The herb is called coriander, cilantro or Chinese parsley according to Wikipedia. Coriander is native to regions spanning from southern Europe and North Africa to Southeastern Asia. The unique herb is probably familiar to your country. It has been getting very popular in Japan as well these past ten years. Actually, it was forgotten for centuries. Coriander was first described in a book entitled “Engishiki” in 927, which is a Japanese book about laws and customs. However because of its strong and distinctive flavor, the herb did not go well with Japanese food and the people did not like it. And there are some books that describes it was used as a medicine in Edo period (from 1603 to 1808). After World War II, coriander was first distributed in the market in the late 1970s. And again it did not sell at all. But as international cuisines became popular in Japan, the Japanese people finally realized how good it tastes. The herb is called the Thai term “Phakchi (pak chee)” in Japan. They say phakchi is a herb people either love it or hate it. There are many phakchi lovers and haters and we sometimes argue about it (in a funny and humorous way though) when drinking. Phakchi lovers describes themselves as “Phakchist (パクチスト)”, the coined word from ‘phakchi’ and the suffix ‘-ist’. Surprisingly, there are more than 70,000 results on “Pakchist” in Japanese when you google the term. Now we have restaurants in Japan that specialize in phakchi. We will show you some of the restaurants today. Ok, let’s start!
Photo: Discovery Japan
Paxi House Tokyo [Tokyo]
Pax House Tokyo was opened in 2007, this is the first restaurant in the world for coriander specialized. Each every dish contains coriander, even in sweets. And they have a unique rule when you want additional coriander; say aloud “Tsui Paku!”. The louder you say it, the more coriander staff bring to your table. Yell out if you want lots! And another unique thing about the restaurant is that they encourage customers to interact with other customers by sharing a table. So do not worry if you have to dine out alone, you will easily be able to make coriander friends there.
Cilantro Yoyogi Uehara Bal [Tokyo]
Cilantro is a Spanish bal-style restaurant with Latin-inspired dishes. Their green paella with small red snapper and cilantro paste is a popular dish (two days advance reservation required for the paella). Not every dish has coriander in it but many dishes comes with cilantro, as its restaurant name. They have started buffet lunch on every weekend. 90 minutes for 1,800 yen (without tax) with more than 15 kinds of foods; cilantro salad, bread, paella, meat dish, sweets and soft drinks.
Soi Roppongi Thai Restaurant [Tokyo]
Soi Roppongi is a stylish restaurant in a stylish area Roppongi, Tokyo. The food is fusion style of Thai and European so give it a try if you are interested in something new. Good place for a romantic dinner.
Go Go Phakchi [Osaka]
Go Go Phakchi is the first coriander specialized restaurant in Osaka. The staff bring a glass of water and a glass full of coriander for you when you take a seat at a table first. The coriander is organic and all you can eat for free of charge! Located in a business area and many office workers who love coriander dine at the restaurant for lunch and dinner. Osakan people are said to be humorous and the owner has started to sell coriander bath infusion. Have you ever wondered a bath with coriander?? The bag contains 4g of dried coriander (equals to 100g of raw coriander) and you can enjoy phakchi scent from head to toe!
Thailand Yatai 999 (Khao Khao Khao) [Tokyo]
If you want to eat heaps of coriander, Thailand Yatai 999 is the perfect place. Pakchist call it Phakchi Heaven. Located near Nakano Station in Tokyo, their famous dish is “Legendary Phakchi Hot Pot”, which is pork shabu-shabu (thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water) with mountain-shaped coriander on top. The weight of coriander is 1kg! That’s a lot but in case you want more, you can order additional coriander for 500 yen. You need an advance reservation for the special hot pot (only 2 tables accepted per night). The owner is a Thai food geek the top chef learned Thai dishes in Thailand so you can enjoy other Thai foods here as well.
Check out these restaurants if you have a craving for coriander in Japan!
Source: wikipedia, facebook, facebook, paxi house tokyo facebook page, facebook, Cilantro facebook page, facebook, facebook, Soi Roppongi facebook page, Go Go Phakchi website, Go Go Phakchi website, Go Go Phakchi facebook page, facebook