We Ate Natto

2008 08 natto Recently, I wrote about a purchase Jane and I made at the Japanese market in Los Angeles… In case you don’t remember, we bought some natto (fermented soybeans). Well we finally got around to trying it last night. I have to admit to having cold feet, all those YouTube videos of people gagging and worse weren’t inspiring. So every time Jane suggested we try it, I’d reply “not tonight, I’m not in the mood honey.” ;) Last night, she didn’t ask, she just prepared the dish.

We have a few simple rules in our marriage. We try not to fight in front of friends/family. We don’t spend over $100 without discussing it first. When someone prepares a meal, the other one eats it, unless it truly makes them ill. We can ask not to be fed something again, but we have to at least try it. So, I tried it.

2008 08 natto 1

Jane opened the package, and as expected, it was sticky. However, the smell everyone talked about didn’t overwhelm us. We’d heard it was supposed to smell of stinky feet or strong cheese. It had an odor, but it was much milder and not at all offensive.

So you’re supposed to stir the stuff up a bit before eating it. It gets more and more gooey as you do that (which began to freak me out a bit). Being that this was an experiment, we tasted the natto at this point without adding anything else. It tasted a bit like beans with a hint of beer. Not bad, but in definite need of improvement.

The suggested method of eating natto is over warm white rice with soy sauce and green onion. The natto comes with spicy mustard and some other seasoning packet. Typically we don’t have white rice in the house. So we made sure to bring home our leftover rice from the Indian restaurant we ate at on Monday night. 2008 08 natto 2 Okay, so the rice had a bit of saffron, and the natto would have probably been better over sticky rice, but overall, it was okay. It’s way better than Vegemite! We thought the rice was necessary. And the sauce and onions improved the taste dramatically.

We’ll eat the other two packages, however we probably wouldn’t buy natto again. If it were served to us, we wouldn’t hesitate to eat it. Honestly, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

The package is all in Japanese, but they’ve put a little sticker on the back in English. So, we bought Kotsumbu Natto which came in three individual packages. The ingredient list:


  • Soybean
  • water


  • Soy sauce (water, soybean, wheat, salt)
  • vinegar
  • sugar
  • mustargd
  • salt and citric acid

2008 08 natto 3 Nutritional Info:

  • Calories: 140
  • Total Fat: 7g
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 9.8g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
  • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 11g