Natto: Fermented Soy Bean

It’s my favorite breakfast item: Natto. It’s fermented soybean which has distinctive smell and sticky, slimy texture. I won’t lie, it’s an acquired taste, but hope you’ll give it a try! I’ll share some different ways to enjoy this Japanese delicacy.

Natto Gohan

First, the standard–mustard, scallion, and bonito flake. With a dash of soy sauce, it’s perfect with a bowl of warm rice. You want to stir the soybean first before adding anything until it become white with the slimy strings around. Then add toppings and soy sauce. You can add almost anything to Natto Gohan (rice with Natto), but a few of favorite are nori, egg (raw would be good), cod roe, pickled vegetable, salted kombu, etc., etc.

Natto Omelet

You can make omelet with Natto. When it’s cooked, the sliminess will go away a little and easier to eat if you are not a fan of the texture. Soy sauce will be the best condiment for Natto Omelet. Here I have scallion in the egg mix and added bonito flake topping.

Natto Maki

And you can try Natto Maki, which you should be able to find at most of the sushi places. This might be the best way to experience Natto for the first time. Sliminess is reduced with rice and nori wrapped around, and by dipping in soy sauce you will camouflage some of the smell too.

Anyway, Natto is not just a tasty food (for those who like it) but also very nutritious food. A serving of nattō (100 g) provides 29% of the Daily value (DV) of vitamin K, 22% of the DV for vitamin C, 76% of the DV for manganese, 48% of the DV for iron, and 22% of the DV for dietary fiber.* (* source: Wikipedia)

Natto in package

You can find so many variety of Natto in a Japanese market. Some are made with small size soybean and some are large, and come with different flavor of tare (sauce). Once you are accustomed to the taste, try different ones and find your favorite!