Sriracha may inspire crazy blog posts and foodie adoration; but when it comes to world domination, it's got nothing on Maggi. PRI's The World has a great story about the stuff in the distinctive genie-like bottle. The brand is so ingrained in just about every culture in every part of the world, it's often mistaken for indigenous. Pretty good for what's essentially liquid MSG.
When it comes to home cooking, immigrants from countries as far apart as Nigeria, the Philippines and Poland share a common ingredient. They all use a condiment called Maggi seasoning. And they all think it belongs to them.
Edwin Goei was born on the island of Java, grew up in La Habra, studied in Irvine, and eats everywhere. Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, he went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.