Natto Goes to Paris!

So you hate the stickiness and the smell of natto?? Well, let’s see what we can do with biotechnology...

Hiroshi Fukami
Hiroshi Fukami

Writer / Editor

He works as a freelance writer and editor. His diverse body of work is covered in From the Cradle to the Grave (Yurikago kara Hakaba Made). He enjoys watching J League soccer, baseball, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling. He also enjoys video games, especially first person shooters, open-world role playing games, and fighting games. His current favorite is Ingress.

Many cultures have fermented foods. Japan has sake, and Europe has wine and beer for example. But most fermented foods have a distinctive taste and it is really difficult for foreigners to eat them. Sauerkraut from Germany, surströmming from Sweden, and some cheese are just a few examples of hard to eat fermented foods.


Japan has it’s own fermented food too. It’s called natto. Even some Japanese cannot eat them. Natto is soybeans fermented with bacteria called “bacillus natto”. It has a distinctive smell and an original slimy sticky texture. It is enjoyed throughout Japan but lots of people from the Kinki region (Osaka, and Kyoto is in that region) refuse to eat this “rotten beans”.


Now, Ibaraki prefecture is known to be one of the largest manufactures for natto, and they found a new type of bacteria by culturing bacillus natto. This new type is less slimy, and less sticky. They plan to market this to the French, who are known to like fermented foods such as cheese. They exhibited this at The World Hospitality & Food Service Event in Lyon in January 2015. They served natto with olive oil, baguettes, butter, and waffles.


I wonder what the French thought of this “sticky natto”. They love cheese that are made from cow and goat milk with mold and other bacterias… their judgment would be very interesting.


Translated by Yuki Mat.


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