New Things

Jane and I tend to be adventurous eaters. By that I mean that we're always willing to try new foods. Occasionally the "ick" factor overwhelms us, but for the most part, we believe you don't know if you like something until you try it.

Jane has recently heard about a Japanese food called natto, a fermented soybean dish which she is interested in trying. I'm not sure why she wants to try this, but she does. So tonight, after dinner at our favorite vegan restaurant, Shojin (in little Tokyo), we stopped off at the Japanese grocery store in the same mall. We bought a few staples, some miso, rice wine vinegar, panko bread crumbs... and natto.

So what is natto? Natto is a traditional Japanese dish of fermented soybeans. So what's the big deal about natto? Well, apparently it has a very strong odor and mucilaginous consistency, both of which make it rather unpalatable for some people. If you look up natto on YouTube there are many videos showing what it is and how to eat it (including a number of of videos which show people "giving back" their eaten natto). This video shows what it is and how to eat it.

If you're going to try it yourself make sure to read the ingredient labels carefully. Most of the varieties of natto we found contained Bonito shavings. Bonito is a type of fish. We also found natto with scallop powder (huh?). The variety we bought appears to be vegan, meaning there are no discernable animal products. I'm not sure when we'll be eating this, but whenever it is, I'm sure there'll be a follow-up post.

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Comments

  1. This is definetly one interesting thing to eat! My old flatmate is Japanese and ate it. She said it is great for your skin/hair etc. I tried a small bit and it is definetly something you remember! :)

  2. Hi Amanda,
    Wow, you’re making me really want to try this stuff. :)
    Jane and I were fortunate enough to be in NZ two years ago. One of the hotels we were in, in Rotorua, had vegemite available for breakfast. Jane had one bite (I’d tried it previously). It’s definitely something we remember.

  3. Hmm. Natto looks pretty gross. Sort of like the rice crispy treats of dog food. I’m curious to see how it tastes. Good luck!

  4. Oh dear. Good luck with the natto. I tried it in sushi once and wasn’t even able to swallow it. But I’ll never forget it!

  5. I think it really depends on who prepares the natto. I’ve had a range from really good (in Japan, though, of course), to some really nasty-tasting. Or maybe it was just me. Either way, it’s worth trying and I’m curious to see what you and Jane thought of it, so please post it!
    Thanks

    Val

  6. My homestay family had me try this in Japan, ugh! it was so gross. It really seems to be an acquired taste though. It probably didn’t even taste so bad, it’s just the look, texture, and the smell that affects your perception of its taste, I think… An American friend of mine (of Japanese and Colombian descent, but Californian born and raised) loves it.

  7. Since it’s fermented, does that mean it’s likely to contain B12?
    What’s your opinion on supplements, B12, and fermentation re. veganism?

  8. Hi Nicole,
    Well, I used to like rice crispy treats… So that’s a good thing.

    Hi Seitan,
    Hmmm, now I’m getting nervous!

    Hi Val,
    We’ll definitely write up a post. And it will be within the next 2 weeks. I think the package expires then. Jane’s been itching to try it, but I haven’t worked up the nerve yet.

    Hi Elaine,
    I’m not sure if it contains B12. I didn’t look over the package much, other than to investigate the ingredients. As for supplements, I’m loathe to get into that topic as I don’t have a degree in nutrition. My doctor referred Jane and me to a dietician early on. She recommended a multivitamin to cover all the bases, flax seed oil, a b-complex supplement, and nutritional yeast on a regular basis.
    What’s your point of view?

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