Surprising Facts About MSG in Thai Food | Mint & Basil

Surprising Facts About MSG in Thai Food

MSG, known as Monosodium glutamate, is a flavor-enhancing additive produced from glutamate, an amino acid. MSG arises naturally in cereal gluten, seaweed, and vegetables like mushrooms and broccoli.  

Suppose you avoid meals and products like Thai curry, powdered curry, or paste containing MSG. In that case, it is advised to go through the labels and nutritional information before consuming carefully.  

MSG is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) to be used in food collection by regulatory agencies. But research has shown that MSG may negatively impact health, so many people choose to avoid it.  

We will discuss a few Thai dishes which can have MSG.  

Curry Powder  

Commercial brands of pure curry powder are commonly prepared from a blend of spices and herbs, including cumin, turmeric, coriander, cloves, fenugreek, and celery salt.  

These do not contain MSG. However, some seasoning mixes that contain curry, such as meat rubs, may have MSG as an ingredient.   

Curry powder is used in Thai curries like red curry, green curry, Penang curry (Gaeng Penang), massaman curry (Gaeng Massaman), sour orange curry, etc. These Thai curries have a good amount of MSG, which gives them an added, addictive flavor.  

Curry Paste  

currey paste in hong kong

Premade curry paste, a thick mixture of curry and other seasonings blended with coconut milk or broth to create the base of curried dishes may contain MSG.   

Curry paste is essential to make Thai Curries. It forms the base of the dish, and then other ingredients are added to it as per the order.  

Because of increased consumer demand for MSG-free products, some Thai red and green curry paste brands promote curries without MSG.   

Use homemade curry paste without adding MSG. You can freeze this and keep it for a long time. If you are lazy and do not feel like cooking, then come to Mint and Basil, Tung Chung, and order what your heart craves.   

Curry Mixes  

Home cooks usually use curry sauce mixes to prepare traditional Thai curry. Most dry mixes contain MSG, so you must check the packaging first and then consume as per your requirement.  

Some manufacturers offer ready-to-use Thai curry sauces that lack the additive as an option for people who want the comfort of a quickly prepared curry without the MSG included in the sauce.  

Restaurant Curry  

Restaurant Thai Curry in hong kong

Indian and Asian restaurants, particularly Thai restaurants in Hong Kong, often use MSG in their curried dishes.  

Contact the restaurant ahead of time and ask the manager if their chefs use MSG. Some restaurants may list the MSG information of entrees in their menus or be willing to prepare your curry individually without any additives.   

Monosodium glutamate or MSG is referred to demonized and condemned to cause headaches, indigestion, and numbness, despite very little scientific proof to support these claims.   

Let us have a look at the flavor additive and learn some surprising facts: 

  1. It is Completely Natural 

MSG is a natural blend found in food ingredients such as tomatoes, seaweed, cheese, and high protein edibles.   

  1. Reduce Your Salt Usage Reduce Your Salt Usage

The chemical form of MSG or the total sodium content is about one-third of that of ordinary salt. Replacing MSG in your cooking can help in reducing the overall sodium content without compromising any flavors.  

  1. No Scientific Document Claiming Side Effects of MSG 

Most claims of MSG “allergies” and reactions have been anecdotal and have not been produced under scientific conditions. Food bodies such as the United States Food and Drug Administration, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Health Organization have all deemed monosodium glutamate safe for human consumption. And while it is true that some diners have reported ill health, the exact cause of these symptoms remains elusive.  

  1. Helping People Make Better Food Choices 

Because MSG increases the depth of flavor, it can help make low-fat food more satisfying and nutritious meals more rewarding.   

MSG has also been a cause of happiness for those who have lost the sense of taste with time. It is used in meals for older people who might have lost the sense of taste with age.   

But What Makes MSG in Thai Food a Villian?   

The years of bad press and the expansion of myths have not helped the case for MSG. In the United States, the culture of Asian foods has long toiled with the stigma of being foreign and, in some inflammatory way, maybe even dangerous.   

“When people do not understand something… all of a sudden it becomes unknown, vague, and easy to attack.” says cookbook author Andrea Nguyen.  

The worst thing about MSG is that it has made nutritionally empty food products and fast-food items taste better. With MSG, a processed food product can appear more delicious and desirable despite having minimal natural nutrients and vitamins.  

Is Thai Curry Unhealthy?  

A Thai dish contains several additives in the sauce, and Thai cuisine has close to 70% of this stuff in the MSG. Also, most Thai restaurants are unaware of what is going on, as they do not know the problem and do not even get any warnings.  

A typical Thai curry contains an abundance of coconut milk, which is neither healthy nor easy on the wallet. The number of calories in one cup of creamy milk is 400, and the food contains 36 grams of saturated fat – it is three times the recommended daily amount. You can always serve barbecued or grilled curry chicken as an alternative nutrition.   

Is Thai Food Hard on Your Stomach?  

 Thai soups tend to have no harsh ingredients and don’t usually make the stomach hurt. If you go to a Thai restaurant, you will be familiar with Tom Yum, a soup made from a particular mixture of coconut milk and ginger. Made from simple ingredients, it is naturally delicious and doesn’t cause any food poisoning. These soups are superior, but these never use a premade item.  

Except this, Thai Curry (Thai food) with MSG can be a little hard on your stomach.   

 Symptoms of Having MSG in Excess-  

  • Headache  
  • Perspiring  
  • Pressure on the facial region  
  • Skin sensations, numbness, hot flashes  
  • Frequent fluttering heartbeats escort heart palpitations  
  • Pain in the chest area  
  • Nausea  

 At Mint and Basil, no premade curry is used, and everything is made naturally with an ignorant amount of MSG in it, serving the best Thai food in Hong Kong.