Cilantro NO!
I H a t e C i l a n t r o . c o m
(4,437 members)
Supporting the Fight Against Cilantro!

Visitors share their cilantro stories...


My first experience with cilantro was a spring roll at a Thai food restaurant. It was an incredibly horrific experience. The taste of the cilantro was alot like the dish soap analogy everyone uses except for me it involved a bit of violent pain in my mouth. After googling what may cause this pain I found that Cilantro actually has an enzyme in it that can cause a reaction with a certain percentage of the population.
I eat out quite often and I must say I steer clear of mexican restaurants. A certain very popular fast food chain even puts it in there stuffed burritos. I think it is important to start a grass roots effort to get rid of this vile herb that does nothing to enhance the flavor of anything.

QZRODHAM \ Augusta, ME, United States
I LOVE the fact that this site exists! I just found it while googleing "cilantro" to see if there any synonomous names for it that I should be looking out for. Cilantro is by far the nastiest thing I've ever tasted. For several years, I could not narrow down exactly what it was in some southwestern, Mexican, and Asian dishes that made me gag, nearly stop breathing (in an asthmatic fashion), and want to vomit. After asking, "what is in that?" on hundreds of occasions, and sending many a dish back to the kitchen, someone finally enlightened me- "maybe it's the cilantro." Since that time, I've been on watch for any mysterious green plant or plant-flakes that shows up on my plate. I can sniff it out like a K-9 finds crack. Before I order, I always ask the waiter if there is "cilantro in this dish", and usually the response is "Uh...I don't think so." Well, that's not good enough, because if I see, smell, or taste it, the meal's going back, and I refuse to pay for food laced with poisonous plants. I'm getting nauseous just thinking about it.

Kristen \ Boston, MA, United States
My first cilantro experience was when I was on spring break in Cancun. We had met some girls and went to dinner with them. I ordered ceviche, a Chilean raw fish dish, as an appetizer. I dove into it when it arrived and nearly gagged at the taste. I couldn't believe how bad it was. Maybe half of us had ordered appetizers, so others were just waiting for their food and watching us. I didn't want to look strange or fussy or anything, so I tried to have some of it. I have eaten in all types of restaurants, had the Chinese 'century eggs', eaten things that were somewhat burned, and am pretty adventurous about food in the first place--hey, I was ordering raw fish in Mexico--but I honestly could not eat any of the ceviche. That is the only time in my life--other than my experience with caraway--that this has ever happened. This weed must be destroyed.

Jeff \ Chicago, IL, United States

I've hated that taste for at least forty years. Ugh. Like biting into a bar of Ivory. Ironically, I have to use the stuff in my professional kitchen, and taste the food, but gaaaaaah, how can people pile it on so?

When I lived in San Francisco, my former roomie invited me to dinner for "pasta and pesto." He served me wagon wheels with cilantro pesto. I did the good Southern thing and gagged it down, with compliments. Two weeks later Tommy invited me to dinner again... and served me the same thing, "since you liked it so much the last time."

Frank \ Cheney, WA, United States
I was about 17 when I began my hatred of cilantro. I had just entered college, and to celebrate, my father took me to a yuppie Chinese restaurant a few miles from the university. As a big fan of Eastern food, I happily ordered some seafood udon. This noodle soup looked delicious, except it had some green flakes floating in it and a wad of what looked like parsley on top of it. I took a sip, and a flavor I could only describe as "rotten plastic" permeated my mouth. My father, a cilantro-lover, insisted there was no way plastic could taste rotten and that I obviously didn't have the refined palate he did. I was forced to dump this delicious-looking soup in a to-go container, where it wasted away in the fridge because every time I tried to open the lid, the stench of cilantro wafted out like so much miasma. Turns out the restaurant dumps cilantro on pretty much everything they make, if not IN the entree, in huge bunches next to it as garnish. My father always eats those sprigs and takes the opportunity to tease me about my hatred of cilantro, effectively turning me off that restaurant forever.

A few years later I found myself working at a southwest fast food place. Prior to me working there, it had been one of my favorite places to get tacos while at school. Now that I was actually working at one, it seemed great to get the same food I liked for free. That was until I realized they put cilantro in damn near everything they make except the tacos. The salsa, the guacamole, the beans, the steak marinade... they even had fresh cilantro on the line, for people that wanted even MORE cilantro on their food! My only real joy at work was being on prep and taking a sharp knife to those stalks of pure hell. I ended up quitting two months later.

I'm glad there's actually a sizable portion of people that hates this inane vegetation as much as I do. To this day, I've only found one other person that hates cilantro at the same level as me, and I'm dating him.

Jennifer \ Blacksburg, VA, United States

I came across this site when I googled Cilantro. I had just gone to dinner the night before. It was a friend who took a group of us out as a "thank-you". We went to an expensive new restaurant where I knew the food was good, maybe not great by my standards, but better than average. The soup I ordered was a lobster broth and was riddled with cilantro. I already knew that I had a strong aversion to this herb, but I didn't notice it in the first couple of bites. However, once I did I tried to give it away to me husband. He didn't want it as he had his own app. I managed to choke the soup down trying to avoid the nasty green leaves as best I could.

I have read now that others relate the taste to "soap", but I have got to say, all I can think of with the first wiff is a "wet dog" and the taste that follows makes me want to gag. Glad to know I'm not crazy.

_P.S. I love coriander.

Kelly \ Burlington, Canada
I am so happy that I finally have a place to share this where people will understand!
I was eating dinner at my aunt's house, she used to be a caterer, her son and his wife (for whom the dinner was in honor of) are both chefs at prominant restaurants.
One item on the menu was tortilla chips and fresh salsa, and I was VERY excited about it. I had actually never had the pleasure of eating fresh salsa (nor, it should be noted, had I ever had fresh cilantro) and I couldn't stop thinking about how great it would be. I took my first bite with the three of them around me watching expectantly. There was a moment of awkward silence before my cousin asked me if I liked it or not. I said I couldn't really tell, becasue I thought that the bowl they put the salsa in my not have been washed out properly, it tasted like dishsoap. They all tried it and said they couldn't figure out what I was talking about. I figured maybe it was just me and steered slear of the salsa the rest of the night. I couldn't help but wonder though if a trick was being played on me, I mean, how could someone not notice that, or were their palates just desensitized from working with food all the time? Or maybe they were just pretending to like it becasue it's an ingredient not commonly used?
As my aunt was finishing up the last bit of cooking she asked me to taste a sauce she made for the fish we were having to see if I thought it needed anything, I tasted and told her it was great, nothing more was needed.
She decided however that some cilantro would do the trick, added it, then had me taste again. That's when I realized what that vile taste was in the salsa. It rendered the rest of the meal inedible too.
This wouldn't have been so bad except, I was dining with three chefs, and not one of them had ever compared, or had someone compare to them the taste of cilantro to dishsoap before. You would have thought that when I asked about the salsa someone would have clued me in. This is why on top of disliking the taste of cilantro, I equate it with either stupidity, or dishonesty.

Christy \ Virginia Beach, VA, United States
I lived in Richmond, VA for a year and one of my first weeks there we decided to go to a trendy popular little place called Sticky Rice. It had great reviews. So I start eating my food. First bite, fine. Second bite, ugh....what IS that?! I thought the bean sprouts had gone bad or something. I knew it wasn't dish soap cause it was in a to-go cup. Needless to say a couple bites in and a gave up and gave my food to my friend who thought it was great. Then I started serving at the California Pizza Kitchen. For server training we had to try everything on the menu and know all the ingredients. Everything that had cilantro in it made me want to puke. Awful. I could really eat anything else they gave us. This is how i found out that cilantro was the soapy culprit. The worst part was when the prep cooks would cut the fresh stuff in the back and I would walk back there without knowing. It was like walking into a wall. Ugh. I hate that stuff. I am so glad there are others who understand.

Erin \ Indianapolis, United States
I have lived all of my life in the U.S. and it was not until this past year, at age 60, that I tasted the vile weed. Here is how it happened:

I was cooking a recipe that called for parsley, and I found in the middle of the cooking that I had none. I asked my son to go up to the grocery store and get some for me. He came home with what looked like flat-leaf parsley. I chopped it up and put it into the recipe. I did NOT notice anything unusual about the smell. However when I went to taste the dish, it tasted like it had been doused quite liberally with dishwashing detergent. At first I thought I must not have gotten the bowl rinsed out well after washing it. So I rinsed the bowl of veggies quite well again. No change! So then I picked up a piece of the "parsley" and bit into it. Aaargh! It was like, "Mom washed my mouth out with soap and I think I'm going to diiiiie." It was not parsley. I love parsley. I love celery leaves. This was definitely not parsley. I had my son taste it, and he confirmed that it tasted like soap. I had to throw out the entire dish. It never even made it to the table. The next time I went to the grocery store I looked closely at the stuff. There next to the curley leaf parsley was this flat-leaf stuff with the sign over it saying "cilantro."

My next exposure to cilantro came because I had switched to a gluten-free diet and was looking for gluten-free products. I found that there was an Asian noodle bowl that stated on the package that it was gluten-free. I purchased it, brought it home, and as I was preparing it, I noticed that there was something leafy in the pack of dehydrated stuff. I didn't recall anything leafy listed in the list of vegetables for that pack. Checked again. No- not supposed to have anything leafy. This is cause for concern. If they have unlisted ingredients in the stuff, how can I trust it to be gluten-free? Well, I decided to finish preparing it, and then tasted it. Arrrrgh! I thought I would diiiiie. Not parley! Cilantro!!!! SOAP SOUP!!! No taste but soap. Spat! Spat! Ptui! Dumped it down the garbage disposal.

So I wrote a nasty email to the company. I said their noodle bowl had listed various veggies, but nothing leafy. I said I had seen something leafy in the soup packet and my gene which makes cilantro taste like soap had ultimately informed me that this was cilantro. I said how can I trust this product to be gluten-free when you are so careless as to put unlisted ingredients in your product! It's been two months, and they have not replied.

Unfortunately cilantro has become "fashionable." Trendy chefs everywhere are adding it to everything. My husband's cousin, trained in a culinary institute has opened a restaurant in Arizona. At a recent family reunion she exclamed how she just loves cilantro and puts it in everything. She has no clue that 30 to 40% of people have this taste aberration that makes it taste toxic. I tried to inform her of this. Most restaurants ultimately fail. All these "trendy" chefs will ultimately fail when they lose 30 to 40% of their customer base. Customers rarely complain. They just show their backs and never return.

\ , United States
Well, it's a story, but rather a poem. I am sure all identify...

Love & Not

Garlic is so pungent
Parsley so green
Saffron is refulgent
but one spice is obscene.

Put some nutmeg in egg nog
Sprinkle rosemary on eggs.
Include allspice in grog
Mix with juniper & drink a keg.

I love pizza with oregano
Yoghurt with dill
Take clove in cointreaux
That said, one spice is just nil.

So this is a poem about love
& my gut sings out in lust
For so many of the above
But one spice is ludicrous.

Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom bring ecstasy,
Their Ingestion is certainly a good deed
However one spice is downright nasty.
It's called Cilantro that noxious weed.


Lynn \ , Israel

So, I was pretty young, at the taste of Cincinnati with my family. We all decided to try the dish that had been voted best of taste that year. It happened to be the cold sesame noodles from a little known restaurant. They were utterly fantastic. Until I had a bite, then freaked out. What the hell was in my noodles? I took a second look at my dish and saw all of the tiny green parsley-esque bits covering my otherwise delicious noodles. After I told my older brothers and parents that I couldn't eat anymore due to what I came to know was cilantro, my oldest brother took the remains and scarfed it down, remarking on the fresh flavor that the herb adds.

To this day I am still ridiculed by my family for not being able to enjoy cilantro. I have lived with this lack of sympathy going on ten years now.

Thank you I Hate!

Grace \ Wooster, OH, United States
Before the early nineteen eighties, Mexican food never had cilantro in it. I remember the first time I tasted it. I was out with friends, and the cook, under the influence of some unclean spirit, had flavored my dish with cilantro. At the second bite I thought, "Ohmigosh, they must have used something spoiled to make this." I just couldn't figure out where the awful taste was coming from, though there seemed to be a lot of parsley in the dish. The stuff tasted like death to me. I'm serious. My reaction was that strong. Ever since then it appears in more and more Mexican recipes and also nouvelle Pacific cuisine. Gosh I hate this stuff. It tastes so horrible. I mean, outside of invoking the putrefaction of week-old corpses, I can't even think of a way to describe how vile it tastes. And the funny thing is that its seed, coriander, is a flavor I love. Who would have thought such vileness would be in the leaves of the plant produced by such a wonderful seed?

\ , United States
I encountered the Dirty Dish Water plant several times before realizing what was making all the food taste horrible. First was at Qdoba, I never understood why everyone seemed to love it so much, while I couldn't stand it! The second few times were at this local Mexican restaurant. The first few bites of salsa were okay, and then suddenly I'm thinking "Oh my God, this tastes horrible!!!" while I'm watching everyone else stuff their faces with huge heaping piles of salsa with delight. I insisted that the salsa dishes must have been soaked in Dirty Dish Water. After repeated attempts of trying this "wonderful salsa" I finally figured out that's what it was! Even now that I know what Cilantro is, I have still found myself taking the accidental bite of food with hidden cilantro! I think all foods should come with a warning label indicating that the Cilantro is in there!!! It's soooo disgusting!!!

Shanna \ Laramie, WY, United States
One day I bought this mixed lettuce with fresh herbs for my lunchtime salad. The "fresh herbs" was written very small and the lettuce box looked identical to the normal lettuce I usually buy. Anyways, I prepared my salad as I normally would and then took a bite. The first bite was fine, and I think so was the second but then on that third bite I tasted something that gave me the shivers. At that time I had no idea what it was because as I stated earlier the box said "fresh herbs". I remember trying to pick out the small herbs trying to figure out which one it was that I was to avoid. I wasn't able to because for some reason the cilantro acts as a camouflage with lettuce and it really blends in. Later on in life, I was at a Thai restaurant and that familiar taste crept back into my memory and I discovered that it was in fact CILANTRO. Ever since that time I have avoided it like the plague. When I even take a whiff of that "herb" I begin to shudder. It literally makes me stop in my tracks and takes a few moments to recuperate. How people claim to like that stuff is beyond me. I started thinking that maybe it was because it is quite popular in restaurants or maybe because the word sounds classy. Whatever the case may be, it is absolutely revolting and has caused me to see if there were others who felt the same way as I.....

Jennifer Kaminski \ Montreal, Canada
In 1979, I was at a Thai restaurant in Manhattan with a pretty large group. We ordered several dishes to share. I took a taste of one, and it was like biting aluminum foil: something was VERY WRONG with this so-called "food." "Don't eat that one," I warned, "Something bad is in it - maybe a little piece of dirty kitchen sponge or something." Others tried the dish and reported that their portion was fine, but one other woman said something was wrong with hers, too. I guess we just assumed that something yukky had gotten into just one part of the serving dish. But years later, I learned that cilantro is popular in Thai cooking and that about the same proportion of the general population are "tasters" as we were that night.

And what has followed has been years of frustration with people trying to tell me "it's an acquired taste ...."


Cilantro-is-yukky \ Columbus, OH, United States
I was in high school and went on a date with my girlfriend and her family to a nice restaurant that I had frequented several times. I loved the food, and I always like to try different food. I ordered a southwestern dish called rattlesnake pasta. I took about three bites and it was wonderful. On the fourth bite something awful happened. The food tasted rancid and awful, and it felt like my throat closed. I gagged and thought I was going to vomit on the place settings. I asked my girlfriend to try a bite, and she thought it was wonderful. I took a few drinks of tea, collected my wits, and took another bite. The rattlesnake pasta bit me again. That was my first encounter with cilantro. Since I had no idea what the problem was it took about three more similar encounters before I correctly diagnosed the problem. I have always thought I might be allergic to this awful substance, but it was not until today when I found this website and read the stories that I realized I was not alone. It is good to know others have similar experiences, because people have always acted like I was a little crazy when I talked about my reaction to/dislike of cilantro.

CoachE \ Nashville, TN, United States
My worst experience with cilantro was at a potluck dinner with a Thai theme. I knew that I would have to avoid most of the foods, but that's par for the course. But, I wasn't expecting what happened. I was in the kitchen while someone was preparing Coconut-Cilantro Soup and coconut happens to be something else I have a very strong reaction to (and may be allergic to). But a pot of boiling soup and even a very large bunch of cilantro sitting placidly on the counter seemed innocuous to me. And they were, until the cook tossed the cilantro into the boiling soup. The entire room filled with cilantro fumes and I could barely breathe. I rushed for the door and, of course, nobody but my wife had any idea what was going on.

I hate it when people think I'm "faking it." I have been indignantly served cilantro by people who know I am allergic, as if I could somehow eat it if I wanted to. But I can't -- my reaction to it is that strong. Would they do the same thing with someone allergic to peanuts?

To me, the most frustrating thing is that cilantro's overuse has made so much food that I love inaccessible. For example, it's difficult to find guacamole without it, which ruins a lot of Mexican food. I am constantly surprised by what will have cilantro in it, even when I have told a waiter or waitress that I am allergic.

Roy Leban \ Redmond, WA, United States
Here in England, we call this vile death-herb 'coriander.' The pleasant, musical lilt of the word (I wonder how long before some idiot saddles their unfortunate offspring with the name) in no way detracts that it is a disgusting poison that ought only to be used for the punishment of criminals and to keep stray dogs out of the garden. I went for an Indian meal last night that I had been hugely looking forward to, and deliberately chose something on the menu that did not list coriander as an ingredient. And then what did they do? Sprinkle a HANDFUL of the damn stuff all over it as a garnish. I could have wept. And let me tell you, it is utterly impossible to pick it out of a creamy sauce. RUINED.
I HATE coriander.

Sarah \ London, United Kingdom
I never encountered cilantro until about 9 years ago. I grew up in south central Florida and had been exposed to little ethnic foods. Even through 10 years of being an Army wife and living in TX and OK,I was never exposed cilantro.

My first experience was at a Mexican restaurant while eating salsa. I had been eating salsa for years and never bit into anything disgusting before! All I could think of was that someone had gotten pieces of metal in my food.

After eating with some co workers for lunch one day, I told someone how awful the food tasted. I was then informed that there was cilantro in the food. I didn't even know what it was and had to do some inquiring about the stuff. Of course, they had to tell me how much they loved it!

Over the past few years, I have asked at restaurants if there is cilantro in what I'm ordering and even when they say no, sure enough, it's still in there.

Last Saturday, (May 10th), my husband took me to The Cheesecake Factory for a Mother's Day lunch. (Nothing in there is a low priced meal.) I saw salads that had cilantro in them and made sure NOT to order one of those. So, I ordered the Asian Chicken salad. No mention of cilantro on the menu and for $12.95, I thought I could stay on my Weight Watcher's diet and still have a nice meal. Wrong!

First bite and my face went sour. My husband asked what was wrong and I said "there's cilantro in this salad". He asked how I knew because it was a lot of greens and small amount of chicken. I told him I know that taste and I hate it. I politiely asked the waitress if this salad was supposed to have cilantro in it because it was not listed in the ingredients. She said no and I explained how I HATE cilantro. She was great. Took my salad back and said she'd have a new one fixed without the nasty stuff.

I got my new salad after my husband was totally done with his food and again on the first bite, there it was! I was starving at this point and thought I'd just pick out the shredded (4 ounces)of chicken they put on the salad. When the waitress came back, she asked if it was any better. I just looked at her and said "no, this has it too".

She didn't understand because she said each dish is prepared to order. Now, I've worked in a restaurant before and know that lettuce is chopped and prepared ahead of time because there is no way they chop it for every single order of salad. Especially in a restaurant that has lines hanging out the door!

The waitress asked if I would like to talk to a manager. I told her no. I was too hungry to wait for another meal and I wasn't trying to get one for free. But, I did ask for a box and took the remains home for my husband.
I'm sure that since they have salads on their menu that DO have cilantro, they just go ahead and chop it up and put it in the entire prepared batch of greens and think that no one will notice.

This totally ruined my Mother's Day meal and the fun I was having, plus I had to go home and eat a meal because I was so hungry! What if I had been allergic to it?

My mother says she loves cilantro and puts it in all kinds of food now. She thinks I'm being picky because I tell her how much I dislike this green stuff. Thank goodness she has never put it in anything she prepared for me.

I also used a spray several years ago to keep my cat from scratching my furniture. I got it at a pet store made especially for cats who scratch furniture. When I sprayed it on the furniture, I smelled this awful scent. I told my husband that I knew that smell but couldn't place what it was. I kept thinking about what it could be and suddenly it dawned on me. It was cilantro! No wonder the cat won't touch the furniture when you spray that stuff on it!

Tampa, FL

Tamara \ Tampa, FL, United States
Sometime in the late 1980s, I went to a Mexican restaurant in a mall near me. I had gone there many times and enjoyed their food. This time, the dish I ordered tasted funny. I can't remember what it was now, but it might have been tortilla soup. It smelled odd too. I ate some and started getting severe stomach cramps. Since then, I've not touched cilantro knowingly. Even the smell of it makes me ill. It wasn't until years later, maybe 20, that I learned my brother also was allergic to cilantro. We had never discussed it before. It must be a genetic thing. My kids seem able to eat it, but I can't eat any food they cook that has it in it. And they try to fool me too, but I can still smell and taste it.

Barbara \ , OK, United States


Please contribute YOUR cilantro story.