The Stinkiest and Healthiest Japanese Food: Natto

It is known to be a very stinky food. The looks aren’t too promising either -some people describe it as looking like boogers swimming in pond scum (sorry). The reality sounds gross too: it is fermented soybeans. Most people think the taste is horrible. It tastes just like it smells.

What am I talking about? Natto.

Natto in package

The Superfood

Despite the looks (above) and taste though, natto is said to be a super food, with many benefits including strengthening bones, stopping diseases and lowering blood pressure. Many Japanese eat natto on rice every morning … this might be one reason for the long lives of Japanese people, who knows!

The Making of Natto

First, the workers wash the soybeans for a while, then soak it in water for 18 hours. The soaking causes the beans to double in size. Then, they steam the beans for an hour at a temperature of 248 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, they introduce a bacterium called Bacillus subtilis to the steamed beans. This is the substance that makes natto so healthy.

After that they put the beans into their packages while they still aren’t sticky, and put them into the fermentation process, which takes 18 hours.

Then, the smooth, soybeans turn into gooey, sticky, natto!

Eating Natto

Usually, Japanese who eat natto for breakfast don’t eat natto just right out of the package. It is considered normal to pour in some soy sauce, green onion, maybe some mustard, and a raw egg yoke (which helps your brain work faster, they say) before digging in. Many things go well with natto, so some people put natto on their lunch or dinner as well!

The Decision

So, are you willing to try natto? Or are you scared of the looks showed in the picture above? Are you attracted by the surprising health benefits natto brings? Or does the smell make you hesitate? Let me know in the comments.

But as for me, I enjoy the gooey yumminess of natto!

3 thoughts on “The Stinkiest and Healthiest Japanese Food: Natto

  1. I couldn’t seem to comment on another page so tried this and it came up. I enjoy your writing very much and learn a lot about Japan. It amazes me that you are writing a novel! Great!! I also will be praying for your friend so God will open his heart and mind to the gospel. Thanks, Judy Maifeld (Humboldt, IA)


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