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McDonald’s China Divides the Internet With Cilantro Sundae

The Cilantro Sundae is a new menu item at McDonald’s in China that has fast-food fans buzzing.

This latest version of the chain’s McFlurry sundae features vanilla ice cream, a brightly colored cilantro sauce, and cilantro flakes on top. It costs 6.6 yuan (about $1.05 USD).

Lovers of the bright green herb have only until February 25 to get their hands on this limited-edition item.

Netizens have voiced intense reactions to the dessert, with opinion split on social media. “Anyone who hasn’t tasted it should – spicy + sweet/creamy does fantastic things on your senses,” wrote Twitter user @SuperSpacedad about cilantro ice cream.

Other commentators were downright revolted. “If hell existed, I’d be forced to eat this every day,” Twitter user @microdile commented. “Would you really want THIS, even if you enjoy cilantro? Every time I look at it, I puke a bit.”

User @AdamKoffler commented, “Might as well just munch on a bar of soap.”

There is a genetic component to people’s divided sentiments about the cilantro plant, according to 2012 research by the DNA testing firm 23andMe.

“Many individuals adore it, but others say it tastes or smells bad, like soap or filth,” researchers stated in a report.

The researchers speculated that “one of a cluster of olfactory receptor genes, likely OR6A2,” might have a role in the perception of a soapy smell and taste in cilantro in European people.

Thankfully for McDonald’s, those groups are expected to be less prevalent in China.

Some folks are so passionate about cilantro, otherwise known (mainly in Europe) as coriander, that they’ve started a verified “I Hate Coriander” Facebook page with over 280,000 followers.

The international “I Hate Coriander” day was announced on February 24 by the page’s organizers.

The Cilantro Sundae is McDonald’s China’s most recent contentious release, that have had online foodies up in arms.

The chain released a limited-edition Spicy Chili Oil Sundae in January, which had vanilla soft serve beneath a chili crisp topping with peppers, onion, garlic, and other flavors.

McDonald’s had previously debuted the Spam-Oreo Burger in China, which consisted of two slices of Hormel Foods Corporation Spam topped with Oreo crumbs and the chain’s distinctive burger sauce.

McDonald’s offers regionalized menus with specialized goods tailored to certain regions, a strategy that has increased the company’s global marketability.

McThai made the news with their release of Chili Paste Pork Ice Cream in Thailand at the end of January, consisting of soft serve ice cream topped with chili paste sauce and shredded pork floss.

After the United States, China is the chain’s second-largest market in terms of restaurant count. At the end of 2020, China has 3,787 McDonald’s restaurants.