Natto Maki at Atari-ya


Fermented soybean – natto – that’s basically rotted legumes. It’s gotta taste nicer than it sounds, right? Wrong, at least to my palate.

“It indisputably has a unique flavour”

As I understand it, many people really enjoy the flavour of natto, generally raw, and often in sushi. And I can understand why some people might particularly enjoy the stuff – it indisputably has a unique flavour. It’s just to me that really is a flavour embodying exactly how you might think rotten beans might end up, down to the slimy, grainy texture, pungent flavour and putrid aftertaste.

All I can say is that if this is an acquired taste, it’s not one I’ve achieved yet. After the chicken livers this is only the second dish on the list I actually can’t eat. You might hope there wouldn’t be any to achieve that accolade, but I do accept that part of the Chowdown Showdown endeavour should be challenging taste boundaries and ‘calibrating our palates’. This was just one challenge too far.

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