Kitchn Love Letters

Omsom’s IYKYK Seasoning Set Is a Gift to Those Who Get It — And a Delicious Lesson for Those Who Don’t

published Nov 8, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Omsom IYKYK Shaker Set Review
Credit: Omsom

I was a little skeptical at first about Asian food brand Omsom’s IYKYK Shaker Set. The three-piece shaker set of salt, pepper, and MSG was cute, but seemed a little superfluous for my kitchen because I already have all three.

In fact, my DIY MSG shaker is a repurposed Kirkland spice container, arguably the most Asian kitchenware there is. I keep it within arm’s reach for spice rubs, fried rice, gravy, popcorn, and more, but I certainly don’t give it visible counter space. It serves its utility as a secret weapon, a little boost of “umami dust” I can sprinkle over whatever needs a little oomph. 

But it wasn’t until I flipped the box over that I really started to understand the heart of this set. There are suggested uses for those new to MSG, but there’s also a brief yet important history of the racist roots and misinformation spread about this misunderstood seasoning. It’s a stinging reminder to those of us who have been subjected to anti-Asian sentiment, and potentially eye-opening to those who haven’t. 

Credit: Omsom

The launch of this limited-time product is not just about flavor (which is great), but about making a “proud and loud” statement. This isn’t kitchenware — this is tableware. The graphically rowdy, solid beechwood shakers made by Areaware were designed for you to take notice. As a millennial, Asian American, and double Taurus who is committed to food and flavor, and most certainly the aesthetic lifestyle, I can get behind that. 

Omsom could have just made the MSG shaker on its own, but packaging it as a set is what makes it so impactful. It’s a conversation starter when you see it at the center of the table alongside plain ol’ salt and pepper — you know, “everyday” flavor boosters. If you’re one of those “in the know,” it’s refreshing to see the humble and historically maligned ingredient getting the care and attention it’s always deserved.

But if you’re not someone who’s familiar with MSG, you may wonder what this third seasoning is next to the bread and butter of the American cooking flavor profile. (Hint: MSG is to salt and pepper as salt is to bread and butter.) It’s the perfect way to spark honest and open conversation, no matter your personal experience with it. Flavors aside, this giftable set is also perfect for anyone who’s a fan of Omsom’s distinct branding, or what I refer to as “chaotic good.”

Cultural education isn’t always the easiest lift on those who hold the knowledge. But being gathered around the table is the perfect time for teaching and listening, sharing about what makes us all unique. And how to make your dinner more delicious.