We’ve previously raved about Omsom’s meal “starters,” packets that contain all sauces, aromatics, seasonings and flavor needed to cook various types of Asian cuisines. Both the starters and the brand’s accompanying recipes — frequently created in collaboration with well-known Asian chefs — are super easy to use, simple to follow and nearly foolproof when it comes to whipping up a restaurant-quality meal from home no matter your comfort level in the kitchen.
Founded by first-generation Vietnamese American sisters Kim and Vanessa Pham, Omsom isn’t just helping you cook better Asian food; the brand’s goal is to reclaim and celebrate the multitudes within Asian cooking and stories. And with this vision in mind, its newest launch is particularly meaningful: Omsom has partnered with Pepper Teigen, bestselling cookbook author and mom to model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen, to create a limited-edition starter that celebrates MSG.
- Pepper Teigen’s Krapow, 4-Pack ($18; omsom.com)
The dish starter is “the first product to loudly and proudly boast MSG as an ingredient using the ‘Know MSG’ symbol,” according to Omsom. Not only is the brand hoping to change some minds when it comes to the stigma and negative stereotypes around monosodium glutamate (MSG), it’s also hoping to educate folks as to why MSG is actually great — from its delicious flavor (a naturally occurring component of various foods) to its rich history and proven health safety.
“Many people don’t know that MSG is plant-derived, made through fermentation and most importantly, is verified as safe by major health organizations across the world,” said Tia M. Rains, PhD, vice president of customer engagement and strategic development at Ajinomoto Health & Nutrition, North America in a press release. MSG is also the ingredient that many home cooks use — including the Pham sisters and Teigen — to give their dishes a boost of umami, which often eliminates the need for more salt.
For this latest addition to Omsom’s lineup, the brand worked with Teigen to create a starter for a popular Thai street food called krapow, which translates to “holy basil” in Thai. The dish is essentially a chili basil stir-fry served over rice. You can cook it up with any protein you prefer, from the more traditional ground pork or chicken to shrimp, mushrooms or even a plant-based meat option (we’d suggest the Impossible Burger Ground, which is a great texture for this dish).
It’s oh-so-savory with just the right amount of spice, a little sweetness and of course deliciously, mouthwateringly umami. In fact, the Omsom team actually went through five iterations to make sure the flavors were all just right — and you get to experience it all by simply ripping open a pouch. Included in your purchase are four starters, each of which serves two to three people for a total of up to 12 meals.
All in all, if you have yet to experience Omsom — and particularly if you love Thai food — this starter is a must. While it’s the only starter Omsom has created that includes MSG, it’s also totally in line with the rest of Omsom’s offerings: mouthwatering, perfectly balanced and so easy to execute. And it’s a perfect demonstration of MSG’s value as an ingredient; it’s just a flavor enhancer like all the other aromatics, oils and seasonings that make food, and especially Omsom’s starters, so delicious.