VOX: But what does umami taste like?

As a kindergartener, I was taught there were four basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, which we represented by filling in a map of the tongue with crayon.

Like many things taught in kindergarten (except for the alphabet), it turns out this is not true. The idea of a “taste map” — that certain regions of tongue detect certain flavors — has been enthusiastically debunked. Also, there are not four basic flavors, but (at least) five: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.

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