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POV: You take one bite of cilantro and your mouth tastes like you’ve bitten into a bar of soap. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Folks on team ‘cilantro-on-the-side-please’ tend to find that the herb tastes more like laundry detergent than a deliciously fresh and peppery plant.

And while plucking it off your every bowl of pho feels like a dreadful curse given how much yum you know cilantro should bring, Inna A. Husain, MD, the medical director of laryngology at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, says it may have a silver lining…depending on how you look at it.

According to Dr. Husain, having a distaste for cilantro does not necessarily a picky eater make. Rather, it has everything to do with your genetic composition. “Some folks simply have a different genetic makeup that makes them perceive the flavor of cilantro—and other ingredients—as soapy,” she says. What’s more, this may be indicative of being a “supertaster,” or someone whose sense of taste is more intense than average.

Why cilantro tastes like soap for some folks 

From a scientific standpoint, being a supertaster (or smeller) is correlated with having more taste and smell receptors than the majority of people, which means being able to more easily detect specific compounds found in foods like cilantro.

“Included in these additional taste receptors can be some for detecting the compounds phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) and propylthiouracil (PROP), which are often found in broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts. We don’t know if cilantro contains these for a fact, but it’s highly suspected,” Dr. Husain says. Studies show the two compounds, PTC and PROP, are generally perceived as either tasteless or bitter.

Supertasters tend to perceive bitterness more than others

The term “supertaster” was coined by the experimental psychologist Linda Bartoshuk, PhD in the 1980s, who studied

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