Being half-Japanese, I consequently grew up eating a lot of Japanese food. I’d say virtually everyone knows that Japan has some incredibly bizarre, seemingly gross foods. And one of them is natto. What is natto, you ask? Natto is fermented soybeans served with soy sauce, in addition to some other optional condiments such as hot mustard, seaweed, or bonito flakes. The first time I tried it, I had to have been about four years old. And I was APPALLED. It was smelly, slimy, sticky, and straight up vile. For many, many years I avoided it like the plague, until one day, I (reluctantly) tried it again. And guess what? It’s good. It’s REALLY good. 

In Japan, natto is a staple food commonly served with breakfast. However, I usually find myself eating it for lunch or dinner. On top of its easy preparation, natto has been commended for its many health benefits, such as being a great source of protein and fiber!

As someone who is a strong advocate for trying foods outside of your comfort zone, I personally think everyone should try natto at least once! If you’re up for an adventure, my favorite ways of consuming these fun little beans are:

1. With rice

That’s it. Slap it over some white rice and you’ve got yourself a meal. If you're feeling fancy, add an egg on top!

2. Fried rice

In Japanese, we call it natto chahan. This typically consists of: natto (duh), rice (duh), scrambled egg, soy sauce, sesame oil (or any oil you want really, but I recommend sesame!), and green onions. It’s seriously easy and oh so delicious.

3. In sushi!

If you happen to be out for sushi, be adventurous and order a roll of natto maki. It's literally just natto and rice in the form of sushi and it's DELICIOUS.

4. Straight up

That’s it. Grab a spoon (or chopsticks — if you dare), add as many condiments as you desire (because what is natto without some green onions?!), and dig in!

You will (most likely) not find this product at your local grocery store and will have to venture out to an Asian grocery market, which can also give you an excuse to try out some other fun foods! You can find them in the frozen aisle, usually in a pack of three. In addition to natto, there are countless other Japanese superfoods you should give a chance. Even if you don’t choose to try natto, hopefully this article will inspire you to give that one food that you’ve been avoiding for years a second chance!