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What Does Natto Taste Like? Explore the Flavor

Have you ever tried natto — the unique and flavorful Japanese dish?

If not, you’re missing out on a truly delicious experience.

Natto is made from fermented soybeans, giving it a nutty flavor that alters drastically depending on the type of preparation.

But what does natto taste like exactly?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore all aspects of natto — its savory taste, its health benefits, how to make it at home, and more!

So if you’ve ever found yourself wondering: “What does natto really taste like?”, then grab your chopsticks – because let’s dive into one of Japan’s most intriguing dishes!

What is Natto?

Natto is a traditional Japanese food that is made from fermented soybeans.

It has a distinct taste and texture that can be an acquired taste for some, but loved by others.

  • Natto beans are steamed and then fermented using a specific bacteria called Bacillus subtilis.
  • During the fermentation process, the bacteria produce sticky threads of protein which give natto its slimy texture.
  • Natto has been consumed in Japan for centuries and is now becoming increasingly popular worldwide due to its nutritional benefits.
  • It is rich in protein, fiber, vitamins K and B12, and also contains a unique enzyme called nattokinase which has potential health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of blood clots.
  • Natto is usually eaten with rice or mixed into other dishes like soup or noodles.

Despite being nutritious and popular in Japan, many people outside of Japan may find the taste and consistency of natto challenging to get used to.

Some describe it as nutty or earthy with a hint of bitterness.

What Does Natto Taste Like?

Natto is a Japanese dish that is known for its unique taste and texture.

So, what does it taste like? Well, natto has a pungent smell, and its flavor can be described as savory or umami with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

It possesses a nutty and smoky taste in some varieties.

The texture of natto is also distinct.

It has slimy strings that form when the beans are fermented with bacteria called Bacillus subtilis in warm conditions.

The bean paste strands are known as neba-neba, which means “sticky” in Japanese.

They are not crunchy but rather have a gooey feel to them.

For those who have never tasted natto before, it might take some getting used to because of its strong smell and flavor.

However, for people who enjoy it, the experience of eating natto is entirely unique and enjoyable.

Some people like to eat natto as it is without any seasoning or condiments while others prefer to mix it with soy sauce, mustard, or scallions to enhance its flavor.

Some people also add in rice or wrap it with nori sheets to create a balanced snack or meal.

Factors that Affect the Taste of Natto

The taste of natto is a unique blend of nuttiness, umami, and pungency.

However, there are several factors that affect its flavor.

First of all, the type of soybean used in making natto plays a significant role.

The shriveled brown soybeans have a savory taste while the larger varieties lend themselves to sweetness.

The fermentation duration has an impact on the flavor profile of natto as the longer it takes for the beans to ferment, the stronger their flavor becomes.

Additionally, temperature and humidity levels during fermentation can also influence how pungent or sour-tasting natto may be.

Furthermore, condiments such as mustard and soy sauce change the taste profile of natto.

While some people prefer eating plain natto because they enjoy its natural flavors, others add these seasonings to give it an extra kick.

When it comes to texture, some people describe natto as slimy or sticky due to its viscous coating made up of bacterial enzymes.

Although this texture affects mouthfeel rather than taste buds directly – surprisingly doesn’t turn off many fans – some other strange textures might play an important part in turning people off from enjoying natto’s deliciousness.

Health Benefits of Natto

Natto is known for its health benefits which include aiding in digestion, regulating blood pressure, and promoting cardiovascular health.

When it comes to digestion, natto contains an enzyme called nattokinase which can help break down proteins and aid in the absorption of nutrients.

This can also help with constipation and overall gut health.

In addition to aiding digestion, natto has been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure due to the presence of peptides that can act as natural ACE inhibitors.

This means that it can potentially lower blood pressure without the use of medication.

Furthermore, natto has been linked to promoting cardiovascular health due to its ability to improve arterial flexibility and prevent arterial calcification.

This is important because stiff arteries are associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Overall, incorporating natto into your diet may have numerous health benefits ranging from promoting healthy digestion to reducing the risk of heart disease.

Where to Buy Natto and How to Store It?

To answer the question Where to Buy Natto and How to Store It?, you can find Natto in most Asian markets or other specialty stores.

You can also purchase it online from various sellers.

When purchasing Natto, always check for the expiration date and storage instructions on the package.

It is important to keep Natto refrigerated at all times and consume it before the expiration date.

If you cannot find Natto in a store near you, you may also try making it at home using soybeans and bacteria cultures.

There are various recipes available online that provide step-by-step instructions on how to make homemade Natto.

Once opened, you should consume Natto within a few days to prevent spoilage.

To store leftover Natto, transfer it into an airtight container and refrigerate immediately.

To sum up, you can purchase Natto from Asian markets or online sellers while checking its expiry date and storage instructions on the package.

It is also advisable to consume it soon after opening or make it at home using soybeans and bacterial cultures.

Don’t forget to refrigerate your Natto.


Natto is a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans.

It has a unique taste and texture, with a strong aroma often described as pungent or earthy.

Natto is considered a healthy food, rich in nutrients and probiotics, and popular among health-conscious consumers around the world.

If you’re curious about natto but don’t know where to start, read on for tips on where to find it, how to store it, and what to expect from this intriguing delicacy.

What Does Natto Taste Like? A Comprehensive Guide

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Taste


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