These Loud and Proud Shakers Are Putting MSG Back on the American Dinner Table

Omsom wants monosodium glutamate to be ‘as ubiquitous as salt and pepper.’

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October 18, 2022

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Maria Be

Photo courtesy of Maria Be

Monosodium glutamate (MSG), the umami-bringing flavor enhancer, may be a controversial ingredient, but there is, in fact, no reason to fear it. Its longtime vilification as part of so-called “Chinese restaurant syndrome” is now understood to be racist and xenophobic. (Clearly.)

Omsom, which calls itself “a proud, loud Asian food brand on a mission to reclaim Asian American flavors and stories so often diluted in the mainstream,” has been on the vanguard of efforts to debunk the false narratives around MSG and put the unfairly maligned ingredient back on the table.

Now, Omsom, known for its assortment of rip-and-pour packets of marinades, glazes and sauces, is literally putting MSG on the table with the launch of its ‘IYKYK’ (‘If You Know, You Know’) Set — a boldly colorful and eye-catchingly beautiful collection of shakers for salt, pepper and … Ajinomoto MSG.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Sofia Yahya

Photo courtesy of Sofia Yahya

“Since we launched Omsom in 2020, one of our core missions has been to debunk the harmful narratives surrounding Asian ingredients and communities,” says Kim Pham, who co-founded Omsom with her sister, Vanessa Pham in a press release. “It’s impossible to run a proud + loud Asian food brand without talking about MSG, a damn delicious ingredient that has been smeared by anti-Asian xenophobia and bad science. Our ‘IYKYK’ Set is a reclamation + celebration of not just an ingredient that we grew up with, but one that we were conditioned to be ashamed of. Now, MSG can sit at the center of any table, ready to be used daily – as it should be.”

The name for Omsom’s MSP shakers, ‘IYKYK’, was inspired by the brand’s popular recurring Instagram story series, which engages followers around different Asian dishes and trends and invites them to share what they “know” about them. Launching its MSP shaker set through the “IYKYK” framework is intended to celebrate Omsom’s “insider” connection with the Asian American community.

Plus, the shakers, which were designed in collaboration with the housewares brand Areaware, are seriously gorgeous. Brightly hued and “maximalist,” the shakers will definitely make a statement on your table — or in your kitchen as you cook.

“Omsom’s ‘IYKYK’ Set is all about showing that MSG should be as ubiquitous as salt and pepper,” Omsom co-founder and CEO Vanessa Pham says. “For way too long, Asian ingredients have been thought of as cheap, unhealthy and ‘dirty.’ Omsom is reclaiming ingredients like MSG to showcase the sheer multitudes in our cuisines and communities.”

The set, priced at $85, will be available on beginning Tuesday, October 18. Now you know (no ifs about it).

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