What exactly is msg? What is it used for and why do some restaurants have signs saying "contains no MSG"?

  • Hi, and welcome to Seasoned Advice. We are a strictly cooking site, and nutrition is off topic here. So, "good or bad" is not a topic we can discuss, and I had to edit it out. "Why is it used" is indeed a culinary question, so that part is fine.
    – rumtscho
    Feb 6, 2015 at 10:17

1 Answer 1


Mono sodium glutamate. Think of it as somewhere between salt and sugar. It's flavour is called Umami. Msg is present in many natural products mostly from fish like anchovies.

The reason many restaurants have "no msg" sign is because of the bad press and stigma it has received for health reason such as hyper activity and weight gain. Chinese restaurants have especially received a lot of flack for over using it in their take away food.

For a more informative read I highly suggest checking this out It’s the Umami, Stupid. Why the Truth About MSG is So Easy to Swallow

  • MSG is just the sodium salt of Glutamic Acid(Glutamate). So, technically MSG isn't found in many natural products, but a variety of glutamate compunds. Feb 6, 2015 at 23:14

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