The other day, I returned to Carrefour’s Chinese salad bar for the first time after my bad experience with the “chicken essence” seasoning (鸡精) a few months back. This time, hoping for a lighter, MSG-free meal, I told the guy to hold the chicken essence and to go easy on the salt. As he seasoned my salad, his ladle obediently skipped the bowl of yellowish powder.
I came back and dug in, expecting to find it a bit bland. On the contrary: the taste of MSG was overpowering and lingered in my mouth and throat late into the night, as did my disappointment. Very sad to report I won’t be going back for another few months, if again at all.