Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

The Terrible Natto

Photo: Taku on Flickr

The Terrible Natto

Sanny Soedjatmiko Hartanto

Maybe some of you have heard about the famous terrible food in Japan. It is Natto. Not only its appearance, but also it has really strong smell. Fortunately, it is known that Natto has really good benefits for your health. Japanese people love to eat Natto with warm rice, and sometimes they also pour raw egg on it. Well, let’s learn more about this terrible Natto and its benefits.


Photo : Yosomono on Flickr
Natto is basically fermented soybeans. They are fermented with Bacillus subtilis. Japanese people usually mixed them with Karashi (or known as Japanese mustard in Japanese), and soy sauce before they pour on warm rice. In Japan, Natto is really famous in the eastern regions, and Hokkaido. Japanese people also mixed it with Okra too to be eaten with warm rice.

The Appearance

Photo : JD on Flickr
As I said before, the appearance of this Natto is really terrible. When you stir it, it will produce lots of sticky strings that look like a little bit disgusting. Honestly, the appearance is not the main reason. The first reason is the smell, somewhat akin to a pungent cheese.

Natto Dishes

Photo : LWYang on Flickr
The easiest way to eat Natto is just to mix it with soy sauce, and pour them on warm rice. I recommend you to eat it with warm rice. If the rice is not warm enough, I can assure you that it will be more terrible. Japanese people also use it for many kinds of food, such as topping for pizza, sushi, soup, onigiri, and etc.


Photo : Chris Lewis on Flickr

The Benefits

Natto is really good for your health. By mass, Natto is 55% water, 18% protein, 11% fats, 5% fiber, and 5% sugars. 100g Natto also contains 29% of the daily value of vitamin K, and 22% of the daily value of vitamin C. The nutrients such as vitamin K and vitamin C have good effects on cancer prevention. It is also known that its vitamin K is good for osteoporosis.

The Packaging

Photo : snowpea&bokchoi on Flickr
The most common packaging for Natto is white Styrofoam packaged, with Karashi and soy sauce, and it is usually sold per 3 packs or 5 packs.

My Own Experience

The first time I tried Natto, I felt it was disgusting. How can I eat this thing? When I opened the box, I tried to smell it, and yes its smell is really terrible. When you start to stir it, it produces so many sticky strings that make the appearance worse. I didn't care about its appearance, and just poured it on warm rice. I ate it, and the taste was not as bad as I thought. I have tried to mix them with raw egg too, and it makes more delicious. Maybe the first problem is the appearance and the smell. For the taste, I can assure you that it is not bad. If you want to buy some boxes of Natto from supermarket in Japan, I recommend you not to buy the cheapest one. Cheaper Natto produces worse smell. For your health, try to eat them once in a week.