You may be aware of the four basic tastes, as taught by the following (since debunked) tongue map: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. But there is an elusive fifth taste that many Asian chefs try to stimulate through their food. That taste is umami. The word umami in Japanese means "pleasant savory taste," which is about as good a description as you're going to get, as the taste is hard to pinpoint. But let me try describing it anyways.