Our thoughts on MSG

We've had a few customers ask us whether we use monosodium glutamate (MSG) in our food.  We thought we'd write a little page explaining our thoughts on it and our decision to use it in the food we serve.


Monosodium glutamate or MSG is a seasoning commonly found in foods.  The name indeed is off-putting and sounds like something you should not be consuming, but it's as harmful in the same way dihydrogen monoxide (H2O), which is more commonly known simply as 'water', is to us.  Some products label it as 'yeast extract' or 'umami flavouring'.
Glutamate is a chemical found and produced naturally in a lot of food such as ripe tomatoes, dried mushrooms, soy sauce, broccoli, parmesan cheese and is so important to us, that ten times more glutamate is produced in our own breast milk than cow's milk!  The 'monosodium' part just means adding salt and water so the glutamate can be crystalised and thus easier to store.

Is it really bad for me?

People have claimed to be allergic, get headaches, stiff necks, nightmares, and countless other symptoms following consumption of MSG.  However, following a lot of scientific research and studies on the subject, and there have been many, there has been no link found between MSG and these symptoms, nor any other harmful side effects.  
Alex Renton, wrote an interesting article on this subject in The Observer entitled "If MSG is so bad for you why doesn't everyone in Asia have a headache?"

Why Hawker uses MSG

We have looked into this at great lengths and know that there is a percentage of our customer base who oppose use of MSG in foods.  When developing our menu, we thought about leaving it out altogether in our recipes, however, we found it negatively affected the flavour of some of our dishes.  We risked creating food which is not as good on the palette as it could be.  Quality of flavour won that battle, which is why we use small quantities of it in some of the food we serve.
Moreover, we find it as harmless as a piece of fruit.  There are countless scientific studies, that support this argument, so please don't have any fear of something that is already present in Marmite, stock cubes, crisps, cured meats and countless other foods you've probably been eating anyway!
If you're still not convinced, please take some time read up on the research done in the field, we have no doubt you will be enlightened!  Alternatively, please get in touch with us and we'd be happy to address any of your concerns.

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