After 5 trips to Japan you would have thought that I would’ve tasted natto at one point. But, no I have managed to avoid them at every stage. Not so much avoid, as I’ve always wanted to try it, but have just never really come across it. Steve tasted natto once before at a restaurant in Melbourne. He said it tasted like paint thinner and was on the brink of sending it back as it must be off, before deciding that’s just what it’s meant to taste like. I’ve been curious for a long time now to see if it really is as bad as everyone says.
Oh, and for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about – natto is fermented soy beans. They are notorious for their stickiness and smelliness – but they are really healthy and are a staple in the Japanese diet.
Lucky for me, my favourite Japanese food store in Subiaco now stocks a wide range of Natto products. Not really knowing which one to choose, I randomly picked one based upon the package design. The beans come frozen in seperate little styrofoam packs, with a small packet of mustard and tare (sauce) that you mix through.
Check out the stickiness! It’s like a pizza with extra gooey mozzarella, except not. When I first opened the packet I was a little disappointed that the smell was no where near as strong as I had been led to believe. However, I was cooking Japanese curry and oysters at the same time, so maybe the smell was overpowered. I tried a couple beans on their own before mixing the sauce through. They were rather unpleasant with a chemically kind of taste. I decided it would be best to mix the sauces through. The Natto gets stickier the more you mix it. It’s kind of cool. Then I tried some on rice, and I won’t lie, it wasn’t the most delicious thing I’ve ever had BUT it wasn’t too bad either. And it was strangely addictive with a kind of meaty taste. By the end of the packet I was actually quite enjoying it. I will totally be having them again – well I’ve got some more packs in the freezer so I kind of have to. Overall, not so bad.