Monosodium glutamate is used in a wide range of savory foods to create a smooth, rich and full-bodied flavor.
It can be added to meat, fish, poultry, vegetable and seafood dishes, and in many countries it is used as a table-top seasoning. In Central Europe, for example, monosodium glutamate forms the basis of a popular salad seasoning.
Like salt, glutamate can make a variety of foods more appealing, but is not itself particularly palatable. If you dissolve monosodium glutamate in water, it does not have an appealing taste. However, when it is added to soup, it improves many aspects, including taste, mouthfeel and smoothness. In one study, a group of young Americans said that a chicken soup with a small amount of monosodium glutamate was richer, more savory and meatier than the same soup without MSG.