October 13, 2009 - Narcissism is Necessary

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Eating natto for the first time.

Last weekend, the bf and I decided to give Pasta Zanmai a try. We’ve always hesitated to visit it. Hello??? Japanese style pasta? How can you spoil the delicateness of Japanese ingredients with Italian style cooking? Obviously my lack of understanding has deprived me of good food for a long time. We’ve only recently decided to give the place a try after seeing Kerol twitted it. If that’s only one thing that you can trust from me, is that Kerol’s tastebuds are always spot on.

When I opened the menu, I was in awe. Everything looked so delicious! What caught my eyes though was the mentaiko and natto pasta. Mentaiko is a kind of marinated spicy fish roe and I love it for its distinct peppery taste. As for natto, I have never tasted it before but I’ve seen videos of people eating natto – they looked like they rather be skinned alive than putting natto into their mouths. And that’s precisely the reason why I ordered the dish.

I wanted to find out how disgusting it is. Just preserved soybeans, what the big deal?

Eating natto for the first time.
Look absolutely scrumptious but is terror lurking within?

The bf ordered something safe – Japanese beef curry rice. I had a taste, it was very good. Big portion with a lot of gravy.

Eating natto for the first time.
Smells heavenly but oh so boring…

We also ordered a side grilled squid just in case I couldn’t eat my main. It was perfectly grilled and you can pop it on its own with no condiments.

Eating natto for the first time.
Grilled to perfection.

Without further ado, let me present, a properly mixed mentaiko natto pasta:

Eating natto for the first time.

Those foams you see wrapping every single strand of noodle taste exactly how it looks, slimy, viscous and sticky.

I took my first bite. It tasted like I regurgitated my phlegm and swallowed it back again. You know, when it’s not convenient to spit and you decided to swallow it back – salty aftertaste and all. Natto tasted exactly like that. It was interesting. I took another bite.

As I continued eating, I could taste the mild spiciness of the mentaiko already well-mixed into the pasta and natto. How do I put it? Eating mentaiko natto pasta is like chasing a climax that never arrived. One spoonful after another, the taste of mentaiko titillated my tastebuds ever so slightly and I kept wishing that the following spoon would give me a full mentaiko sensory assault. But it never came.

What came instead was a new found appreciation for natto. Yes, it tasted exactly like spit or worse…regurgitated phlegm. But this is precisely the reason why I WILL ORDER mentaiko natto pasta again.

Eating natto for the first time.

Because I’m a pervert.

G210B, Ground Floor Promenade,
1 Utama Shopping Centre,
No 1, Lebuh Bandar Utama,
Bandar Utama Damansara,
47800 Petaling Jaya.
TEL: 03 – 7728 1210

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