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Shalala hits all the right notes

Original post made on Mar 16, 2011

Umami. It is the fifth taste, most easily translated from Japanese as savoriness, which, in addition to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, make a complete palate and total dining experience. The characters that were combined to form this word in Japanese literally mean "delicious taste" and this is the word that sprang to mind when dining at Shalala, Mountain View's newest ramen house.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 11:03 AM

Comments (7)

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Posted by HoleInTheHead
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Which one is better? Shalala or Ryowa?

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Posted by Know-It-All
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2011 at 1:21 pm

umami is derived from the word umai (美味い), which means "tasty." I am not sure if it is the 5th taste as stated.

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Posted by Alex M.
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

"Unami" is generally synonymous with monosodium glutamate (MSG). Starting out the article that way may not be a positive endorsement for the restaurant.

Since the chef came from Kahoo Ramen (which I think is superior to Ryowa), Shalala may be similar to Kahoo. Have to try it first.

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Posted by k
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 16, 2011 at 3:35 pm

>"Unami" is generally synonymous with monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Not necessarily true. The wikipedia article has a lot of information you should check out: Web Link

Lots of other things besides MSG can work toward the umami flavor, like mushrooms, soy sauce, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, etc. Implying that Shalala has a lot of Umami does not imply they use MSG. That's something you'd want to verify with the restaurant itself.

I like shalala better than ryowa, but everyone has their favorites.

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Posted by A. Reader
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I bet it is loaded with sodium (salt)? Not sure about MSG, though...

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Posted by Know-It-All
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I don't know about Wikipedia, but MSG was developed in Japan (by a chemist) based on the concept of "umami."

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Posted by BD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 22, 2011 at 9:17 am

Most commercial soups are indeed full of sodium. However, that doesn't mean this ramen has MSG. Good food doesn't use cheap tricks. MSG was developed to imitate meat and mushrooms, but that doesn't mean a good restaurant will use it instead of meat and mushrooms. You'd have to ask Shalala to be sure.

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