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Restaurants & Bars 75

Food of Doom

TastyLlama | Apr 24, 2003 04:56 AM

I am an adventurous eater. Even by Chowhound standards; I’ve eaten a huge range of things in my twenty-one years. Rabbit, venison, raw shrimp, goat, stewed tripe, and everything that floats in Chinese congee have graced my palate at one point or another. I’ve sampled bagels, cheeses, pies, jerky, olive oils, and pupusas, just to find the best anywhere. I’ve sampled pickled jellyfish, scrambled eggs with brains, and kimchee. I’ve eaten all over New York, Chicago, and even some of Italy. In ALL of my food travels, I never, never never NEVER, found something that was simply SO bad that I couldn’t eat more than a SINGLE bite. Until last Thursday.
If I had to pick a cuisine type that was my absolute favorite, I’d have to go with Japanese. I’ve been to sushi bars since I could barely walk, and thus consider myself personally responsible for the sushi trend that has swept the nation. You can all thank me later. Anyway, I’ve tried basically everything your average sushi venue has to offer, from the basics (tuna, hamachi, salmon) to the moderately daring (eel, uni, squid) to the master levels (grilled baby octopus, fried monkfish liver, raw scallops,) but I never happened to order Natto before. It doesn’t appear on sushi menus too often, (now I know why) but, being the courageous soul that I am, I ordered a Natto hand roll on my last sushi outing.
Natto, for those who are unaware, is apparently some sort of fermented soybean creation. Why anyone would voluntarily eat this more than once escapes me. It’s not that it tasted bad. It’s that it tasted SO bad that I now wonder how Japan can be a world power. I can find absolutely NOTHING positive to say about this substance. Now, it is of course possible that I was simply served very BAD Natto. I will not reveal the establishment’s name, because I wouldn’t want to poison you against going there.
The rest of the meal was GREAT. Skillfully made sushi, fresh fish, attractively served; all I really ask for. Therefore, I find it likely that the Natto was served just as it was supposed to be. Thus deepens my horror. Imagine feeling that your mouth is suddenly filled with noxious mud, mud that doesn’t even have the decency to be chemically inert. This mud tingles and stabs, as if it had locked your tongue in an iron maiden. This mud smells of partially decomposed feet. This mud tastes even worse and ruins your life even further since you, being in a sushi bar, were expecting something delectable and interesting.
I could barely swallow my meager mouthful. I carefully replaced the hand roll back on the wooden tray, and moved on to other things. Thankfully, my taste buds survived the grueling experience. My question, though, is this; has anyone, ANYONE, had a positive experience with this hazardous substance? Please, show me the way! I refuse to believe that it’s really supposed to be this bad!

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