It’s Natto Bad

Despite Because of the countless YouTube videos I watched of people retching and dry heaving when they ate natto for the first time, I wanted to try it. Perhaps I wanted to tap into some weird Anthony Bourdain-esque side of myself. The first time I tried it, I lightly touched my tongue on one bean before I finally worked up the courage to stick the whole thing in my mouth. Now, I can’t imagine natto having natto in my life!

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I’ve only been able to find it at my local asian market for just shy of $2 a pack. It comes frozen and I stick it in the fridge overnight to thaw.

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Each little packet comes with 2 sauces: hot mustard and another sauce that is not vegan because it has bonito (aka fish) extract. I discard the non-vegan sauce.

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Peeling back the plastic wrap immediately reveals the stringy, fermented soybeans.

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I squeeze the whole mustard packet on them.

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Then I pour some thin soy sauce on them, or as my mom calls it “tin sauce”. I pick on her accent because it’s cute and I love her. Thin soy sauce is exactly as it sounds, thinner than regular soy sauce and slightly saltier. We use it in place of fish sauce in recipes.


Next, I stir it all up with a pair of chopsticks to “activate” all the natto slime. Every bean is then covered with a slimy, boogery goo..appetizing, eh?

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I stir in some chopped green onions,


pour it on some jasmine rice and sprinkle it with more green onions. This day I also ate it with some grape tomatoes.

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This is my favorite way to eat natto but I’ll also eat it without the rice. I eat it for breakfast and for a light snack. In my opinion natto tastes nutty, savory and slightly salty. It never stank to me from the get-go and I didn’t have to “grow into” liking the taste. This leads me to wonder if I got a variety that has been deodorized. I don’t think I did though because N says it smells like stinky feet and/or his B.O. Perhaps my sense of smell is off or maybe I like stinky smells now *shrugs*.

IMG_3502 _SnapseedIt seems like people either hate natto or love it and I am definitely the latter which makes me happy because it supposedly has a lot of health benefits. Now if I only had the courage to try durian…

Are there any stinky vegan foods you like to eat?


18 thoughts on “It’s Natto Bad

  1. Kristiina

    I’ve never even heard of it! I’ll have to see if they have it at the Asian Market where I shop. So I have a couple of questions though. 1. What are the health benefits? 2. So you just eat it at room temp, cold, warm?

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I don’t know for certain about these health benefits but I’ve heard it has a lot of Vitamin K, protein and can be good for the immune system as well as heart health. Here is the wiki page on it with more info:ō and if you google more you might find more health info on it from reputable sources.

      I eat it straight from the fridge after mixing it up, but I usually put in on warm jasmine rice. So when the warm rice mixes with the colder natto, it ends up being about room temp.

      If you find some, definitely give it a try. While I loved it from the start, some do say it is an acquired taste.

  2. Richgail Enriquez

    I’ve seen natto in sushi menus before but never really tried it. Now I’m very curious!

      1. Richgail Enriquez

        I saw it at a vegan Japanese restaurant but yes I’ll be careful with other restaurants. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Molly

    I’ve never heard of natto before! If I ever see it I’ll have to get some & try it out. It sounds like a taste I’d like from your description. 🙂

  4. Maggie Muggins

    I’ve never seen or heard of natto before…and by the looks of it, I’m ok with that. I’m uber picky about textures, so even if I thought it tasted great I don’t think I could get past that snot like texture. The very same reason I can’t drink kombuca!

  5. cupcakecottle

    YUM I love natto, reminds me of my childhood. My Grandma was a Little Japanese lady, knew barely any english but she would have us over when we were sick. Make us food and say “Eat now, good for body”. She would place a bowel of Natto, raw egg (that came from her chickens), takikiomi gohan (Japanese mixed rice), and serve it up to us with a shot of sake and the next day our cold symptoms would be gone. Now that I am older I realize how nutrient filled natto is and I love the taste. Heres a cool article i found about the health benefits. (P.S. When I was vegan many moons ago I loved making natto sushi rolls you should try it out 🙂

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Thanks for the link to the health benefits. I may have to try eating natto when I start to feel sick to see if it helps! And I will definitely try adding it to my sushi next time we make some. Thanks for the tip!

  6. veggiebentolove

    I’ve heard of natto, have seen it in the Asian supermarket, but have never been brave enough to try it. I’m really not so sure about it still, although your post might be one I come back to a few more times to read through more times…

  7. Cadry's Kitchen (@Cadryskitchen)

    Whoa, I’ve never heard of natto before now, but this makes me really curious to try it at least once. I generally really like very pungent foods, and so this might be a hit with me. My favorite stinky foods are sauerkraut, horseradish, and hot mustard.


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