Slimy, sticky, and stinky – natto is a triumvirate of all the things picky eaters are likely to find unpalatable. While these fermented beans are actually incredibly good for your health (being rich in vitamins and fibre), they’re nonetheless something that even most Japanese people don’t like eating. But now there’s a new miracle product which claims to make natto perfectly tasty and edible, even for die-hard natto haters.
Natto is generally sold in little tubs with a sachet of sauce and one of mustard. The most common way to eat it is to mix it up (really, really well) with the sauce and mustard and then pour it over hot white rice. There’s nothing stopping you from getting creative and adding a soft-boiled egg or some chopped green onions, too. Yes, you’re likely to end up with slimy stuff all over your chopsticks and chin, but natto is actually pretty yummy if you develop the taste for it.
Unfortunately, some people never do and it becomes one of those culinary Achilles’ heels that divides us into Natto Eaters and Natto Haters. (In that sense, it’s pretty similar to Marmite in that you either love it or you hate it, and if you’re on the fence, you’re not to be trusted!)
▼ A tub of natto with sauce and mustard. The sliminess really kicks in once you mix it all up.
The new powder comes in plum, kimchi and wasabi flavours, and was apparently the result of an experiment conducted with a focus group of 10 Natto Haters. The Natto Haters were asked what could be done to natto to make them willing to eat it, and apparently what they came up with was adding flavour flakes to conceal the taste and odour of the natto. Plum, kimchi and wasabi were chosen for their strong tastes.
@Press (@miraiz_atp) March 24, 2015
The natto powders go on sale from March 30 and cost 400 yen (US$3.35) per packet, which makes them pretty expensive for a pack of flavour flakes.
Hmm, I can’t help thinking that this looks a lot like regular furikake, which I’m already pretty fond of shaking over my natto already. If you’ve got a problem with the sliminess or the general texture of natto then I’m kind of doubtful that a bunch of flavoured flakes are going to help. These sprinkles seem like a placebo to me. After all, food prejudices tend to be all in the mind.
Have you ever eaten natto? Are you a lover or a hater?
Images: © Evie Lund/RocketNews24