Soybean translated means "big bean" in for its large presence in Asian cuisine. In ancient Japanese times, there weren't many substantial sources of protein and therefore soybeans were a very big part of people’s diet. I grew up in Japan for about half of my life and soybeans were always a part of my diet. Asian food is rising in popularity and as consumers of it, you may be surprised as to how versatile soybeans are! Below are the most common ways you can eat soybeans. 


dairy product, vegetable, tofu
Jocelyn Hsu

Tofu is a hot commodity in today’s health industry with its numerous health benefits. You can find it in the dining halls as a substitute for proteins. It has essentially no taste to it but does have a soft texture. Tofu is probably the most common soybean product. It has extended its reach outside of merely Asian cuisine and has become a staple for many- vegans, vegetarians or otherwise.

The process of making tofu is somewhat similar to that of cheese. It is made by coagulating soy milk and combining the resulting curds from the soy milk to produce the smooth texture.

While there are many ways to enjoy tofu, one simple and easy way is by simply eating a cold cut of soft tofu with a drizzle of soy sauce and some scallions.


soup, miso soup, broth, vegetable
Judy Holtz

Not many people know that miso is made of soy beans. The rich and salty flavor is produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, a type of fungus, and often takes many many years to make. It can often be found in soups such as the broth of miso ramen.

In my opinion, the best way to enjoy the true taste of miso is through a simple miso soup. You can make your own miso soup with just some fish broth, miso and any other  ingredients you'd like to add.  


vegetable, legume, salad, asparagus, pea
Kristine Mahan

Edamame has become a popular snack lately and can always be found in Japanese restaurants as an appetizer to munch on while waiting for your food. People are often surprised to find out edamame are soybeans since they go by a different name, but edamame are premature soybeans still in the pod. While there are many ways to enjoy edamame, the most basic way would be to boil the pods themselves and enjoy them lightly salted.

Soy Sauce

sushi, wasabi, avocado, sashimi, nori, seafood, tuna, rice, sake, soy sauce, fish
Ali Romadanov

This one is another pretty obvious one, hence the the name. Soy sauce can probably be found in just about any Asian household. The salty taste goes with anything from fish to apparently ice cream.  One uncommon way I like to use soy sauce is by mixing it with a little bit of wasabi and making a dipping sauce for steak. The heat of the steak minimizes the teariness of the wasabi and makes for a great sauce.


This is a more unconventional way of eating soybeans. Even many Japanese people don't go near it since it's known for its foul fermented smell and its stickiness. But, give it a try and you may like it, along with its health benefits. Some people eat it alone with some Japanese mustard and soy sauce, which are often included in the package alongside some rice. Mixing that with some okra is also a popular way to eat natto as well.

Soybeans have snuck into many aspects of Asian cuisine and have brought us many tasty meals. So it might be worth giving these soybean based meals another try and with your newfound understanding, you may be able to experience them in a different way!