Why People Don’t Like Cilantro

A highly touted story in the NYT explains why a lot of us don’t like cilantro.  Apparently, it doesn’t taste good to us.

cilantro-sucksWho’d have guessed?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hoodlumman says:

    Good. More for me.

  2. DC Loser says:

    What Hoodlumman said. I love cilantro, could eat it alone or with anything else. More for me too.

  3. DC Loser says:

    The NYT article is interesting as it gives a cultural or genetic reason for not liking it. Being from East Asia, I cannot stand the smell and taste of cheese, whereas most Europeans love it.

  4. Way back when, I had a girlfriend who refused to go to Mexican restaurants because she said cilantro made everything taste like soap. I always thought she was just being a high-maintenance PIA (which she was in many other respects), but I guess the science was on her side after all.

    Sorry ’bout that, Holly.

  5. john personna says:

    I have a running argument with some friends that they can’t be called “street tacos” when you get them in a restaurant … but man, soft tacos with onion and cilantro .. the best.

    (bad cilantro is soapy, yes)

  6. john personna says:

    BTW, I could have the same kind of genetic disposition against (European) eggplant. My first taste triggered “this is not food!”

    I’m ok with Asian eggplant/preparation.

  7. DC Loser says:

    European (or Italian) egglpant is tasteless and dry like cardboard. Asian eggplant is softer and not dry.

  8. john personna says:

    The European tastes alkaline to me.

  9. Triumph says:

    As the article says, cilantro is only liked by immigrants–hence its popularity in curries and tacos.

    Thus, if we want to stop the illegal immigration problem we should outlaw cilantro.

    It causes as many social problems as other plants like marijuana and coca.

  10. Franklin says:

    As the article says, many Europeans can’t get past the smell of cilantro (personally I like both the smell and taste).

    Mildly related, but I was at a kids’ science museum in Fort Lauderdale where it was pointed out that two of the smells in poop are actually used in small doses in perfumes. Apparently these scents were detected as sweet in light whiffs, but pungent if there was too much (which may be why I nearly gag when overly-perfumed women walk by).

  11. John Burgess says:

    Interesting! My wife–WASP back to the Magna Carta–loves cilantro. But, when she was pregnant, she couldn’t stand to be in the same room with it. She also went off lamb, which she ordinarily liked very much. I guess some hormone was tripping a trigger that said, ‘bad stuff!’

    Too much coriander can definitely be unpleasant, but I don’t link it to ‘soapy’. What I find ‘soapy’ is even a slight overuse of ginger or saffron.

    Eggplant? Love them all, but they have to be treated differently. Mediterranean eggplant aren’t ideal for Asian cooking, nor Asian ones for European/Middle Eastern. Sort of like how a Golden Delicious and a Granny Smith are both apples, but not to be substituted for each other in cooking.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    I think we should all keep talking about cilantro until we have 150 comments. Until we break the comment record for OTB. This will plunge James into a “life has no meaning” funk, but it would be fun for us.

  13. Drew says:

    I love cilantro.

    I hate eggplant.

    Maybe Reynolds could lead the charge to get to 150 comments: these foody issues clearly indicate that Tea Partyers are racist homophobes who should be extiguished from the earth. The evidence is undeniable.

  14. steve says:

    We do lots of Asian cooking. Love cilantro, fresh ginger, chile sauces and garlic. Best to grow your own cilantro, but it does go to seed almost overnight if you dont watch it.

    Rather than extinguish the Tea Partyers, could we have them grow cilantro?


  15. Maggie Mama says:

    Guess crushing the leaves works …. I’m going to continue putting it in my guacamole.

    After all what’s a Marguerita without guacamole?