For years, the foodie "movement" was defined by its pretension: complicated cocktails were served in twee Mason jars, exotic spices topped affected dishes, and every trashy pastry was elevated into a delicacy. But that era's over. Now in San Francisco, the new leading exporter of obnoxiousness, there's a new king in the cupboard: monosodium glutamate.

In recent weeks, a lowbrow backlash against health food norms has hit some of San Francisco's trendiest eateries. Take Mission Chinese Food, the restaurant that's the darling of the New York Times: earlier today, they tossed salt shakers full of MSG on all their tables, announcing to the world that an "authenticity option [is] now available."

And Mission Chinese Food is following in the footsteps of another nearby restaurant called SO. Two weeks ago, SO's chef-owner stormed out of the restaurant after picky customers complained. But before he left, he posted a sign telling eaters to fuck off about MSG and organic food.

According to Eater SF, local chefs have begun coming around to the flavor-enhancing properties of MSG:

[Mission Chinese Food's] culinary pranksters also CCed superchef David Chang, who famously gave a talk saying that claims of MSG being dangerous were just hooey. Considering that this guy lived on it for a week and thought it made all his food taste better, it seems like a safe enough bet.

With that, the cocaine of the food world gets the coveted foodie nod. Look forward to it sweeping Brooklyn's faux-bohemian neighborhoods shortly.

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Photos: Mission Chinese Food and ABC 7