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Midsummer Natto’s Dream

Don’t talk stink! Natto Day comes but once a year, and for 30-plus eaters, it was a dream come true

Posted July 11, 2012 by Mari Taketa

How do you tell the story of a 10-course natto dinner on July 10, Natto Day? It’s epic, almost, the stuff of legend, practically — I mean, I was there, and I still can’t believe I ate 10 natto dishes.

It started out simply: A group of natto lovers on Facebook was looking for a way to celebrate their beloved fermented stinky soybean. But the dinner we came up with unleashed two latent forces. First, the city’s under-the-radar appetite for natto, which became clear when people who didn’t know each other started signing up in groups of two, three, four, even solo, until we had pushed past our original limit of 28 and forced our host restaurant, Tokkuri Tei, to its Natto Day max of 32. And practically everyone who came knew others who wanted to be there but had heard about it too late.

Second were the creative forces of Tokkuri Tei’s Hideaki “Santa” Miyoshi and Ryuji Murayama. Hearing our request for a special dinner, the chefs spent the next two weeks creating a menu the likes of which no one had ever seen before.

Naughty Natto Roll. Slimy a la Escargots. Stinky Burger. And the infamous natto ice cream. Here’s what went down: the good, the odd and all the gloriously stinky slime.

Warning: If you don’t like natto, don’t look.

Midsummer Natto's Dream (1 of 25)

Midsummer Natto's Dream

Tokkuri Tei on Kapahulu, 6 p.m. last night. The scene is set for the most epic natto experience in anyone's memory: 10 courses, culminating in ice cream topped with natto and Jack Daniels sauce.

I ask a server if Tokkuri Tei's ever done a natto dinner before. She looks at me as if I've just waved the bean under her nose. "Oh no," she says.


  1. MyongChoi
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Looks like a fun night with good(?) food and good peeps!

  2. Annoddah_Dave
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 9:14 am

    EO:  Is the flatulence contest today?

  3. Posted July 11, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Oh man, you guys had so much fun! Looks like it was a blast though, and everything looked…dare I say it…good?! Lol. Love it! 

  4. nonstopmari
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 10:52 am

     @MyongChoi definitely! w/ a theme as crazy as a shared love of natto, how cd it not have been?

  5. nonstopmari
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

     @Annoddah_Dave natto produces flatulence??

  6. nonstopmari
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 10:53 am

     @annedreshfield it was! lmk if u want a taste when u come to honolulu ;)

  7. Melissa808
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Looks delicious and I’m sorry to have missed it! Since I know Brandon doesn’t read my blog, ever, I can tell you that I’d prefer to eat natto than the nabe. hahaha. 

  8. nonstopmari
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    @Melissa808 U missed out! Natto day happens only once a yr.
    I guess this means this brandon person doesnt read me either :(

  9. EurekaGal
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Wow. Looks like it was EPIC. The stink, the slime, the swell company. You guys make this look so GOOD and fun, too.

  10. nonstopmari
    Posted July 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm

     @EurekaGal it was unbelievable that the natto kept coming and coming and coming, all different ways, paired w/ different textures and flavors, playing off different cuisines. a real celebration of the bean ;)

  11. M
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Hello Mari,
    Looks good but some reason I don’t eat natto here but when I’m in Japan the natto taste better and I eat it everyday with rice for breakfast.

  12. 808marv
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Well it looked like a good time was had by all.  I think I could maybe give the ice cream a try.  Maybe.  

  13. Posted July 12, 2012 at 10:42 am

     @Melissa808 Haha!  I’m gonna tell Brandon….

  14. nonstopmari
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm

     @M this natto was def better than the kind at the supermarkets … at least the kind i find at the supermarkets. all of it was chopped fine, some whipped, some fried crunchy. think abt it: we’re already talking abt doing a winter encore ;)

  15. nonstopmari
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm

     @808marv a slimy time was had by all! there are lots of things i wd order again if avlbl, incl the jack daniels-shiso ice cream (natto but a footnote)

  16. lihinggirl
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    *drool* wow!

  17. Melissa808
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

     @Nanigurl HA! I dare you. He’ll never come to the site.


About Mari Taketa

Mari Taketa is a dedicated eater who's as opinionated as she is hungry. She covered everything from neighborhood mom-and-pop places to ethnic eateries to fine dining restaurants on Honolulu's dining scene for Metromix Honolulu and The Honolulu Advertiser's TGIF. Before that, she ate her way through Vietnam, Scotland and Japan, where she lived, traveled or worked, after recovering from a journalism career that included stints as editor-in-chief of Hawaii Business magazine and reporter and editor at The Associated Press. Her goals are to always be hungry for more, and to always want to know what's around the next corner.

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