An ordinary hamburger is the stereotypical example of fast food—a plain, soft bun and a dry patty made from low-quality meat. It is edible only because the ketchup, cheddar cheese (sometimes), tomato slices, bacon strips, and mayonnaise that accompany it are full of glutamate and impart umami. An American burger restaurant on the West Coast and in New York, which calls itself Umami Burger, has achieved nearly cult status by going all the way and actively embracing the concept of the fifth taste. With its slogan of “It’s all about umami,” the restaurant serves hamburgers with tomatoes, konbu, anchovies, shiitake mushrooms, truffles, Parmesan cheese, and soy sauce. A veritable umami fix.
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