Umami is considered to have a distinct taste by scientists because it has its own receptors which respond typically to glutamates that are present in fermented products.  It is found that the key compound glutamate is present in all dried foods or foods that undergo processes like fermentation and proteolysis.  Therefore, they contain a rich umami flavour.  It is said that humans experienced the taste of umami from day one as scientists have discovered that breast milk contains an immense amount of glutamate and amniotic fluid.  Without even realising it, we have been introduced to the taste of umami.  Some countries like Japan, Korea, Italy, Thailand and China are known for their umami rich food because they regularly use ingredients with high content of glutamate in all their dishes.  Leveraging on the popularity and need for umami, Esseplore, an AI-driven company, is leading the way in the food industry with their latest gourmet offering, Umami Chefs.   A Homegrown food tech company, Esseplore has partnered with Southeast Asia’s leading precision gut microbiome company AMILI to be advocates of good health.   

Umami refers to the taste glutamate or glutamic acid which is a common amino acid in all animal proteins and vegetables. It also contains inosinate which is mainly found in meats and guanylate is abundantly found in plants.  

Scientists have claimed that, like the other basic tastes, detecting umami flavour is essential now for survival. It is a fact that the meals curated by Umami Chefs are full of nutritive value, meeting a wide variety of dietary and health requirements from low-sodium to diabetic-friendly meals.  

 Umami is typically found in high protein foods so when you taste umami in your meal it means that you have a food that contains protein.  In reaction to this the body naturally secretes saliva and digestives to help digest these proteins. It also has potential health benefits; studies have shown that choosing umami rich food aids in weight loss because it helps in curbing appetite 

Some of the most popular umami rich foods that are frequently used in the meals curated by Umami chefs are: 


One of the reasons it is very popular is because it is low in calorie content, but it is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. It’s a great source of umami flavour because it has a very high glutamate content. Seaweed is said to have added a lot of depth and flavour to broths and sauces in Japanese cuisine and that is why it is used extensively in these dishes.  

The most popular seaweeds are the nori seaweed and kombu seaweed. 

Soy based foods 

 Soya is made from soybeans which is basically a staple in Asian cuisine and is a legume. Though soybeans can be eaten as a whole, they are commonly fermented to process various products like Tofu, Tempeh, Miso, and Soya sauce which are common ingredients in most Asian or Japanese food. Fermenting and processing soybeans raise their glutamate content therefore foods containing all soy-based foods are extremely rich in umami. The fermentation process breaks down the proteins into free amino acids particularly those that have glutamic acid.  Soy-based foods are considered to have a very high content of the umami compound glutamate, especially fermented soya. Soy- based foods have been linked to a variety of benefits like lowering your blood cholesterol, improving fertility in women and reducing menopausal symptoms.  

Aged cheese 

Umami compound glutamate is very high in cheese, as cheese ages their proteins break down into free amino acids by a process called proteolysis and this raises the level of free glutamic acid. Now if you want to know which cheese has the most distinctive umami taste it would be the cheese that ages the longest and that is the Italian parmesan. That is why even a small amount can significantly improve the taste or flavour of a dish. 


Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from spices and vegetables. These vegetables are fermented with Lactobacillus bacteria which breaks down the vegetables by producing various digestive enzymes.  The level of umami compound glutamic acid is raised in kimchi because it undergoes a process of proteolysis which releases free amino acids. That is why kimchi is considered an incredibly healthy dish and is linked to various health benefits like enhanced digestion and lower blood cholesterol levels.  It has an impressive 240 mg of glutamate per 100 grams. 

Green Tea 

Green tea has become incredibly popular all over the world because it has been time and again linked to various health benefits such as reducing type 2 diabetes, lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels and helps in gaining healthy body weight.    


A wide variety of seafood are high in umami.  This is because almost all seafood naturally contains glutamate and inosinate which is basically an umami compound and is also used as a food additive. 

Various types of seafood contain different combinations of inosinate and glutamate. Therefore, chefs will choose the ingredients and try to balance the overall flavour of a dish by combining various dishes that are rich in various compounds like glutamate and inosinate. The compounds inosinate and glutamate have a complementary impact on each other thereby overall enhancing the flavour of umami 


Another food group that is typically high in the umami flavour are meats. Like seafood they also naturally contain inosinate and glutamate. Scientists claim that dried, aged or processed meat have more umami packed in it due to the processes that they undergo.  Chicken egg yolk is also a great source of umami flavour. 


You would be surprised to know that tomatoes are one of the best plant-based sources of umami flavour. As the tomato ripens the level of glutamic acids increases. It is said that drying tomatoes can raise the umami flavour as this process reduces the moisture content and increases the content of glutamate. Additionally, tomatoes are also a good source of several vitamins and minerals including plant-based antioxidants, potassium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. 


Mushrooms are a great plant-based source of umami flavour. Drying mushrooms can significantly increase the glutamate content. They have been linked to a variety of potential health benefits such as improved immunity and cholesterol levels.  Mushrooms are a popular ingredient with all chefs because they add so much versatility and taste to the dish. 

Other popular foods that contain umami are very good for health and highly recommended by umami chefs are Marmite which is a flavoured Yeast spread, Oyster sauce, garlic, lotus roots and potatoes. 


Umami Chefs is quickly taking over the digital food space.  Our aim is to enhance the dine-at-home experience with quality gourmet food.  Our chefs undergo a rigorous selection and training process to ensure that they design the best meals for our customers.  Although a big focus is on the taste of every meal, we also ensure that it is packed with nutrition following strict hygiene protocol. We believe in all the tiny details; the presentation and quality of the food is exemplar and represents our core values. Our network of Umami Chefs will ensure that you have the best gourmet delivered at the comfort of your home whenever you reach out to us. 



Author Arun

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