Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Am Not Eating Natto

Before coming to Hokkaido I had never heard of natto. After being here a year and a half, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if I have tried it.  I haven’t tried it and I’m pretty sure I won’t.

If you don’t know what this is, I’ll try to describe it the best I can – smelly, slimy soy beans. It has a smell worse than blue cheese and a slime worse than the insides of okra, two other things I don’t eat. People who eat natto act like it’s the tastiest food ever.  They eat it on top of rice, and they even eat it for breakfast. I think you probably have to start eating natto when you are young; you can’t just start eating it and liking it at my age.

Wikipedia says this about natto – It’s made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtillis (whatever that is) and is a rich source of protein. It is most popular in Kanto, Tohoku, and Hokkaido and 236,000 tons of natto are eaten in Japan each year!

Maybe people eat it for the perceived health benefits, surely they can’t really like it. I’ve read that natto reduces the likelihood of blood clots, prevents osteoporosis, prevents cancer, lowers cholesterol, prevents obesity, improves digestion, and reverses the aging process.  Even if all that were true (and it may be), I just can’t bring myself to put natto in my mouth.
I’ve tried many new foods since moving here, but I will continue to just say no to natto!


Margaret said...

I'm totally with you on the natto! I tried it once with my language teacher - in my early innocent days in Japan - and never never again. There are so many other delicious foods that I don't feel guilty saying a resounding no to that one and besides it helps my Japanese friends and acquaintances feel a little superior as they all seem to like it.

Queeniepatch said...

I've been in Japan for over 30 years and I still say No, thank you! to natto. However, it IS very healthy.