What is DELICIOUS?

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I want delicious food

Japan is heaven

It’s very important for me to enjoy good food. In Japan I found it very easy, because I really do love the food culture we have. I could buy all the familiar cooking ingredients, also there is a vast variety of ready made delicious foods and loads of good and cheap restaurants around.

so many countries, so many customs

I like Finland, but sometimes I feel a little troubled about food. A trip to a restaurant to enjoy a delicious dish can be surprisingly expensive, and also the tastes aren’t so familiar to me.
So I, and no doubt many Japanese abroad, always desire those familiar delicious foods.
But what is delicious?

many elements of deliciousness

Deliciousness has many elements, both from the actual food and the circumstances the food consumed. You can eat alone or in the company of your friends and enjoy a steak that has got cold or feel you need a sizzling fresh one from the barbeque to enjoy at all. Deliciousness comes from elements like structure, seasoning, quality of the ingredients and so on. So now, let’s think only about the taste.

analyze DELICIOUS foods

chocolate

Many people like chocolate.
chocolate
The first taste we feel is sweetness, and then comes bitterness. It can be shown with a graph like this. The depth of the color indicates the strength of the taste.
chocolate-graph

miso soup

This is quite popular in Japan, you probably recognize it.
We use miso paste for miso soup. The taste of miso paste is salty and umami. We also add umami rich dashi to make miso soup.
misosoup-graph

salmon soup

Salmon soup is a very traditional dish in Finland. You can find it in restaurants, of course, and in supermarkets, there are many products, like chilled and frozen.
salmonsoup
Tasty and creamy soup with salmon, its saltiness is balanced nicely when we feel the sweetness from potato and carrot.
salmonsoup-graph

strawberry

Finland is famous for its natural resource of berries. It’s easy to get fresh berries almost anywhere during the summer. Berries have a good combination of sweetness and sourness.
strawberry-graph

Delicious taste is…

mixture of tastes

The foods most people consider delicious have two or three different tastes. We often use a combination of sweet-salty or sweet-sour. In theory you would think they are delicious.

100% delicious food?

Even though the food served is delicious in theory, it depends on your subjective preference whether you feel it is delicious or not. The feeling is constructed by your experiences with different tastes and the culture you come from. For example, almost all Japanese like miso soup, but when I served it to Finnish people maybe only half of them liked it. Those that found miso soup delicious were already familiar with fermented foods or liked asian foods in general.

enjoy food

In Conclusion, it is important to be interested in different foods and try to feel the tastes. Focusing on the eating experience and analyzing the tastes helps you improve your “deliciousness sensor”. Like all muscles, we need to practice it to get more benefit out of it.

DELICIOUS? in Finland

world famous DELICIOUS?

Maybe you recognize this one, it’s a famous Finnish candy.
salmiakki
It has a unique taste and many, I dare to say most, foreigners have great difficulties to enjoy it.
Salmiakki is a mixture of licorice and a white powder called ammonium chloride, NH4Cl. When we analyze the taste of salmiakki, sweetness comes from licorice and saltiness and bitter come from NH4Cl.
salmiakki-graph
In theory and according to the logic of taste, salmiakki is delicious.

comment

  1. Haruko says:

    Hi Ahi and Juhani, my name is Haruko. I’m Japanese and currently live in Curaçao. I had a revelation the other day about the connection between miyako kombu and salmiakki. Both are my favorite. I wanted to do more research on these. When I typed “kombu and salmiakki” on Google search, your blog popped up. So I’m writing this. Sorry it will be a bit long, but I attach below an email I wrote to my Finnish friend:

    Yesterday when I opened a package of Klene salmiaki (Dutch) I immediately felt the sensation of familiar taste and texture, and realized right away that it tastes exactly like dried sea kelp snack called “miyako kombu” from Japan. I just happen to have it here as it was included in a care package my brother sent to us last Christmas.

    Miyako kombu is the seasoned dried sea kelp strips. This chewy natural snack has been around for a long time. Basically it is seasoned with sugar and vinegar. The surface of strips gets white dusty powders full of umami flavor just like this Dutch salmiaki, which has white dust which looks like sugar, but it’s hard to tell exactly what the white stuff is.

    I will investigate further the chemical components of natural dried kombu, which is the main ingredient for Japanese dashi soup and gives it umami flavor. Now I think the components of kombu could be similar to salmiaki, as they taste so similar.

    No wonder I always like salmiaki.

    ••••••

    So Ahi and Juhani, here is my question as I read that Ahi was a chemistry teacher – are there any common components of miyako kombu and salmiakki? Thank you for your attention and help.

  2. Piece of Oishi Piece of Oishi says:

    Hi, Haruko!

    I’m Ahi.
    Thank you very much for your interesting point of view! Miyako kombu and salmiakki. It’s really impressive.
    I searched roughly and got some ideas about the similarities between miyako kombu and salmiakki candies. But the thing is, every salmiakki product has each flavor.
    If it’s ok, can you tell me which product you ate? I’m not sure I can find the same product in Finland, but I can reach the more information.
    And so sorry for the late reply. I didn’t recognized it.

    Anyway, thank you very much for your fantastic comment!
    Ahi

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