While American diners are sometimes suspicious of MSG, the Japanese are happy to add it to meals or sprinkle it on top just like salt or pepper. Chef Adam Liaw said while science hasn't proven MSG to be completely unhealthy, it's smart to limit the amount of added MSG so it doesn't overtake other ingredients' natural flavors. "I think the problem with MSG is not so much in its use, but in its overuse. A cucumber salad artificially boosted with MSG may be tasty, but it will sacrifice some of the natural taste of the cucumber itself," Liaw writes.

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