Cilantro NO!
I H a t e C i l a n t r o . c o m
(4,423 members)
Supporting the Fight Against Cilantro!

Visitors share their cilantro stories...


OMG - all this time, i thought i was the ONLY ONE who hated this stuff so passionately! i'm beginning to feel more normal already.
i first met cilantro in kiev, ukraine, where a local recently graduated chef was working hard to impress the american visitors. from day one, i was nauseated by the smell in the dining room and the food at every meal made me retch - but i had no clue what caused this reaction!
by chance i had the opportunity to talk with the chef via translator and discovered how proud he was to be using "the latest" in world-class herbs, cilantro. he put it in every salad, every meat dish and most every side dish; it was even in the eggs at breakfast! AAAACK!
thank God he didn't put it in the oatmeal or i would have starved....

Jcsaint \ St Johns, MI, United States
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I reached the age of 20 before learning how much I truly hated Cilantro. That was the year I began a job as a waiter at Casa Gallardo Grill at the Galleria in St. Louis. In the morning, the chefs would put huge bales of cilantro in an immense food processor and chop it up for all their hateful cilantro-laden dishes they'd be preparing throughout the day. I couldn't even be in the kitchen when this horrid abomination took place, and to this day even (especially) the smell of the devil herb makes me sick.

666cilantro666 \ Los Angeles, United States
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plain and simple. if i ordered a burritto with no cilantro.........and then got home, found it had cilantro and the place was 30 minutes away. id drive back. no problem. just so they will get it RIGHT when i say NO CILANTRO

Geezer \ San Jose, United States
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 | guyzer41's profile

First of all, I am SO excited that there's an actual web community dedicated to the disgustingness that is cilantro (or coriander.) My first experience with cilantro was in a Vietnamese restaurant with my father when I was about 13. I ordered soup and there was something decidedly foul-tasting in it. When I gave it to my father to try, he couldn't put his finger on what was making me retch. He obviously either liked cilantro or didn't get any when he tasted it. I had about 3 spoonfuls of the soup and couldn't eat anymore. It wasn't until someone made me a salad with cilantro in it about 6 months later when I realised that it was the offending herb that literally put me off any food that contained it. In America, those amazing Chipotle burritos would be absolutely perfect if the rice/salsa/everything in the entire restaurant weren't poisoned with the Herb of Death. I hate it!!

Lindsay \ Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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 | lmucka's profile

My first run in with cilantro was at age 10, My grandmother took my cousin and I to a little mexican restaurante in a shady part of town; the perfect place to get authentic cuisine. Although I don't remember what I ordered, I'm sure it wasn't daring, when the waiter came back to check in I complained saying it tasted like there was soap on the dishes, they replaced my food but it was still there, I left thinking I had pinned the taste down to the water glass. I don't remember encountering cilantro again for a while.
I grew up to be a cook and then a chef I am not a picky eater anymore, there are a few foods I avoid but cilantro is not an edible substance to me. I worked in one restaurant where cilantro was abused it was all over the menu but the worst thing was the cilantro pesto, they would take 2-3 pounds of this stuff and run it through a food processor, for about an hour I couldn't be in the kitchen and everyone thought i was being such a baby but this is a serious issue for me, it is impossible to get away from it I love latin and asian cuisine but even a little bit in salsa and I would rather starve. I feel like when I go out to eat I have to ask about it no matter what I order because this shit is popping up everywhere now

As a cook I would like to see this problem adressed, special orders upset most cooks but I understand and identify with anyone specifying "NO CILANTRO" on an order that would not normally contain this stealthy offender. I believe what is needed is a marking of sorts for product labels and restaurant menus this site's anti-cilantro logo would fit nicely next to the "red pepper" indicating a spicy dish on a chinese menu, or the "peanut-free" guaranty on candy bars, And altough cilantro may not send me into anaphylactic shock I intend to continue to avoid my inedible enemy, and spread my overly dramatized distaste for cilantro

P.S. I think coriander seed tastes fine and when freshly ground smells like fruit loops

Chad \ Toronto, Canada
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 | chadrogers's profile

My first experience with cilantro was as a student at UC Davis in California, many years ago. They have a local farmers market there, and it is a fun local event that draws everyone to the downtown. I was walking past a table, heaped high with tomatoes and bundles of something that looked like parsley. It was a hot, sunny day. I edged closer to the table, when I was suddenly hit with a stench. It smelled like horrible, rancid B.O. I jumped back. I figured the farmer selling the stuff was simply in dire need of a shower.

Soon after, I learned that the disgusting odor of cilantro was matched by its horrible metallic taste. My husband (also a cilantro hater) and I have learned to say "No cilantro" in a few languages. As all haters of the evil weed know, once it it sprinkled into a bowl of pho or Thai noodle soup, the soup is a goner. One must insist on a fresh bowl of soup, because merely fishing out the herb after the fact is not adequate.

Karen \ , United States
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My family is Chinese. I grew up retching from the smell of this stuff. It's everywhere where you don't want it - Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican, fusion, what have you.

I must have been three when I first threw up from the smell of it on some steamed fish with ginger and scallions (one of my favorite dishes), before my parents learned to keep it separate from my food. Both my brother and I share the same revulsion of the stuff. We quickly learned all the different names it could hide under on menus - Chinese parsley, coriander leaves, cilantro, pakuchi (Japanese), xiang cai (Mandarin). We also learned that about half of my family also gets nauseated at the smell of cilantro (but not my parents).

I have gotten many a lecture from cilantro lovers who simply cannot understand how someone who grew up exposed to this stuff still gets violently nauseous at the mere smell of it. I still don't understand it myself. I can eat shirako and natto with nary a twinge, but this seemingly innocuous parsley look-alike is the only food I've come across that inspires me to hurl. It's a bit embarrassing really. It's nice to know there are others out there with the same issue.

Now I live in Japan, and it is wonderful living in a cilantro-free society...

(*The Japanese use a parsley called mitsuba, but it doesn't trigger the same vomit reflex in me. I find it an excellent substitute for any recipes that require cilantro. I imagine that mitsuba must be what cilantro tastes like to folks who like it.)

\ , Japan
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 | Gwynwong31's profile

Cilantro tastes like metallic dirt.

Much like the first time I ate wasabi sauce, my initial reaction after taking a big leafy sample of otherwise appealing dewy green foliage at the farmer's market was, "Oh my god, I wasn't supposed to eat that. Oh I hope no one saw me put that in my mouth because whatever that is, it is not edible."

I now fear its medicinal disgustingness lurking in barely visible minced form within the curled bodies of every shrimp in my pad thai. Forget about salsa. Salsa is dead to me.

Ruby \ Cambridge, MA, United States
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A friend had made some homemade salsa for a dinner at work. It looked so good and he was anxious for me to try his recipe. When I bit in to it my mouth stopped chewing automaticly, my eyeballs popped out and I instinctively grabbed a napkin and spit into it. I had no idea it was the cilantro. I thought he had accidentally got soap in it. He told me it didn't taste like that to him but I thought I had to be right. As time went by I later learned to identify that taste as cilantro. I LOVE pico de gallo but have to pick the cilantro out of it.

Tastelikesoap \ , MO, United States
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I just tonight bought a HUGE salad at Whole Foods. It was about $10, with all the fixin's. I bite in, and I have to stop and throw it out. The mixed greens had cilantro ALL TRHOUGH IT! WHY??

Courtney \ Omaha, NE, NE, United States
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 | mcliberal8's profile

I was a junior in college in the spring of 1993 at the University of Texas at Austin when I first tasted the disgusting formaldehyde substitute. The restaurant was El Arroyo (a great restaurant despite the near-inexcusable use of cilantro described below), a TexMex restaurant owned by former Longhorn and Detroit Lion Doug English . I remember having missed lunch that day, so I was particularly hungry. When the appetizers reached the table I took a tortilla chip and dipped it into some delicious looking guacamole, then dipped the guacamole chip into the queso dip and finally topped it off with some hot sauce and salt. My mouth was prepared for the best of tastes, but what it got was nothing short of repulsive. My fear was that someone had accidentally poured some sort of chemical into the food. I immediately spit the food into my napkin and tried to rinse my mouth out with some water. Only upon close inspection of the food on my plate did I notice the devilish little shavings that I later came to know as cilantro. I have been fighting a losing battle with restaurants who serve the stuff ever since.

What is most baffling to me is that some people actually like the evil herb. One friend even told me that he associates the taste with "freshness." While my friend's bizarre sentiment toward cilantro has caused no problems between us, I can definitely say that my relationships with fellow cilantro haters have definitely been strengthened. The bond that I have formed with these courageous detractors is, in my view, the incidious weed's only saving grace.

\ Fort Worth, TX, United States
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My story begins the same as many others: with Thai food. I was a poor student at New York University in the Big Apple and my not-poor friend offered to take me out for dinner, for Thai food, which I'd never had.

He ordered us Tom Kah soup and I took my first slurp and all I could taste was soap. I quietly asked, "John, does your soup taste like soap?"

"No," he replied. I innocently figured that my little soup bowl had not been rinsed well, called the waiter and got a new one. Put new soup in and...


Not knowing the cause, I moved onto a chicken yellow curry, which had no soap at all.

A few weeks later I was at a film fundraiser and bit into a wonderful looking Thai peanut wrap sandwich. My gorge rose and I ran over to the garbage can, luckily spitting out the food solved the problem. I gave the rest of the sandwich away.

Finally, my boyfriend was staying over at my super ghetto Avenue B apartment and romantically decided to make me an omelette for breakfast. He ran to the corner store, picked up eggs, red bell pepper, tomato, cheese and what looked like a big ol'bunch of parsley. But soon the soapy smell hit me and I started gagging.

"Ew! What is that? Get that out of here!" I shouted. Freaked out by my seemingly irrational behavior, he tried to throw it away in the apartment's garbage pail but I made him take it down to the nasty building garbage room instead.

When he came back upstairs, he told me it was cilantro.

Then I finally knew the enemy.

Lauren A.k.a. Lboogi \ San Francisco, CA, United States
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I am a big fan of Tabouli salad, made with curley parsley green onions ect. We were having company and i was going to make some.The supermarket was all out of parsley but they had a lot of what they called Italian Parsley . Well I'm Italian so how bad could it be......... Somebody thaught I put a bar of Ivory soap it the salad. It was so gross I threw the whole thing in the trash.

Ron \ Cape Canaveral, FL, United States
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My well-to-do Jewish Orthodox friends invited me over for the traditional Sabbath meal; the Matriarch of the family announced, "we have rice with Cilantro," like it was some sort of magical rice (like I was supposed to say, "oooOoooOoO, cilantro). I think some people like to say words (like cilantro, or as Jerry Seinfeld would say "salsa") because they think it sounds fancy. I like rice, so I gave it a try. When I ate this stuff, the expression on my face was as if someone took a dump in my hat. I thought the purpose of Dawn was to take grease out of the way, not put the taste of soap in my GI tract. My wife now tells me something is wrong with my genetics because I don't like the taste of Cilantro. Anyway, Greetings from Miami Beach.

Gabe \ Miami Beach, FL, United States
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My first encounter with cilantro was many years ago when I tried a new recipe and added the exotic herb to the pot. Both my husband and I took a bite and looked at each other, making funny faces and said, "What the heck is that dreadful taste? It tastes like a soapy dead animal has died in diesal oil!" We stopped eating and I dumped out what should have been perfectly good meal. We discussed at lenghth what people could possibly find that was positive about cilantro. Were they missing a few screws? YOu've all met the types, "Oh I love cilantro...we eat it all the time in everything." They treat you like you have two heads and are an absolute moron and hypochondriac. Well let me tell you, I love all kinds of different ethnic foods, but if I eat cilantro I get naustious and feel ill. I ordered some kind of wrap at the Rain Forest Cafe and in it guessed it! I started to feel ill and sweaty and called the waiter over. He took it back, but since the food was not made to order and they couldn't take out the weed, I just skipped the main course and ordered dessert. I hate Thai food and Mexican food that has the nasty "C" in it. I haven't experienced that nasty weed in Indian food, which I figure that is God's mercy to me (so far). The funny thing is that I like coriander and can tolerate it just fine! Thankfully both my husband and myself are in agreement on this issue. We both think cilantro is just about the worse thing you can add to any dish. I think there must be gene thing going on with the way certain taste buds react. Some love it and others hate it. My family knows we can not tolerate so fortunately it has not been an issue. Glad to know there are others out there. Cilantro haters= unite! And that's all I have to say about C-I-L-A-N-T-R-O!!!!

Polly \ West Sand Lake, NY, United States
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I watched a cooking show on the Food Network, I won't mention the name of the show because the show's recipes are usually great. I went online afterward, downloaded this recipe for 'Mexican Stew' and then took off for the market and unwittingly purchased the cilantro, one of the ingredients. At home, I noted a strong smell while chopping it and after serving the stew, added generous amounts of cilantro to each bowl. I stirred mine in before trying the new recipe. Oh how awful, almost a chemical-like taste.. and the aftertaste sticks with you a few hours. I'm glad I didn't add it to the entire stew. Never again...VILE WEED!!

Dave \ Paterson, NJ, United States
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The first time I remember tasting or noticing cilantro was when I was about 18 and visiting my mother in England. I was cooking one of those instant pack of curried rice, and started noticing a horrible stench. Something undescribable but that caught my in the back of the throat.I read the package and couldnt find the offending ingridient and of course out of stupid human curiosity had to taste it to see if I could recognise it. The sensation was awful,horrible,sickening. That is the word a taste such as vomit or stomach acid caught me in the back of the throat causing an immediate gag reflex followed by wretching. Who allows this horrible so called herb to be placed unknowingly into otherwise quite harmless food?It must be stopped!!

\ Mackinac Island, MI, United States
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 | greenrat5's profile

I worked at a fancy pants college town deli when I first started college. All my sophisticated college student co-workers were in love with it and put it in everything.

Somebody was making a potato salad and chopping up sprigs of Cilantro.

"What's that?" I asked.


I took a bite of it. "What the hell? Are you supposed to be putting it in food?"

Java McJugg \ Muskegon, MI, United States
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 | Java Mcjugg's profile

SOAPY HELL. Yes, there must be some kind of cilantro gene and said gene must have the characteristic of making its carier percieve cilantro's taste as soapy. My loathing of cilantro began when my mother prepared stuffed mushrooms and shrimp scampi for myself and my friend one night. She could not find parsley at the store and decided, instead, to substitute cilantro - EQUAL PORTIONS. Needless to say the dishes were overwhelmed with cilantro. Up to this point in my life (I was about 20 at the time) I had never even noticed the taste of cilantro. But, that night I most cetainly noticed it. My mouth was bursting with the taste of soap; the dinner was horrid. Ever since then I can not even stand a single flake of the stuff. I love mexican food and dining out and my aversion for cilantro can turn any meal into hell at a moments notice.
I have no doubt now that I have the gene and that it was activated that night.

Kofi Jones \ Wilmington, MA, United States
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I was 5 years old when I tasted for the first time that Cilantro thing. Now I am 68 and still I can not take it.
In Mexico the main chain restaurants, VIPS and Sanborn's now serve the guacamole without Cilantro.
That is good news.
Guillermo Etienne

Guillermo \ Eagan, MN, United States
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Please contribute YOUR cilantro story.