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Posted @ January 27, 2005 18:37 JST(+09:00) [ Foods & Recipes ]

Nattou with white rice

納豆(なっとう - Nattou/Natto ) soybeans fermented in their own bacteria

See larger image to my flickr

A chat friend of mine asked about nattou. He visited in Japan for business trip. During his visiting, he experienced some kind of Japanese foods like tofu or tororo, and quite loved them since he is basically natural & healthy food lover anyway. He was also told about nattou several times, but everyone who explained about it told like "Well, you must hate it, so would better NOT to try to have it".

The reasons why we assume foreign people may hate natto and tend to say so may be ;

  • Too slimy to even handle with chopstics (or other things).
  • Since it's fermented food, smells not good.

Well, however so, he seems to regret not to try it while he was here. For him, he really enjoyed having tororo (it's another slimy dish - not fermented though - made by Japanese yam), and about smelling, fermented foods' smell like strong cheese are usually acceptable.

Fortunately, he's living near New York, and knows there's a big Japanese supermarket there, so he is willing to get some from there and try to have it. But he doesn't know "how to eat".

Here's details of most popular (I guess - at least at my house) way to eat nattou with white rice as breakfast.

See larger image to my flickrReady for natto and bowl for mixing. The white pack is regular nattou pack sold at supermarket in Japan. An egg is just optional. Here in Japan, people blends something optionally. For example; long green onion (similar to leek) or perilla or dried tangle and so on.

See larger image to my flickrThese are contents of usual nattou package. Japanese masterd, dashi shouyu (seasoning soy sauce) and nattou.

See larger image to my flickrPutting them to a bowl altogether. Again though, egg (this time, only yolk part though) is just optional. And I think most of other food cultures never eat raw egg - and markets either aren't suppose to sell them for edible as raw egg, in that case, it would be dangerous because of salmonella infection. Though you can add something else if you prefer (I don't know it's true or not though, I heard it helps nattou smell a bit mild). Anyway, then stir them up with chopsticks or whatever round and round and round... The more stiring, the more slimy. And we say; the more slimy, the more tasty. :)

See larger image to my flickrOkay, then ready for your plain white rice (mine is blend with sprouted brown rice - more healthy than only complete grain rice). And here is natto becoming slimy.

See larger image to my flickrThen just put nattou onto rice. Enjoy eating (or struggle with slimy strings) ! That's it.

Actually even in Japan, Japanese in southern part tend to (or is called) hate natto. When I was in university, one of my good friend from Osaka area told me, "I won't talk to you the time when you had nattou". Or even in Tokyo area, my best friend is still big nattou hater (but she sometimes buys nattou for her husband).

I actually really don't know exactly how foreign residents/toolists in Japan consider about nattou generally. Around me; One said "if someone would serve me nattou, I would throw it away behind his/her back (but I don't think this guy even never tried to eat it before)", one said "Nattou ?! Yuck !!! Too stinky ! (in this guy's case, gave up before eating because of smell)", or one said "Oh, a stranger reccomended nattou to me, so I had. It was not so bad (this guy had NO preknowledge about nattou at all and had it as a sushi roll)".

I guess especially for residents, prejudice bothers a lot - and Japanese people may help it as well.

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At February 12, 2005 07:04 PM, Mark said...

Gorgeous colours for a so-called 'slimy' dish, Y.
The germans say "man ist was er isst" (you are what you eat) and I would hate to think what I have become by eating kimchi every week!
Nice looking site too, please keep posting food!

At February 12, 2005 07:27 PM, browneyes said...

I am what I eat ???
Then I have to be slimy and smells bad. :p
Well, somehow fresh as raw fish but not dead yet.

I like kimuchi too. Though, kimuchi in Japan may be modified suitable for Japanese taste. Wish to have original one someday.

At February 16, 2005 02:24 PM, Mark said...

only if you believe ze Germans

At March 31, 2005 02:23 PM, Alex said...

Well. I sure haven't eat that before... but I still think I'm too coward to do it. :P Besides, I don't like eggs... raw eggs would be... >> dangerous. LOL
Nah, but it really looks... different. :) In a good way, I mean.

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