Let's consider a situation where someone dislikes a taste of, let's say, broccoli (or some other food), and MSG is added to that product during the cooking process to improve the taste. Will the taste actually become more pleasant for the person who dislikes broccoli, or will it make the taste even more unbearable (by making it more pronounced)?

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    Related, if not even a dup: When is MSG suitable and when is it not? Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 18:48
  • @ChingChong, I've read that question and its answers before, but I don't see how can it answer my question.
    – Enivid
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 19:16
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    Any answer to this question will be entirely based on the preferences of the taster. There is no way for us to know if a particular person will like a food or not. Just give it a try. Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 21:12
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    @Enivid I think it's pretty close. MSG is pure savory. If the quality that someone dislikes about a particular food is its savory character, then adding MSG will (probably) increase their dislike. I don't think there can be a single answer more specific than Yami's, which can be reduced down to "it depends".
    – logophobe
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 22:25

2 Answers 2


MSG has a flavor itself; it tastes of "umami", the savory, meaty flavor. This is because it's made of glutemic acid (or glutamate), with a little sodium (less than salt). Glutamates are the compounds responsible for the basic umami taste, and they are found in high concentrations in kelp, cheeses, soy sauce, and oyster sauce.

To the best of my knowledge, it's not like salt, which is said to enhance existing flavors; this would be more like cooking broccoli in bacon grease to impart a bacony flavor to the broccoli. Therefore, it depends heavily on the existing flavor profile of the food in question and the taste preferences of the person involved. If the person likes broccoli dunked in soy sauce, it might be worth a try.

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    Salt is a flavor-enhancer but it's also a bitterness-reducer and also has a taste of its own in larger quantities... so it's a bit of a crude analogy.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 6:25
  • Do you have sources about this? Sure it tastes of umami, but to my knowledge, it enhances flavors beside its own umami taste. Frankly, I have no idea whether it will make the taste nicer or worse for somebody eating the food, but I can see it going either way, so I'd like to see more comprehensive answers for this question.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 10:31
  • I've never heard any source for MSG doing anything besides bringing more umami to the party, though I'd be interested to find I'm wrong. Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 11:36

MSG, as a rule, will not make a vegetable like broccoli or some other food that someone does not like, make them like it magically. It marinates, tenderizes and helps give some depth to meat.

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    I'm sorry: I fail to see how this even addresses the question that was asked, let alone try to answer it.
    – Marti
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 21:59
  • Hi. Marti is correct in that we require answers to address the question specifically, and not provide some other information somehow related to the topic but without actually answering. So I removed the extraneous discussion and left only the part which is relevant to the question. But I'm afraid that it doesn't convince me at all. MSG is known for making food taste better, so a simple assertion "it won't make it good enough that somebody starts liking it" doesn't sound convincing. Why do you think it won't improve it sufficiently?
    – rumtscho
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 10:35
  • If you use MSG by itself it does nothing to enhance the flavor of food. MSG is used with a vehicle like vinegar, soy sauce, lemon, or some acid to combine and mix together to add another layer of flavor. It is monosodium glutamate, which is a sodium product that the Japanese developed and does give more depth of flavor, so it is the enhancement of the flavor that is there, not a new flavor. It enhances what is there, does not improve what you already do not like.
    – user33210
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 3:27
  • MSG does indeed have a flavor: umami. The thing is that umami is a very difficult flavor to isolate in a dish unless it's extremely prevalent, so usually it's perceived as a boost in other flavors.
    – logophobe
    Commented Feb 7, 2015 at 16:58

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