In the evening after work, our noses may catch the smell of smokey, grilled chicken on the street of Izakaya. The smell is coming from Yakitori-ya, a Japanese restaurant that charcoal-grills chicken on wooden skewers. The scent of Yakitori stimulates your appetite and gets s to buy the food.
A smell influencing the food taste
A smell can indicate how tasty the food would be. For example, when you have a stuffy nose with a cold, you cannot taste foods even though the foods should have a delicious taste. You may notice that you taste the food not only by your tongue and organs in the mouth but also by your nose as well. Therefore, the smell is closely related to the taste of foods. The scent is also an indicator of if the food is delicious or not before you eat.
Smells of advertisement
Browning smells of hot foods get catchy, especially in the cold winter season. The smell tells us that hod and delicious foods are available for you to eat and make you warm up. Some food shops such as Yakitori-ya cook the foods at the counter near the shop entrance so that the smell of foods can easily reach you on the street.
Another Japanese sweet with a catchy smell is Taiyaki – a Japanese red snapper-shaped waffle filled with sweetened red beans. The sweet smell of the baked Taiyaki traveling to the street catches your nose and convinces you to buy Taiyaki to eat even if you never try the food before.
In the case of good foods with strong smells…
Delicious foods, however, do not always have good smells. Especially fermented foods have a strong smell that lets people avoid eating them. One example is Natto, a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans. While Natto is well-known for its health benefits, it is also historically known for its strong ammonia smell. Not everyone likes the ammonia smell.
Recently, Natto does not have any strong smells anymore. Natto producers have improved the manufacturing process that prevents the creations of ammonia smells. Removing the ammonia smell helps people to remove the barrier of eating the natto.
Importance of using multiple senses
Of course, bad smells can be the signal of bad foods. However, a smell itself cannot tell everything about the food quality. In addition to the smell, other sensory cues, including the appearance and taste of the food, can tell if the food is good to eat or not.