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Why do people dislike foods with MSG?

I think its a natural reaction to an ingredient that most of us cannot pronounce. There’s a general saying that if there’s an ingredient that you cannot pronounce then it’s probably not that healthy for you.

In today’s age with words like ‘non GMO’, ‘all natural’, ‘no hormones’, ‘no artificial preservatives’, ‘certified organic’ all being thrown about, because MSG while naturally occurring, adding it to foods which did not originally have it seems suspect to a lot of people.

And that’s kind of a shame, because there’s actually nothing really wrong with MSG. There’s been no studies that have shown it related to any ill health effects.

If you look at what MSG actually is – it was isolated by a Japanese chemist in the early 20th century – it’s the essence of umami which adds more ‘flavor’ to any food. Thus adding MSG improves the flavor of everything it’s added to.

That’s it, there’s nothing that bad about MSG, it’s not like trans fats or anything which actually have tangible co-relations with heart disease. So that’s why when I see a Chinese restaurant or brand using the terms ‘no MSG or artificial preservatives’ in an attempt to sell to the public, it’s just kind of sad because MSG was never harmful to begin with.

and FYI non-GMO and organic is also in the similar boat of not being nutritionally different from their GMO and non-organic counterparts, and there’s been no studies to show that’s it’s actually healthier, but marketing = makes people buy it. So yeah.

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General

What seasonings or items can I add to my ramen to make it more delicous?

So there’s a variety of seasonings that you can add to either flavor your ingredients or the ramen broth itself. Most of these seasoning involve the sensory taste of ‘umami’ which is usually isolated in the form of MSG – which is basically the umami additive – so you will see MSG (which adds umami) or umami bearing substances like soy or vegetable protein added to these seasonings:

Soy Sauce

This is the obvious one. The original and oldest flavor/umami enhancer to any meal.

I usually go for either Yamasa or Kikkoman as both are traditionally brewed and will definitely enhance your dishes the way that soy sauce has done for centuries

Maggi Seasoning

Maggi Seasoning is a soy sauce alternative – it provides a very similar taste except of using soy beans it uses hydrolyzed vegetable protein instead. IMO I prefer soy sauce as its more natural but many people especially in Europe grew up with Maggi Seasoning and it’s a very similar flavor enhancer.

Liquid Shio Koji

Koji is the fermentation starter used to make soy sauce and miso soup – and now there’s liquid koji that you can use to marinate your meats and vegetables which will add a similar umami flavor component to them. So another worthwhile flavor enhancer to look at.

Sriracha

What can I say? It’s the classic way to give soups (even ramen soups) a fiery kick if you need it. What’s great about sriracha is it adds just the right amount of heat without spoiling the flavor – not vinegary like Tabasco and not too much like some of the crazy hot sauces out there – it adds a little bit of heat and it’s flavorful enough but not overpowering.

XO sauce

XO sauce is a seafood based sauce that adds a umami flavor component into your dishes. The main ingredient of most XO sauces is scallops so if you want to add more ‘fishy’ component to make your ramen more seafood like (maybe turning it into a more Jamppong like soup) then there’s this.

Laoganma Chili Crisp

The classic chili condiment of China, it’s not too spicy, but does impart a very unique umami + slightly spicy flavor onto the dish while also adding a ‘crispy’ texture as well. This is a favorite ingredient of many Chinese dishes and it’s an absolute classic that should be tried with any dish.

Chinkiang Black Vinegar

Used widely in many Chinese dishes, this is a rice vinegar that isn’t as sour or acetic as most of the white vinegars you see in the West. Instead, this vinegar can be used as subtle flavor enhancer to many dishes. Try marinating your meats and veggies with them!

Worcestershire sauce

The classic Lea&Perrins Worcestershire sauce is a fish based sauce that also contains a variety of other ingredients that all impart an umami flavor onto the dish. This is a Western sauce that’s not commonly used in Asian dishes but in the spirit of multiculturalism I would say leave nothing at the door and mix and match and experiment to see what works best for your flavor profile.

Categories
General

I’ve been financially cursed since Jan 2018

Little did I know that Dec 2017 was going to be the peak of my life.

As soon as Jan 2018 rolled around I basically lost any semblance of my past life – no Korean gf anymore, all my SF friends split apart, I lost my SF apartment and I lost my life savings.

Since then, I’ve tried to recover from that by saving up money, getting a Korean gf again (long distance of course), and trying to mend my relationships with past SF friends.

But it’s been difficult – for whatever reason, my financial luck has been especially horrid – I have not made a single cent of capital gain since Jan 2018 – lets go through them:

Jan/Feb/Mar 2018 – $72,000 USD – took out 3 loans worth $85k USD (yes I know this was one of the stupidest decisions I made in my life) – crypto subsequently crashed and I lost at least $72k of this money by Dec 2018. That’s 85% of it. The reason I lost so much is not just investing in Bitcoin – had it been just Bitcoin I mostly would have recovered it all last summer. No, it had to be in altcoins – and those NEVER recovered and most went down 90%+. As if Altcoins weren’t enough, $8.5k was put into ICOs which were essentially all scams – out of that $8.5k I think I got back maybe $500 that’s it. Then Masternode coins scammed me even further – along with ICOs, the shittiest of shitcoins designed to scam people – lost at least $20k from these. So $20k from Masternode coins, $8k from scam ICOs and  the remaining $44k from Altcoins going down and never recovering. I put a total of $150k into crypto throughout 2017-2019 and didn’t get out until Feb 2020 – this loss was the total realized loss for me.

May 2018 – $500 USD – tried to buy a call option on NFLX right before their earnings to try and make a play – of course they reported good earnings, but the stock still went down. I lost all my money here.

Dec 2018 – $432,000 USD – yes this was the full value of the amount I lost in the QuadrigaCX scam. The proceeds had come from selling my SF apartment, and subsequently my financial luck was bad enough that I had transferred all my money over to Canada using the worst exchange at the worst time. There was only 4 months (Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec 2018) where I could have gotten scammed with this exchange – and I was in Oct. Talk about unlucky. It doesn’t help that the exchange went bankrupt in Jan 2019 – right when Bitcoin was at it lowest ($4k per bitcoin). Bitcoin subsequently rebounded to $13k in the summer – had I kept all my money in bitcoin on Bittrex instead of sending it to QuadrigaCX to cash out into CAD, I would have been a millionaire since I bought over 60+ btc to transfer all at an average price around $6500 in Oct/Nov 2018. In this case, holding all my money in crypto (which one would have thought to be more risky) would have made me a millionaire whereas trying to cash it out into fiat lost me all my money. Talk about cruel irony.

Mar 2019 – $1150 USD – this was money paid to my landlord for my first apartment in Vancouver as a security deposit. My landlord took advantage of my desperate situation and wrote an extremely strict contract that I didn’t read carefully enough. After I finally moved out in Feb 2020, he took my security deposit and basically scammed me, giving me a BS reason like ‘breaking too many house rules’ which doesn’t make sense as I wasn’t even in the house half the time. This was more financial bad luck.

Jun 2019 – $750 USD – made a bet that the Golden State Warriors (who were healthy at the time) would win the NBA championship. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson got subsequently injured, and the Toronto Raptors (out of all teams) won the championship. So yeah.. lost all my money here.

Aug 2019 – $1,000 USD – for some reason decided to get back into Bitcoin by putting $3k more into it. Bitcoin was $11k at the time.

Feb 2020 – $72,000 USD – I sold all my crypto holdings for $48k (could have sold for $58k had I done so in Jul 2019). 

Feb 2020 – My landlord scammed me of my $1500 security deposit by saying I had ‘violated house rules’ multiple times. I’ve never heard of a landlord with that kind of rule plus I wasn’t even using the place half the time yet still paid him the full rent. He also asked my copy of the contract back to him and took my last months rent; when I asked about the last months rent being taken from my security deposit he said ‘that’s not how it works’.

Mar 2020 – BTC dropped down to $5k and I did not buy it because I got burned too recently by crypto so I stayed out. Of course, it went back up to $10k the next month and I missed this opportunity. 

Mar 2020 – $6,000 USD – I decided to short the stock market because the coronavirus seemed very likely to cause a recession. I put $20k in. This seemed like a good play at the time. But for whatever reason, the stock market rebounded not long after I shorted it and so far I’m down $6k because I shorted the market too late, and because I bought stocks that were affected by COVID19 like airline stocks and travel stocks when I should have bought other cheap stocks that were not affected by COVID19. 

May 2020 – $350 – I bought a Motorola Razr Fold on ebay for $1100 which I thought at the time was a good deal (it retailed new for $1500 at the time) – and literally less than a week later, Verizon decides to cut the price of the phone in HALF with a buy 1 get 1 free deal, effectively lowering the price of the phone to $750. So FML, seriously.

May 2020 – found out I’m getting 8.5% – 12% back from the QCX lawsuit because 100% of the big whales that were using the exchange had filed a claim and EY apparently didn’t think any of them were suspicious and we are probably going by Apr 15 crypto valuations (date of the bankruptcy). Oh yeah and CRA is going after us too. Nice.

Jun 2020 – I STILL have not received my tax refund from the CRA – they mailed it to the wrong address, then I couldn’t get in contact with them – they kept hanging up the phone – until May, then the agent told me they would send me a replacement check to the new address. 3 weeks later, I called them again asking where my check is and they said oh they were supposed to send me this form to fill out and return to them. I have to sign it with a witness saying that I have not received my refund check yet and then mail it back to them. Then they have to do an investigation to prove that I didn’t receive it. So that’s going to be another 2 months of waiting. This is insane.

See? I’ve not made a single cent in capital gains since Jan 2018 – all stupid losses. My timing is just so horrible. I have a LOT of capital losses to report on my tax return…