Even now, after "Chinese restaurant syndrome" has been thoroughly debunked (virtually all studies since then confirm that monosodium glutamate in normal concentrations has no effect on the overwhelming majority of people), the ingredient has a stigma that will not go away.
But then, neither will MSG.
Cooks around the world have remained dedicated to MSG, even though they may not know it by that name. As hydrolyzed soy protein or autolyzed yeast, it adds flavor to the canned chicken broth and to the packs of onion soup mix used by American home cooks, and to the cheese Goldfish crackers and the low-fat yogurts in many lunchboxes.
It is the taste of Marmite in the United Kingdom, of Golden Mountain sauce in Thailand, of Goya Sazon on the Latin islands of the Caribbean, of Salsa Lizano in Costa Rica and of Kewpie mayonnaise in Japan.
Watch Stephen Colbert ask Jennifer 8. Lee, author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, if "Chinese food is safer than Chinese toys" last night on The Colbert Report:
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