Kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, miso… these ingredients have been getting attention in the food industry for several years now. They are categorized as fermented foods, food that are good for your gut. From ancient food history, it has been a common practice to have fermented food in Japan. For example, miso (fermented soybean paste) and soy sauce are originally from Japan, and they have popularized through Japanese restaurants serving miso soup and ramen shops producing miso-flavored ramen bowls, and restaurants serving sashimi and sushi with their favorite complementary condiment, soy sauce.
“Fermented food” doesn’t sound good, but we eat it for its health benefit. With the nature of it being fermented, it tends to have a foul smell, and that could lead to the disagreement of preference. I personally think natto, fermented soybeans, has one of the weirdest smell and strangest looks in my own food dictionary, but I tend to like it a lot. At one point of my life in my late teenage years, I ate it for breakfast every single day. That’s how much I like it.
The other day, my uncle wanted me to try his natto masterpiece. He mixes natto 400 times – yes, four hundred times – and he claims that the best natto is made by mixing it well and by adding sliced green onions and topping it with toasted white sesame and shichimi (seven spice). It’s a perfect complement to rice.
It’s hard to describe the taste. It’s sticky, and that’s all I can say. If you haven’t tried it, you can try it at a Japanese restaurant in the U.S. under the sushi roll section as natto maki. I used to buy them in Japanese grocery stores when I lived in the States. You can find it at the frozen food section if you are lucky!
[The post has been edited. Kombucha is not a seaweed drink as previously stated. It is a fermented black tea, which originated in Russia.]