The first time I tried natto was in Osaka around 2004. A friend took me to one of those sushi conveyor restaurants, I was eating all the sushi I could get my hands on. After about 7-8 plates, she offered me this ordinary looking maki that I seem to have missed. It had a clump of tiny round things at the top, I assumed it was fish roe (though it didn't look like it was a salmon's). I do not hesitate when it comes to food so I popped one in my mouth pronto.
My taste buds were stunned. Struggling not to make a scene and embarass the host, I kept it in. Eating natto for the first time is a rare moment that's hard to explain. It had this slimy texture, an "aged to perfection" taste, and it smelled like my old sneakers.
My instincts kicked in so I grabbed a glass of water to hose it down, but it was too late. The natto was so slimy it had coated my tongue and gums, and those healthy little fermented soy beans clung to the gaps of my teeth. It was going to take more than one glass of water to bring it down. Panic set in, my eyes started to water, but I was eventually saved by a pitcher of tea. At least my friend thanked me for the short bit of amusement I gave her that night.
4 years after that ordeal, Garandee often eats natto for breakfast. I've learned to live with it.
Garandee will never touch the thing, not too many foreigners do. Balut is as gross as it can get, but I'm surprised it didn't make it to the top 3 of Discovery's "Bizzare Foods" by Andrew Zimmern (which is one of my favorite shows btw). Here's a bizarre host doing a demo on how to properly eat balut.
Occassionally I bring home a couple whenever I feel nostalgic and Dee totally hates seeing me enjoying it.
* Garandee thinks the wikipedia photo was too disgusting, so I just drew one.
Thinking of blog design....