In general, MSG stands for “Monosodium Glutamate”, a food additive with code number 621. You can find MSG typically in savory foods like stocks, instant noodles, soups, corn chips, sauces, flavored rice crackers, and Asian foods. We can see more and more foods that have the label “No MSG”. In texting and the computer world, MSG is short for “Message”.
MSG is frequently used by restaurateurs and in the food industry to enhance flavor. MSG itself is flavorless but it makes food more savory. We know this as “umami”, which stands for our fifth basic taste. It is the rich, underlying flavor that you can find in meaty soups, good broths, and tasteful gravies.
The main component of MSG is an amino acid called glutamic acid or glutamate, which you can find naturally in foods that are rich in protein such as poultry, meat, aged cheeses like Parmesan, seaweed, soy sauce, and ripe tomatoes. Many Asian chefs add it to foods in the form of MSG, a cheap crystalline powder that they use to replace salt. A famous Asian MSG brand is “Aji-No-Moto” that has been around for many years.