Natto Now, Natto (for) Ever: Japanese Fermented Soybeans

Natto (なっとう/納豆) refers to the Japanese April Fool’s joke breakfast consisting of fermented soybeans.  As legumes they’re a good source of fiber and protein, and natto has the added benefits of offering ample amounts of the B-vitamin complex, vitamin C and vitamin K.

BUT WAIT, there’s more…

Tokyo, Matsuya - Natto (Fermented Soybeans)…natto is among the slimiest things to have ever been considered food.  Probably.  Even okra shudders at the sight of natto. It’s apparently not as popular in western Japan, but then again, nor are airports that don’t sink.

During my first visit to Japan in 2000, my host family once challenged me to consume a bowl of natto and a bowl of vinegared rice (in other words, rice used in sushi).

End result?  Jonathan: 1, Japan: 0.

In fact, there’s a weird sub-genre of Japanese cooking called nebaneba ( ねばねば /粘々) which regards slimy and/or sticky foods.  Natto is on the list, as are tororo, or grated yam, okra, and a few types of seaweed.  Try a ねばねば, or nebaneba don, which combines all of that stuff with a raw egg.

How does a bowl of natto in the morning sound to you?


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5 Responses to Natto Now, Natto (for) Ever: Japanese Fermented Soybeans

  1. I LOVE natto! Actually, I think it’s not considered vegetarian as the fermentation is started by a meat-product. I’m not sure though, I just heard it from a friend.
    I’m planning on going back to Japan in October or November. I went in June last year and it was just too hot to enjoy things, so I’d like to go when it’s cooler this time.

    • Glad to hear another of us doesn’t mind it either;)

      Ah, no kidding about the vegetarian thing? I couldn’t get a definitive answer, but I’ll amend the post now.

      October sounds like a quality time to visit…日本にどこに行くつもりなの?

      • This time we’re planning on landing into Osaka (Turkish air are doing some good deals) and then going down to Fukuoka and Kumamoto. I want to get some 本物馬刺!

  2. I have never had natto, although many of my Japanese friends either love it or hate it. It seems very healthy though, I hope that I will be able to try it soon!

  3. Pingback: Review: Japan’s J!NS (JINS) Eyeglasses | buildingmybento


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