Quest for Taste

Recently I read a manga called Oishinbo – Ramen and Gyoza, and loved it to bits. The book goes into pornographic details of the food and discusses each and every ingredient that goes into making a good ramen dish and a succulent gyoza. Exceptionally well-paced for its subject, the manga pays attention to everything from the flour, meat, condiments, to the grains fed to the poultry and soil used to grow the condiments. If I get off my lazy bum and visit an Isetan grocery store this weekend, I can prepare a perfect ramen dish by just following one of the stories in the book.

I seriously doubt I will get off my lazy bum though.

The point of the post however is something else. The book made me realize how the wrong condiments can spoil the taste of the dish rendering the whole preparation meaningless. Some extra chili or even a pinch of MSG is the worst culprit. This realization has lead to the fun factor of my lunch hour go down to zero. Alright, one, for talking to friends is still fun.

Ever since I came to Singapore, I have taken immense pleasure in tasting the different kind of food of all possible cuisines. I have some favorites but there is hardly anything that I do not like. Wonder why?

The answer is two simple words – Monosodium Glutamate.

Although MSG adds a well-rounded flavor but it also numbs my tongue. As a result, I like almost everything I eat and find cutlery as the only differentiating factor between $3 and $17 laksa. I feel cheated and I want my money back.

I want to be like one of those people who can take a spoonful in their mouth and tell the ingredients of the dish, who can smell the food as it is served and tell you that you forgot to add some salt. I want to be like “Yamaoka” from the Oshinbo books!

Following are the seemingly simple but not effortless rules of the mission ‘quest for taste:’

Rule 1: Never mix tastes. Savor each one for its own flavor, there is a time for spicy curry and there is a time for ice cream. Usually, the two times are few hours apart.

Rule 2: Do not wait to eat until your stomach starts growling. You can never taste food if you are too hungry. Eat small portions, slowly if you wish to savor the taste.

Rule 3: Do not drink while eating food, unless the drink is suppose to complement the flavor of the dish. So, wine with pasta is good but iced lemon tea with chicken rice is not.

Rule 4: Stick to the top three rules.

Ok, time to put up the post and pull up my socks. See ya tomorrow. 🙂


3 Responses to “Quest for Taste”

  1. Nice to see a post everyday. I love reading what you have to say. Does MSG make ur sense of taste dull? And do they add MSG in everything u eat there?

  2. sunshin3girl Says:

    Yes, most eating joints add MSG to the food. MSG adds an overall flavor to the food but it also makes all food taste the same. Yes, it definitely dulls the sense to taste other light flavors of herbs, spices, or the natural ones of the veggie, meat etc.

    Chinese foods heavily banks on MSG, in fact, most traditional Chinese folks add MSG to home cooked food too.

  3. Re: blogathon: Go Anupma go! The daily posts have been *so* awesome, wish I could squeeze in the time to try something like it.

    Re: Oishinbo. Love love LOVE it. I am reading scans once in a while, but do not want to read the fan-scanned version and at the same time, am a little worried about picking up the legit because long manga series sometimes tend to get cancelled midway nowadays, or worse, delayed. Saving up until it finishes. 100+ volumes – sigh.

    Re: MSG. Chun ( from Blue Diamond ) sat down once and gave A and me a lecture about why he NEVER puts MSG in the food they serve, cos it leaves diners with a bloated feeling. Which reminds me, I need to hog at Blue Diamond once I am back. *sigh*

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