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sooo, what does miso taste like?

I hear alot about miso soup, miso glaze, miso miso miso! What does it taste like? Would I maybe have already have had miso at a japanese restaurant?

Im sure I sound like a goof asking, but I just want to know!

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    1. tastes kind of beefy. Like a really nice oxtail soup (the instant kind)

      1. There is lots of variety in miso types: salty, fishy, nutty are some of the words I'd use to describe it, but even then you're missing a lot of the nuances of miso.

        You would probably remember having it in a Japanese restaurant. Most likely you had a black lacquer bowl of miso soup to accompany your meal. It might have had a few small cubes of tofu and some sliced green onions in it. You might have had it glazed onto black cod or aubergine, too.

        Best way to find out what it tastes like is to try some!

        1 Reply
        1. Mostly, salty. It also has meaty, nutty tones, but mostly, it's salty.

          1. when you get into (all of the many kinds of) miso, it's kind of like saying "what does cheese taste like?" or "what does wine taste like?" you can give a couple of easy answers, but really it's going to come down to what it's made out of, how it's made, how long its fermented, and how the final product is used. i'm not some huge miso snob who can tell all sorts of things about miso from tasting it, but i'd encourage you to dip your toes in and try a few different kinds, especially if you can get your hands on small-batch artisan stuff. generally, the white/light misos will be milder than the reds and rich brown misos. a little goes a long way.

            one hint-- if you live near a good authentic japanese restaurant (run by japanese chefs), go in for a bowl of miso soup-- their popular menu item. if it appeals, ask if they have "another miso" they could make you another bowl of soup from (be prepared to spend a couple bucks extra). if it's an authentic place, they will almost certainly have a darker, more small-batch product in the back for the staff, and for special preparations.

            2 Replies
            1. re: soupkitten

              My organic shiro (a.k.a. white) miso tastes like a mushed up mixture of beans, nut butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and a hint of sugar. A tiny spoonful can chase away a salty cheese or olive craving. It makes a convenient substitute for beef broth, when used with the pot liquor left over from rehydrating shiitake mushrooms. I've made onion soups that had miso added to create depth of flavour. My 3-year aged barley miso tastes like olive paste. It's amazing how pungent it is to consume straight, but how subtle it can be when added to something else -- much like Vietnamese fish sauce.

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                Go to that Japanese market in Porter Exchange and buy some.. its in the fridge in the corner..