The Fifth Element of Taste: Umami

Savor the fifth taste, umami, with this decadent burger



Carrie Campbell

Umami, a Japanese word meaning “savory taste,” is commonly described as the fifth taste. For some foods it lends depth and for others it amps up their natural richness. While it’s not necessarily a trend—we’ve been tasting umami since cavemen were enjoying spit-roasted wild boar—its almost-decadent taste has become a recent hit on the culinary scene. Want to dig into your own umami? This beefy burger, mixed with dried mushrooms and fish sauce, is the perfect way to indulge at home.

Umami Burger Bomb

Makes 6 burgers
This burger is all about the sum of its parts. Just three ingredients create a burger with an incredibly beefy oomph! Fear not the fish sauce; it amps up the beef flavor without tasting the slightest bit fishy.

1. Sprinkle the mushroom powder evenly over the meat and drizzle the fish sauce over as well. Mix all ingredients together. Try not to overmix or the burger will take on a meatloaf consistency.
2. Cover and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour, but up to 24 hours.
3. Shape into burgers and cook any way you like. The caramelization that occurs when cooking indoors on a griddle gives an additional umami flavor layer. Serve on a good bun (toasted is a nice touch).

For an even bigger umami blast, top with Parmesan cheese and slowly roasted tomatoes.

Order Up

To enjoy the taste on the town, try one of these three umami-heavy dishes

Charcuterie Platter at Georges Brasserie
These cured meats offer all the delightfully beefy flavors of umami on one plate. (market price)

4620 Piedmont Row Dr.
980-219-7409


Phwah Burger at Halcyon, Flavors of the Earth
With its foie gras center, ribeye exterior, and egg on top (not to mention bacon, aioli, and cheese), this burger brings umami to gourmet heights. ($24)

500 S. Tryon St.
704-910-0865


Pho Bo at Lang Van
Asian dishes are often heavy in umami, and this classic, brothy beef noodle soup is a perfect example.

3019 Shamrock Dr.
704-531-9525

More »Related Stories

Off the Street

Sabor Latin Street Grill offers budget-friendly street food favorites in a fast-casual setting

The Naked Tart's Raw Approach

N.C. treats are vegetarian and gluten-free

Matthews Rising

After years of transition, the dining scene in downtown Matthews is starting to hit its stride

Coming Soon: CB Italia

CB Italia is a new Myers Park eatery from restaurateur Bruce Moffett

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:

Newsletters

Stay up-to-date on all things Charlotte by siging up for our newsletters. Learn more by clicking here.

Blogs »


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Kids Cook with Heart

Six groups of kids competed Saturday morning in a delicious fajita faceoff

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Salud Beer Shop plans expansion, nanobrewery

Will feature beers from Carolina Brewmasters, other guest brewers

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Art Pope and the Threat to N.C. Higher Ed

A thorough Washington Post profile explores Art Pope and his attempts to bring N.C. universities to heel.

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Talking Trellising

This technique works well to maximize space and add interest

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Fire in the City: It's back!

Luca Annunziata of Passion8 Bistro and Clark Barlowe of Heirloom kick off Charlotte's second round of competition dining

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

The Weekday Roundup: Dave Matthews Band, Maria Bamford, and Mary Poppins

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Bob Rucho's Idea of 'Local Control'

The Senate is considering a bill that would keep MeckCo voters from deciding on a sales tax hike. So much for the virtues of local control.

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Painting Pointers

A local designer helps us broaden our palette

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Try This!

From Indian delicacies to Mexican cheese-smothered chicken, go out and taste all that Charlotte's restaurants have to offer

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Lenny Boy Brewing Company celebrates flagship beer release

North Carolina's first certified organic brewery will now be open on Fridays

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

How Pat McCrory Undermines His Own Good Ideas On Education

The governor has some decent ideas about school reform--but he keeps lying about nonexistent 'teachers' unions.'

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Which tomato do I want?

Take a taste this Saturday in Matthews

Comments


Dusk Till Dawn

Jarvis Holliday Chronicles Charlotte's Nightlife and Social Scene, Straight No Chaser

The Gray Classic Weekend, Martini and a Makeover, Cirque de Whisky, Daytime Summer Parties, and More - July 17-20

It’s another eventful span of four days in Charlotte, and several of these events are fundraisers, which means you can feel good while you're feeling good.

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Getting Greeky

I ditched Food Truck Friday for a taste of Greece - flaming cheese and all.

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

This Weekend in Charlotte: Discovery Place, KISS, and MattyB

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Foul

Pat McCrory bypassed the N.C. Arts Council in naming a state Poet Laureate. We respond with a 'Howl' of protest.

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Smashburger Fires Up for Grand Opening

A portion of opening month proceeds benefitting local charity and a free burger giveaway on opening day

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

The anatomy of an award-winning beer

How Hop, Drop ‘n Roll went from a basement recipe to the gold medal at the World Beer Cup, and what’s next for NoDa Brewing

Comments


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

5 Tips for Using Herbs in Summer Cocktails

Mint, rosemary, and basil are all natural fits with summer sips

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

The Weekday Roundup: Porgy and Bess, O.A.R., and Lionel Richie

Comments