Coriander: Why you either love it or hate it

Leah Cohen

It has long been a debate amongst friends whether the soft green garnish, coriander, makes or breaks a dish.

For most people, coriander livens tacos or laksa, but for the vocal few, coriander tastes like soap. Literally.

Don’t look at me, because I eat everything, but it’s true that some people seriously have a vendetta against it. Julia Child even hated the stuff.

The soapy taste of coriander can be blamed on you genes. Photo: Thinkstock

Fortunately for those who can’t stand coriander and for those who can’t stand those who hate coriander, there’s actually a genetic explanation for it.

A genetic survey of nearly 30,000 people identified that those with a variation in one of their odour-detecting genes.

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The OR6A2 gene involved in sensing smells, is highly sensitive to aldehyde chemicals, which contribute to the differently perceived flavour of coriander, the researchers wrote.

Native to southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern Asia and Latin America, coriander has made quite a fuss on the internet.

There’s a facebook page with almost 20,000 followers dedicated to hating the pretty shaped herb and their website hosts a corner where people can write creative haiku poems about it.

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While there may be haters, majority of people love it for its vibrant green leaves and fragrant aroma.

From digestion remedies to alcoholic infusions, vitamin waters to spice rubs, coriander is in fact good for you and a very versatile ingredient.

No matter where you are on the coriander spectrum, there’s a dish for you, unless you have the gene then we can’t help you.

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