained to taste it immediatly and there is no way to hide it. I tend to stay away from any packaged food with it listed on the label, may of the flavored chips even have it in its ingredients. Also the fast food chain "chinese" food restaurants also tend to use it. Whatever it is supposed to do is not worth it and the results are painful.

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