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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

What does "savory" mean, when menus are divided into sweet and savory sections?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19044points) May 8th, 2011

Other examples:

Someone today recommended I use pineapple mint in savory dishes.

”... in this sweet and savory tapenade…”

What does savory mean, in these contexts?

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11 Answers

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Umami! The fifth basic component of the sense of taste. yum yum

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@hiphiphopflipflapflop Yeah, I thought of that, but it doesn’t really make sense. Why divide a menu into sweet and savory, but not also have sour, bitter, and salty – especially when those flavors aren’t exactly left out of the dishes? Plus, I’ve had dishes described as ‘savory’ which didn’t have any umami ingredients.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Oh, if you already knew that, then I don’t think I’ll be able to help you. Sorry.


On the salty, tasty side. @hiphiphopflipflapflop got the perfect answer. Umami. It’s the essential “taste” of MSG, the ingredient in many Asian dishes. If you ever tasted pure MSG, that’s Umami.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Which I get as a dish description, but not as a menu category.

Stinley's avatar

In the menu example I think it just means not sweet, so the starter or main course, not the dessert.

In the other example, it’s a dish that is meant to be a main course (not dessert) but is sweet. I’m not sure if you have this delicacy stateside but in UK you always get Sweet and Sour Chicken (or Prawn) Balls in a Chinese restaurant. Same idea – the sweetness contrasts with the savoury, exciting the tastebuds so much that they roll over and kick their legs in the air

Or am I missing something in the question?!

downtide's avatar

As a menu category, it generally refers to anything that’s not a dessert, and not sweet-tasting. Sweet is sweet and savory is everything else.

augustlan's avatar

Flavorful, but not sweet.

marinelife's avatar

@downtide is precisely right.

_zen_'s avatar

Sweet and savory = sweet, not sweet.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@downtide Ooooo. Perfect. Thanks.

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