Omsom's Latest Meal Starter Busts the Stigma Around MSG

This starter collab with Pepper Teigen is an instant stir-fry success.

Bowl of Omsom Krapow
Photo: Jenny Huang

Omsom starters are taking the home cooking world by storm (if we do say so ourselves). Their first two sets hit all the high notes of six regional dishes across Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisines. The shelf-staple pantry shortcuts (individual packets with key sauces, seasonings, and aromatics) produce full-flavored dishes in under 30 minutes, and all you need to add is the protein and veggies. Their latest release contains the cornerstone to some of the tastiest dishes we know and love: MSG.

The new product on the block, Krapow, is a chili and basil stir-fry starter. Crafted in collaboration with cookbook author Pepper Teigen, the starter is based on a favorite Teigen family recipe that includes MSG. The Krapow pack flavors work well with ground meat like chicken or pork, mushrooms, and shrimp (plus a bonus fried egg on top.) Just get your protein sizzling on a large skillet, rip open the packet and pour it in for the last few minutes of cooking for fully seasoned flavor. Each pack comes with four starters good for two or three servings, so it makes for a full 12 meals to enjoy any way you like.

omsom krapow
Michelle Moy

Pepper Teigen's Krapow 4-Pack, $18 at

We tried it out and just like all of Omsom's starters, it's incredibly tasty and makes for the perfect savory bite. The garlic-y and spicy elements are versatile for both animal protein and plant-based meals. It has just the right amount of kick, sweetness, and umami to leave you wanting it again the next evening. Even if you're lacking the veggie ingredients, in a pinch the pack by itself will amp up even the saddest chicken breast. Every Omsom set also comes with a mini recipe booklet, so you know exactly what you need and what proteins to grab at the grocery store.

omsom krapow
Jenny Huang

For those with questions about MSG, let's quickly dispel the preconceptions of this long-maligned ingredient. "Monosodium glutamate" is simply sodium (the same kind in table salt) combined with the most common amino acid in nature, glutamate, which is naturally occurring in everything from aged cheeses to mushrooms. As soon as MSG comes into contact with water or saliva, it separates into its two parts, making it easy to break down. It has two-thirds less sodium than traditional table salt but packs plenty of savory flavors.

Omsom's founders hope to debunk those myths surrounding MSG that began as xenophobic rhetoric in the 1960s, which is why Krapow has a stamp proudly indicating its inclusion. The recipe uses it as it was originally intended, and brings out bold flavors without resorting to extra salt. To learn more about the 30 years of science and health research on the ingredient check out To try out Krapow or other favorites like Thai Larb and Korean Spicy Bulgogi starters head to

Omsom Samplers

omsom bundle
Courtesy of Omsom

Southeast Asian Omsom sampler: $29 at

East Asian Omsom sampler: $29 at

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