With the increasing popularity of bento and sushi, other types of Japanese cuisine are garnering attention, as well. For instance, natto, the "Japanese superfood" is making waves throughout Eastern Asia and the Pacific Islands. If you have not yet heard of natto, here’s what you should know and why it's considered a superfood.
What Is Natto?
Natto is a traditional part of Japanese cuisine and has been for thousands of years. It’s a dish made of fermented soybeans, served with rice and topped with seasonings like soy sauce, sliced green onions, wasabi, or pickled ginger. It has a sticky, stringy texture; strong odor; and nutty flavor. Because of its texture and pungent smell, it has its detractors. Diners either love it or hate it—even natives and fans of authentic Japanese cuisine. There seems to be little room in between. Nevertheless, it’s considered a healthy "superfood.”
Why Is Natto a Superfood?
Natto is rich in a number of important vitamins and minerals, including manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins C and K. It’s high in protein and fiber, and the fermentation process promotes the growth of probiotics—or beneficial bacteria—that help with digestion and nutrient absorption. It contains nattokinase, an enzyme that enters the bloodstream and destroys clots, improving blood flow and reducing the chances of hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks.
If you're a fan of authentic Japanese cuisine and have not yet tried natto, stop by Kozo Sushi, the premier sushi restaurant on Oahu, HI. They offer a number of natto dishes, including natto nigiri and spicy ahi natto don. Founded in Japan in 1972, this eatery has since become the most popular fast-food sushi spot in the country, and it's quickly finding fans in Hawaii, as well. They have five locations throughout Oahu. Call (808) 455-6805 for Pearl City, (808) 946-5696 for Keeaumoku, (808) 951-5696 for Moiliili, (808) 483-6805 for Pearlridge Shopping Center, or (808) 738-5696 for Kahala Mall. Visit their website to learn more about their menu.