CNBC Insight Burnt Food Brings Blessings, This Person Made IDR 8 T Entrepreneur – 1 day ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Burnt food definitely doesn’t taste good to eat. However, for Kikunae Ikeda, burnt food actually brings blessings.

Thanks to charred cooking, he was able to discover new discoveries in the history of mankind. The finding is the umami taste which complements the four previous tastes such as sweet, sour, bitter and salty. He then commercialized the umami taste through a company called Ajinomoto, whose product we now know as mecin.

His intelligence in processing burnt food into a successful business ultimately made him a profit of IDR 8 trillion. What’s the story?

The story begins on a quiet evening in 1907. Kikunae Ikeda and his five children were served boiled tofu as a dinner menu by his wife. In terms of appearance, there is nothing special about boiled tofu. It only contains pieces of tofu, green onions and a piece of seaweed.

Without further ado, they were hungry anyway, they immediately slurped the soup and swallowed the tofu pieces. However, when the sauce came into contact with his tongue, Kikunae Ikeda’s eyes immediately widened.

He was apparently surprised by the taste of his wife’s cooking. Taste information from the tongue cannot be concluded by the brain. Because, the taste is not sweet, salty, bitter and sour. In his heart he muttered, “It’s only boiled tofu but how come it’s so delicious?”

He also asked his wife to be a chef. The wife admitted that there was no special spice mixture in her cooking. It’s just that, in this dish, he put a piece of seaweed to create a very delicious broth. At this point, Ikeda had a hypothesis that what made it delicious came from seaweed.

As a German-trained chemist, Ikeda immediately planned to start experiments. He wanted to make boiled tofu with the same recipe, but this time it would be burnt. By burning the tofu stew, you will find out what is really causing the delicacy.

The experiment starts immediately the next day. He put in water, tofu pieces, green onions, and seaweed. He stirred the pan until the water reduced drastically and changed color with a distinctive fragrance.

In this condition he sips water and eats seaweed. It turns out it’s true, the key lies in the seaweed. The fluid is then taken to the laboratory for extraction and analysis.

Long story short, he managed to find what makes tofu stew have its distinctive taste, namely glutamic acid or Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). This glutamic acid is then transformed into solid granules which we know as mecin.

“He named the characteristic taste umami and developed a method for producing cooking spices with glutamate as the main component,” wrote the Ajinomoto website.

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto/panida wijitpanya
Is it true that MSG makes food tastier? This is the Chemist’s Explanation


Luckily, when he wanted to commercialize his discovery, Ikeda met Saburosuke Suzuki. The two of them rushed to establish a company called Ajinomoto in 1908.

Initially, the MSG sales process was carried out from house to house. Ikeda knocked on the doors of houses one by one, offering MSG as a cooking spice to the mothers who cooked. Someone bought the product. There are also those who refuse.

Over time, Ajinomoto began to rise in popularity. Apparently the mothers at home were hypnotized by the delicious MSG Ikeda discovered. This is where the use of MSG began to spread. Asian cuisine, especially Chinese, is very suitable when combined with MSG.

The taste becomes more delicious and makes someone forget themselves. In fact, US soldiers during World War II said that MSG added deliciousness to war food which could improve soldiers’ morale.

The Japan Times also called MSG the most famous food invention in the Eastern world. In fact, after 1945, the massive use of MSG in Chinese restaurants gave rise to the term “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome”.

As the only major player in the MSG sector, Ajinomoto is selling well in the market. Even though there are many competitors, Ajinomoto is still a major player in the world.

Ajinomoto is also growing. Not only selling machines, but also other biotechnology products. The company founded by Ikeda hundreds of years ago can make a profit of IDR 8 trillion. Of course, Ajinomoto’s current glory is thanks to the efforts of Kikunae Ikeda who deliberately burned the tofu stew.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

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