May 11, 2014
I first encountered coriander (as it is known in Australia and UK, cilantro is the American name for it) some 20 years ago. It was mixed in a salad I bought at a salad bar in a food hall. I just had this sensation of having swallowed something metallic, just an awful taste in my mouth and throat. I couldn't identify the offending substance as there were too many ingredients in the salad, I just assumed something was badly off, and dumped the lot in the nearest bin.
Over the next few years, I got the same awful taste a few times, but was never able to tell which ingredient caused it. Then I met my wife, who is Vietnamese - one day she served a meal with coriander in it, which I was able to separate from the rest of the food, and so I found out what the cause of my reaction was.
Now when I go to a Vietnamese restaurant, I have to tell the waiter/waitress not to contaminate my food with coriander (or cilantro when I am in the US). They almost always put it in soups, and add it to other dishes as a garnish, like parsley. Indians sometimes put it in curries.
If you know it is in the dish, and you have this reaction, don't eat it, it will take hours to get rid of the taste. If you think that they may include it in a dish, tell them beforehand to exclude it.
The scent is so strong I can smell it at the next table in a restaurant. It really is disgusting stuff, a vile noxious weed that should be eradicated from this earth!