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Windex taste

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Hi, I ate at a Japanese restaurant earlier tonight where I ordered Oyako don. The rice, onions, egg, and mushrooms all tasted fine, but the pieces of chicken had a windex-like taste to them. What are the possibilities here? Is there a common ingredient in Oyako don that might taste like windex? Could it be the mirin? I eat katsu don frequently at this same restaurant, and I've never experienced the windex taste. I'm actually a little bit worried that they may have been cleaning something with windex in the kitchen, and it got in my food. Has anyone else ever experienced this with oyako don before? Either way, any ideas on this subject are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. The most noticeable ingredient of windex is ammonia. There is only a trace amount, but the smell is immediately identifiable. Ammonia smell in food MIGHT be a sign of the initial stage of spoilage. I've never noticed this smell in chicken, but I have had a trace of taste or odor of ammonia in a fish dish in an inexpensive Chinese restaurant that I've crossed off my list!

    1. this may be a silly question, but why on Earth didn't you send it back?

      certain fish (skate and shark to name a couple) smell and taste like ammonia when they're not handled/cleaned properly, but i've never heard of *chicken* tasting like Windex. my best guess is that the meat was past its prime. ick. i'm glad you didn't get sick from eating it!

      3 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I've had the same experience with some chicken dishes at the old NBC restaurant in Monterey Park. Once was passed on as a fluke. Twice made me think something was wrong and I didn't want to go anymore. The third time was not my choice - some friends wanted to go - I haven't been back since. But to be fair, I haven't tried NBC under its new ownership.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          This may sound dumb, but I didn't want to give the staff a hard time, so I didn't send it back. I didn't eat very much of it though, and once I decided that I wasn't sure if it was safe to eat, I just asked for the check and left. The main reason I didn't send it back was that I wasn't sure if that particular dish was supposed to taste like that or not. It immediately reminded me of windex, but I wasn't sure if that was just a signature flavor of the dish or something. Thanks for all of your replies so far.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Having fished extensively in the SF Bay Area and in the ocean out the gate for many years I know that certain fish should be bled immediately upon landing them. As I recall, the lateral line along the sides are equivalent to the urinary system in mamals. If left intact you will get an ammonia taste and smell. I don't expect that this relates in any way to chickens!

          2. I had turkey meatloaf at a diner the other night and couldn't put my finger on the smell - till you said Windex. I didn't get sick but I didn't eat much of it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: smartie

              Yes, I should add that I didn't get sick from whatever it was, if that means anything to anyone, though I also didn't eat very much of it.

            2. Just adding a little very simplified pseudo-science to this thread. Ammonia is one of the by-products as a result of protein being broken down by bacteria. This usually occurs when the protein source is past its prime or in a waste form (animal protein past its prime, dead animals, uric waste, fesces, etc.). The ammonia is then broken down by a chain of other bacteria to the point where nitrogen is the end-product. I'm assuming that all of us who ate something that smelled of ammonia/windex ate something with an animal protein that was far past its prime.