Monday, November 10, 2008

Eating Natto!

Some of you may be asking, "What is Natto?! Does such a word even exist?" The answer is, "It's fermented soybean, and yes it does!" :P

I was wondering around downtown Vancouver with a friend of mine when we stumbled upon a lovely little Japanese Grocery Store on Robson Street. It's kind of hard to miss, since it has two giant boxes of Pocky plastered to the entrance way (seriously... want to see the picture? click here). So I wandered inside, because I am a true foodie... and all foodies know that you can't just walk by a grocery store and not go inside! And so, it was in this Japanese store that I stumbled upon the triple-pack styrofoam boxes that encase the wonderous food known as natto...

I took the package home and wasn't quite sure how to eat it. I had heard about this interesting Japanese food from a couple Japanese friends (some saying it was good, other's saying that it was the devil's puke) but it was only after reading Gintama, and seeing one of the characters (Sa-chan) always holding a bowl of natto, that I dared to try the smelly beans.

If you want to see how natto is traditionally eaten, I recommend you do what I did... watch it on youtube... or for more reliable sources check out wikipedia :P

Inside the styrofoam package is the fermented soy beans, along with a packet of mustard and a packet of soy sauce.

Start by unveiling the beans. The slime coating is sticky... be careful not to get it all over your placemat, shirt and/or friends.

Add in the mustard and soy sauce packets. Then stir the mixture vigorously with your chopsticks about 15 times.
Note the gooey-ness... be glad you cannot smell the stinky-ness.

Eaten by itself, natto is a force to be reckoned with. It has a very pungent smell; but if you can get past that, you will probably enjoy the bean's taste. Adding the natto to rice helps to mellow out the flavor, while also increasing the ability to pick up the slimey buggers with your chopsticks.

I'm not sure what it is with me and food that has a slightly "off" aroma. I do like durian, and stinky tofu... and I actually really liked the natto. The only thing I didn't like about the natto was that it got all over my face; I'm not even joking. The little strings of sticky stuff were hanging off my chin by the end of the meal; so, after eating, I had to go to the washroom and wash my face... and while I was there, brush my teeth (lest someone be unfortunate enough to get a whiff of my "natto breath").

So my verdict for natto: I like it! But I'll have to remember to only snack on it when I have access to a clean washroom and toothpaste :P


Palidor said...

I tried it once and hated it! But I guess if you like durian and stinky tofu... yick!

GoodPeoples-Oski said...

Yummy! A Japanese friend of mine turned me into a natto lover. Good with a little Tapatio hot sauce mixed in with the natto, over rice.

Only thing that sucks is I can't find short-grain rice.

Word of warning- Yes, it will make your breath smell like.....well lets just say bad very bad.

Steph said...

I tried it before.. well sort of, I had one piece and that was it! Too gooey and bitter as well as some other taste I can't describe.. but if I'm ever offered it again, I'll probably eat it. I just can't help it.. too curious all the time.

silverrock said...

Hehehe... you guys are hi-larious. Ooo I'll have to try natto with Tapatio sauce... sounds like it would be delish. Steph, I know what you mean about always being curious. I would try anything twice, even if I didn't like it the first time. I like to say that it's because I want to see if my palate has changed at all.