Despite being slimy and smelly and stringy, fermented soybeans, or natto, are actually really good for you. We’ve spoken before about how even lots of Japanese people have to resort to special measures in order to stomach swallowing down a bowl of these stinky beans. So it’s no surprise that these US kids have such a hard time when they were presented with a bowl of natto for the first time.
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 an acquired taste. I mean this literally – people who have eaten the sticky, kind of stinky, fermented soybeans from childhood are more likely to enjoy it than those who first encounter it as adults. But it’s also what people euphemistically call “an acquired taste”, which is to say, a lot of people think it’s gross.
These adorable puppies don’t seem to mind the stink though, as they lick their bowl clean, wolfing down Japan’s most famously unpopular food. Yum!
Like most countries around the world, Japan has quite a few delicious foods, like sushi, tempura and sukiyaki, that really stand out. But as delicious as they are, these wonderful dishes are usually only enjoyed every once in a while and are by no means what a regular Japanese person enjoys for their meals on a daily basis.
Of all the meals, a typical Japanese breakfast is perhaps what people are most curious about since it’s the least talked about (it’s not like breakfast is usually served at your local Japanese restaurant, after all!). Are Japanese people still scarfing down traditional Japanese foods each morning, or have they switched to a simpler, more Western style of breakfast? Let’s find out!
One of Japan’s favorite summertime treats is a bowl of shaved ice, or kakigori, as it’s called over here. While the most popular and common flavors are things like strawberry, melon and lemon, every now and again someplace will get really creative, like the restaurant in Kyoto that’s offering shaved ice covered with whiskey.
So now that we have nightcap-style kakigori covered, how about the opposite: a bowl of shaved ice covered with the Japanese breakfast staple natto, also known as fermented soybeans?
There are plenty of Japanese foods that meet little to no resistance on the Western palate. Soba noodles and beef bowls tend to go down easily for new arrivals, and while the weirdness factor may take some time to get over, not too many people have complaints about the flavor of things like raw fish and cod roe.
There is, however, one hurdle in Japanese gastronomic assimilation that is so high that some people never clear it: natto, or fermented soybeans. Recently, we took on the notoriously challenging (and smelly) natto with the help of a powerful ally, honey.
Whether you love it or won’t go near the stuff, there’s no denying that natto is an important part of the Japanese diet. The fermented soybeans are notorious for scaring foreigners away with their pungent odor and sticky strands. If you’re someone who’s not convinced that natto could ever taste good, then keep reading: Japanese corporation Takara Tomy Arts has recently announced a new product that guarantees the ultimate natto dining experience. Introducing the new Natto Flavor Enhancing Machine.
While traveling in Iwate Prefecture recently, one of our reporters stumbled across a brightly decorated pack of instant ramen. Although first drawn by the buxom moe character on the front, it was the name – Rare Cheese Kimchi Natto Ramen – that made this a must-buy.
Natto, which is also known as fermented soybeans, is a dish well-loved by the Japanese for its high nutritious value. Recently, we introduced a restaurant which served all-you-can-eat natto, and this time we’re back with another great natto dining experience!
Ibaraki prefecture has opened a local goods retail store and restaurant, named Ibaraki Marche, in Tokyo’s Ginza. Natto is widely used in many of the local dishes of Ibaraki, so one can expect Ibaraki Marche to serve the best tasting natto.
Ms. Rinko, a reporter over at our Japanese sister site Pouch, headed over to the restaurant to try out their natto lunch.
Natto, also known as fermented soybeans, is a unique food hailing from Japan. The smell alone (often described as smelly feet or chemicals), not to mention the slug-like texture, are enough to turn even the most adventurous eaters away. But for some, natto is a delicious and healthy treat that is enjoyed daily.
A restaurant in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo is now offering patrons all the natto they can fit in their bellies for 780 yen (US $8.50). The all-you-can-eat natto lunch gives natto lovers a great deal on a delicious meal and natto haters a cheap way to challenge themselves to eat as much fermented soybean as they can before throwing up. Why would you want to do that? We don’t know, but now you can if you want to.
This site has covered some frankly ridiculous foods in the past. Who could forget our articles on deep-fried caterpillars, the 1050-bacon strip Whopper, or the bright blue curry challenge? But this is the first time we’ve covered something that actually made me throw up in my mouth a little.
A sandwich shop in Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, has conjured up this ungodly creation and, even more strangely, it seems people want to eat it. It’s called the Natto-Coffee Gelatin Sandwich, and that is exactly what it is: natto and coffee gelatin slathered with whipped cream and plopped on some unoffending white bread. For those of you unfamiliar with natto, it is an extremely stinky and sticky food made from fermented soybeans. Yes, rotting soybeans.
Inexplicably, this sandwich has become one of the shop’s most popular items, leading the representative director Koji Suzumura to explain their motivation in creating this abomination. Read More
I’m sure we’d all like to think that our friends and loved ones smile whenever they see our names pop up on their phones, and that each text message or email appears alongside a cute nickname or something informal and loving. But if you caught sight of your better half’s mobile phone screen while you were calling them and “Stinky Soy Beans” popped up, you might not be too pleased.
Over at My Navi News Q&A — a service not unlike Yahoo! Answers which, as we saw yesterday, can yield some pretty interesting responses of its own — a 26-year-old woman in Japan shared her worries after discovering that her boyfriend had entered her name on his smartphone as “nattō: GM Free”, fermented soybeans renown and hated by many for their strong smell and extremely gooey texture.
Happy belated Natto Day everyone! Don’t worry if your calendar doesn’t have 10 July marked off as the day to celebrate Japan’s sticky smelly and healthy fermented soy bean dish, it appears no one’s is.
It is, however, the date the Kanazawa University has chosen to launch a trial run of Sky Natto which is natto fermented in bacteria harvested from 3000 meters above the Earth.