This machine is determined to make us like the divisive herb, no matter what!

Our Japanese-language reporter Kouhey is usually braver than most when it comes to eating food from a vending machine — heck, he even indulged in some freshly vended jumbo clams recently. However, when he heard about a machine dedicated to a little green herb called coriander, or cilantro as it’s known in some parts, the news made him back away in fear.

You see, coriander, or pakuchi as it’s known in Japan, is something of a mortal enemy for Kouhey. No matter how many times he’s tried to like it, the pungent smell and soapy flavour of the herb is simply too overpowering for his senses, strengthening his resolve to swear off the green stuff for life whenever he even so much as catches a whiff of it.

However, the coriander being sold from this special vending machine is said to be coriander-hater-friendly. Kouhey still wasn’t convinced, but his curiosity was now piqued, so he decided to take a trip out to at least have a look at what the machine had to offer.

▼ Kouhey took the train to Yachiyo Midorigaoka Station, in Chiba, which is a 15-minute walk from the machine’s location.

After following the route on his maps app, Kouhey finally spotted his destination, which looked much friendlier and inviting than he’d anticipated.

Despite it being a quiet, residential neighbourhood, there were quite a few people here, and a car had even stopped for someone to hop out and make a pakuchi purchase.

▼ That’s when he spied the vending machine, which was selling Kouhey’s mortal enemy 24 hours a day!

Peering inside the machine, Kouhey could see packs of freshly picked coriander on the top row, and below that, there were a number of unusual products like cookies, made with coriander.

What really got his attention, though, was the row near the bottom, which contained jars of Pakuchi Paste for 1,300 yen (US$11.44). According to the handwritten sign, this product was the number two bestselling item for the week, and it was especially recommended for first-time customers.

Kouhey’s coriander-hating heart melted a little at the cute packaging, and he decided to give it a go, inserting his money and purchasing one of the jars from the machine.

▼ The jar was nice and cold, and it had a cute “Pakuci Sisters” label on it.

There were two varieties of paste available — the “basic”, which contains cheese to dampen the intensity of the coriander, and “cheeseless” for those who prefer the taste of coriander.

▼ Needless to say, Kouhey chose the “basic” variety.

▼ As it turns out, the coriander vending machine is run by Pakuci Sisters, which has a direct sales office right next to the machine.

The Pakuchi Paste had apparently made a number of appearances on television, which no doubt led to its popularity with customers when Kouhey visited, and when he stepped inside the store for a closer look, he resisted the urge to run away from the fresh bunches of coriander on the shelves.

▼ Kouhey’s nightmare is a coriander-lover’s dream!

Inside the store that day was Ayumi Tachikawa, the owner of Pakuci Sisters, who also drew the cute brand label seen on all the products, the vending machine, and the side of the store.

▼ Perhaps Tachikawa could help Kouhey get over his dislike for coriander.

Kouhey spoke to Tachikawa and openly told her that he didn’t like the herb, but he also asked her to recommend something that might appeal to coriander haters like himself. She was incredibly understanding, suggesting he try a pack of coriander cookies for 450 yen.

She also recommended this coriander bread for 400 yen, which almost made Kouhey choke with its abundance of green, but he figured it might be easy to pick off later.

Tachikawa was so incredibly understanding and helpful that Kouhey felt his coriander-hating days might finally be over. And as he looked around the store, he saw the shop had quite a lot of fans, as autographed boards from celebrity visitors lined the walls.

▼ Tachikawa says the famous visitors were a result of media being interested in the unusual coriander vending machine.

After chatting to Tachikawa, Kouhey was now looking forward to getting home and trying out the coriander products he’d purchased.

▼ He dove in headfirst, starting with the bread, which was covered in pakuchi.

▼ He decided to try the whole thing as-is, despite all his senses telling him not to.

Taking a big bite, he closed his eyes tight, bracing himself for the pakuchi repulsion. However, as he chewed, he could hardly taste the herb, as it was overpowered by the taste of cheese, which was used in generous amounts throughout the bread.

▼ The combination was really good, and there was no strong flavour of coriander!

▼ Next up were the cookies, which seemed to contain only little specks of chopped coriander.

Wow! These tasted like regular butter cookies, and the coriander was almost non-existent. Coriander lovers might want to add some extra pakuchi on the side to amp up the flavour here, but for Kouhey, these were perfect!

▼ Finally, it was time to try the Pakuchi Paste.

▼ The paste came with a handy leaflet explaining some of the ways to best use it.

Kouhey initially wanted to try it out as a dip but he didn’t have any crackers on hand so he decided to spread it on a slice of bread instead.

Hmmmm… that green paste wasn’t exactly appealing, but Kouhey had come this far and he wasn’t about to give up now.

He bit into the bread, and found…it was actually…could it be? Yes, it was! This was actually…delicious! Like the bread he tried earlier, the paste contained a whole lot of cheese, and although the coriander flavour was slightly there, the cheese helped to cover up the pungency of the herb and eliminate its usually strong flavour so that it tasted fresh and even a little bit addictive.

▼ To check it wasn’t a one-off mistake, Kouhey tried it with some roast chicken…

Wow — it’s not bad! Even though Kouhey doesn’t like coriander, he’d never tried it with cheese before, and he now reckons this is the secret essential ingredient to getting a coriander hater to actually enjoy eating the herb.

▼ A chat with a kind, open-minded Pakuci Sister helps as well.

Kouhey still wouldn’t call himself a coriander lover, and he certainly doesn’t have the ability to eat kilos of it at a restaurant like our other reporters, but he never thought he’d ever be able to eat the herb let alone actually enjoy it so he’s pretty pleased with his achievement.

If you’re looking to convert a fellow coriander hater, why not try the Pakuchi Paste or take inspiration from it and add a heap of cheese to the mix? It’s definitely worth a try, but if that fails, you can always try bathing in coriander instead.

Vending Machine information

Address: Chiba-ken, Yachiyo-shi, Owada Shinden 885-5

Photos ©SoraNews24
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