One standard question that many foreigners in Japan are asked is: "Can you eat natto?"
The strong smell and slimy constituency of natto - fermented soybeans - means that even many Japanese are put off this much-maligned, healthy, gooey and 100% vegetarian delicacy.
Natto is usually served with a touch of karashi mustard and a drizzle of soy sauce and eaten as an accompaniment to rice whether at breakfast or dinner. A little bit of sake poured on the natto as a condiment can also add to the flavor, I've found.
Mass produced natto sold in supermarkets usually comes in a 50g polystyrene pack with little sachets of mustard and soy sauce.
The health benefits of eating natto are many and legendary and include lowering cholesterol, preventing cancer and strokes to helping fight obesity.
So in answer to the question, "Can you eat natto?"
Yes, I'm lovin' it.
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