Cilantro is incredibly popular in Asia, giving heart palpitations to many travelers heading East: “What am I going to do about food?”. Well, here’s the solution, my friends…

Asia = coriander

It’s not a secret. It’s infamously known, rather than being a shock discovery for most.

But with cheap prices, blue water, exquisite cuisines and amazing scenery, it’s one of the best-choice travel destinations for many.


So, how do you avoid coriander/cilantro when travelling in Asia

Here’s a quick and easy solution.

Go to South Korea or Japan.

South Korea, historically, has been extremely averse to coriander in their cuisine. It’s not a wanted nor appreciated flavour. If you head over there, you’ll have a lot of spicy, and a whole lot less soapy stink bug. If spicy isn’t your thing, you’re going to watch to check out Japan instead.

Now, Japan is quite an interesting one. Coriander/cilantro, known as “phak chi” in Japan, is a recent addition to the cuisine. Not the traditional cuisine, of course, but more so in trendy, designer-esque cafes and restaurants. So, that’s the bad news! It’s arrived!

The good news? Loads of people hate it, too! On average, you request its addition, not its removal. Isn’t that a pleasure? But we’ll take it one step further:

Coriander/cilantro is not in traditional Japanese cuisine!

Woo hoo! That’s a relief. Let’s review the ingredients in traditional Japanese food.

1. How to make ramen

Easy! Broth, sprouts, pork, noodles, egg, sometimes corn, usually vegetables, garlic, chilli, other spices, seaweed…You get the point. No cilantro/coriander/phak chi!

2. How to make sushi/sashimi

Raw fish and rice, or just raw fish! Ha! No coriander! Sometimes the plate will be decorated with edible flowers, but never cilantro! Winner.

3. How to make okonomiyaki

This one’s great and customisable. Egg, cabbage, noodles (if you’re in Hiroshima), toppings like pork, beef or shrimp, sometimes cheese, potato…anything but cilantro! I’m getting excited just writing this.

4. How to make takoyaki

Batter, spring onion and octopus pieces. That’s it! Guess what’s missing? Do I really need to say it? Woo! No coriander!

Okay okay, so you get the point. Despite the language barrier, if you’re trying to avoid coriander/cilantro, travelling in Japan is pretty comfortable.

Uniquely to you Japan, you can also use Doot to connect with local foodies. They’ll take you to the best food spots in their city and you can eat all those delicious, coriander-free meals mentioned up there. If that’s not enough to convince you, here are some pictures that show what a great travel destination Japan is. You can find more photos like these on our Instagram.


The cherry blossoms in full bloom during a Japanese spring. This is in Naka Meguro, Tokyo.
Rural Japan is worth visiting.
The bamboo forest in Arashiyama, just a 20 minute train ride from Kyoto.
Cherry blossoms at a shrine in Japan.
A tori gate in the sea, Japan.

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