A white crystalline powder, resembling coarse salt. It is commonly known as MSG and is derived from an amino acid called glutamic acid (glutamate). This natural amino acid is found in seaweed, vegetables, cereal gluten, and the residue of sugar beets. MSG is a popular flavor enhancer in Japanese and Chinese cooking. It has no distinct flavor of its own, but has the ability to intensify the flavor of savory foods. Some people react negatively to MSG and experience dizziness, headache, flushing or burning sensations. MSG is found in the spice section of supermarkets.