January 7, 2012

"Who wants more delicious natto?"

My wife worked in Japan for two years, and while there, the question she was asked most often was, "Do you like natto?"

If you've never heard of it, natto is a fermented soybean dish that has been described as "stinky, slimy, and chunky."

Or, as my wife says, "It looks like poop and smells like poop. As for the taste—"

And she went silent.

I was thinking about natto because I was just going through That's Disgusting, a fascinating new book by Rachel Herz. She explains how fermentation is what happens when a food is broken down by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms. How do you get a food to ferment? The quick answer is just let it lay around. The bacteria will do the heavy lifting. (This is how both wine and cheese get made.)

There are millions of bacteria inside of you right now, and they're almost all helpful or neutral. There's only about fifty bacteria species that hurt humans, so it's perfectly okay to eat something like natto. The only bad things that could happen are:

  • You might barf from eating something that's stinky, slimy, and chunky, AND...
  • Your taste-buds might flee your mouth, since you're obviously too irresponsible to take care of them. 

That's Disgusting is for older readers. I highly recommend it! *gag*


  1. Nattou is ultra-delicious to me.

  2. So, have you tried it? I find it odd if you haven't considering your strong opinion

  3. My wife has such good taste, I trust her judgment implicitly when it comes to bad ones.

  4. nicolo ceccarelliJuly 20, 2014 at 7:18 AM

    well I have eaten it many years ago, and I found it truly horrible...it is probably a cultural thing (I am an italian 'gourmand'), and I respect those who like it, but to me it tasted (literally) like garbage.


No bad words, thanks!