Feb 26, 2022

This Is Why Some Folks Think Cilantro Tastes Like Soap

Screen Shot 2022 01 06 at 9.10.58 AM This Is Why Some Folks Think Cilantro Tastes Like Soap

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It turns out there could be a scientific reason why some people love cilantro and some folks really can’t stand it – and your genetic makeup and/or country of origin could be to blame.

 

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But what causes people to smell and taste the same plant, and the same organic compounds, differently?

One reason could be cultural. For centuries, cilantro/coriander was much more prevalently used in non-western dishes, and European and American people weren’t keen on trying those types of “foreign” dishes until sometime after WWII, when it came en vogue.

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One study showed that while 17% of Caucasians dislike the taste of cilantro, only 4% of Hispanics and 3% of Middle Eastern folks have the same distaste. This backs up the claim that simply growing up eating the herb is enough to encourage most people to like the taste, rather than the opposite.

More recently studies have also shown specific genetic differences between the cilantro-haters and lovers as well, with 23andMe identifying a small DNA variation in a cluster of olfactory receptor genes that creates the “soapy” taste for those who have it.

 

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Twin studies have added to the science that supports the idea of a genetic component. 80% of identical twins share preferences on cilantro, while only 42% of fraternal twins agree on the herb.

To be clear, these studies don’t negate the idea that certain cultures are predisposed to like the herb because genetic profiles differ from region-to-region, as well.

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