Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Natto: like marmite, you either love it or hate it

The Japanese eat a food called “natto” (なっとう or 納豆) Natto is made from fermented soybeans. They eat it with on top of their rice and it’s a popular dish for breakfast. I’ve seriously never seen anything like it. When you pick the beans up with your chopsticks, they come away like sticky glue. Think picking chewing gum off your jeans.

Not only does it look strange but natto has a really acquired taste. Some people say it tastes like a strong cheese, I think it’s more like smelly socks. I guess it’s the equivalent of marmite, you either love it or hate it. I’m afraid I fall into the latter category.

You can’t come to Japan without at least giving it a try. The most likely place you'll find it is a traditional ryokan (Japanese inn) but I also know that any Japanese Denny's serve it up for breakfast too.

Try it and let me know what you think…!

1 comment:

  1. I almost gagged the first time I tried natto (admittedly, I tried it straight without soy sauce). Now, I'm surprised to say, that I actually like it.

    It took me a bit of time to acclimate, but you can do it if you want to. (As a vegetarian, I had motivation). If you want to learn to like it, I recommend starting off trying natto rolls (sushi rolls with natto in them). You can find them at convenience stores. Douse them in a LOT of soy sauce, and you can hardly notice the natto.

    Straight off on rice is a daunting task!