Lose yourself in the rich, creamy and hearty world of kokumi. This savoury taste is characterised by flavours so unique that they leave a lasting impression on your senses. Take advantage of the taste and enhance every dining experience by making it truly memorable.
What is it exactly?
With a name that brings together the Japanese words for ‘rich’ and ‘taste’, kokumi is a fairly recent discovery, its first mention being in the January 2010 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The official definition is that it is a type of flavour enhancing compound found in a variety of different food types, with peptides and amino acids being responsible for its activation. Although this compound does not have a flavour of its own, it modifies, supplements or enhances the taste of the foods that include it. It causes foods to have an exceptional quality when chewed and the flavours and aromas of the food seem much more intense than foods that do not possess this quality. Foods that are rich in this compound not only taste and smell better but their flavours linger in the mouth for longer.
How it works
If you would like to taste kokumi it’s important to understand the manner in which it occurs in food. When you eat foods that are rich in kokumi you will not be able to taste these compounds. However, they will activate the calcium receptors on your tongue, which improves the ability of your tastebuds to pick up on tastes that are creamy, fatty and rich. Foods that contain this specific taste are often rich in compounds such as glutathione, which can be found in yeast extracts, calcium, a compound found in milk, called protamine, and amino acids that are known as L-histidine. These compounds have a significant impact on the manner in which you taste your food, even if they are only present in microscopic amounts.
Picking foods that contain kokumi
Choosing foods that are rich in kokumi does not need to be difficult. If you can think of a food that has an incredibly rich taste as well as providing you with a pleasant experience when it comes to texture, the odds are high that this food contains these kinds of compounds. Therefore, you will often find that foods that contain dairy are rich in this compound. Think of things like cheese, milkshakes and yogurts and you will be on the right track. If you are not able to indulge in dairy, there are plenty of other options available to you. Meats, particularly liver, contain a variety of amino acids that activate the calcium receptors on your tongue.
Experience this taste at these restaurants
For a kokumi taste experience, order the cookies and cream milkshake at Chulop or treat yourself to the pan-seared foie gras at Farangse.