My Friend the Nattou

Following a Sunday where I delighted myself with a traditional Irish breakfast (blood pudding is delicious), I spent Labor Day with friends at the New Jersey Japanese-based Mall known as Mitsuwa. The last time I was there was over a year ago, and I looked to relive some of that experience, particularly when it came to my dining experience. I knew before I even went that I had to get the Nattou Set, otherwise known as a traditional Japanese breakfast. And just as the idea of a pudding made of blood turns some off, so does the sticky stringy fermented soybean dish known as nattou.

I am well aware of the fact that nattou is easily purchasable in New York City, but I tend to not buy it these days as a courtesy to others. I owe a lot to nattou, as it was the key food in keeping me healthy and keeping my wallet fat while I studied in Japan. It is perhaps as important to my time in Japan as my bicycle and Ogiue (Ogiue riding a bike while eating nattou?) The traditional nattou-based breakfast is a combination of rice, nattou, and raw egg. Each bite was a combination of satisfaction, strong-yet-pleasant flavor, and nostalgia.

It is delicious, if you’re me. A friend of mine who accompanied me to Mitsuwa knew of my affinity for nattou, and so he decided to try it for the first time. One whiff and he decided to hand it over to me. I was happy to oblige.

As an aside, I thought of purchasing some manga or something while I was there, and I had my eye on a volume of the original Japanese Kino’s Journey light novel. I then realized that, having seen the anime, I already knew much of the story and decided to hold off on it, at least for now. Oh, but Volume 7 of La Sommeliere is out. I’m only up to volume 3, so I can’t jump the gun just yet. Sadly I couldn’t find Patrick Macias’ “Otaku in USA,” though I’m sure Kinokuniya or something has it. No worries there.

6 thoughts on “My Friend the Nattou

  1. I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t think I’ll be trying blood pudding anytime soon, but natto sounds interesting…always looking for interesting ways to add more protein to my diet. After seeing it in Strike Witches, too, I really want to try it. I’m sure there are places to buy it in Massachusetts, cosmopolitan a state as it is.


  2. I always felt nattou was the Japanese equivalent of Vegemite. If you are raised eating Vegemite you tend to enjoy it but 9 out of 10 people who try in later in life can’t stand it. My roommate has story in which his father brought home a jar of Vegemite from Australia. He then promptly threw up the Vegemite sandwich along with everything else he had eaten that day after one bite. I know several other people who have similar Vegemite stories.

    I won’t go go as far as to assume that nattou is that extreme but they seem similar in people’s general reaction to them.


  3. I regularly go to korean supermarkets and they sell nattou, but I’m too a scaredy chicken sh*t to buy and try it, what with half of Japan loathing it and half loving it. Might try it… in a far away future (when I actually have 4 dollars to spare)


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