Japanese superfood natto

Food & Recipes door thijs

This month is all about reinventing yourself. A while ago I wanted to start reinventing my cooking style and tried to add new foods in my kitchen. From bugs to seaweed to new fruits for my Miyogi's. I want to present to you: natto. It's one of Japan's most unique and traditional health foods. Natto are fermented soy beans that are high in protein. For Japanese people this dish is considered a real 'superfood'. The fact that natto is known as one of Japans health secrets triggered me to try it. Did you ever heard of superfood natto before?

'Natto' is known for it’s unique smell and taste, positive and negative. When you look at pictures, it has this slimy and sticky texture. Japanese say the smell of natto is very unique. “It smels like a very strong french cheese”, my friend said. The texture and the smell are a result of the fermentation process of the soy beans. The Japanese love to eat this dish for breakfast with a bowl of rice. Can you imagine eating sticky and smelly beans for breakfast? Something different than my regular bowls of fresh fruits and yogurt. :)

This was in my natto package:

  • Natto
  • Japanese mustard
  • Soy sauce

Before you start eating.. Mix the mustard and soy sauce together with the natto. For the ultimate Japanese experience: eat with chopsticks!

A first time for everything
I first ate natto when I was in Paris working as a hostess for a Japanese company. The last day of work, one of my collegues brought a package of natto for me to try.

Smell. It does have a very strong smell. I  brought a package to #FITGIRLCODE HQ and opened it. Within seconds the girls started screaming: “Who took their shoes of? Ieeeh!”. I wanted to reassure the girls that it had nothing to do with bad feet. I showed them what I was eating and told them that it's considered a superfood in Japan. Suddenly they got curious ;)

Texture. When you put your chopstick in the beans and pull it up it has this amazing slimy spider web kind of texture.

Taste. Ok, I know this dish looks kinda uh 'different', but this is a kind of food that you should definitely start to learn eating. It is salty and it certainly has this strong flavour but it was the aftertaste that got me. After the creamy taste, you get a bit of bitter cheesy aftertaste. I'm really happy that I tried this traditional Japanese dish, but I have to admit: one bite is enough for me.


Breakfast Japanes style
The Japanese don't eat natto in big portions either. They eat small portions together with white rice, which neutralizes the strong taste. I made my own version of the Japanese natto breakfast and I replaced the rice with some vegetables (brocolli and mushrooms) topped of the natto with sesame seeds and served it with a green salad. It tasted pretty good (!) although I have to admit it would be best to add some white rice.

Anyway I’m glad I tried this Japanese superfood. I love to discover new things and to figure out my own healthy way of living. Want to keep posted about my other experiments? I post all my discoveries on the website and of course on my instagram Fitgirltizi