Why Is Cilantro So Polarizing?

There’s a scientific reason you think cilantro tastes like soap. As much as 14% of the population thinks it tastes that way. As it turns out, the taste actually has to do with genetics. According to Gizmodo, scientists found a gene that influences the smell of cilantro — which determines whether certain people are turned off by the stuff. Soap and cilantro share some of the same chemicals that create flavor — they’re called aldehydes. According to the Huffington Post, when people with the cilantro-hating gene smell it, the soapy smell overpowers any other cilantro-specific flavors.

Genetics firm 23AndMe surveyed 50,000 people to come up with these conclusions — Europeans specifically have a hard time with the smell, yet plenty of people in Asia or Latin America have no problem with it. Some also say that distaste is from association — you have one bad cilantro experience and often never want to try it again.