New Pizza Hut Japan Offering is Sooo Much Coriander (LOL)

New Pizza Hut Japan Offering is Sooo Much Coriander (LOL)

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Coriander pizza: love it or hate it?
Picture: Do you like coriander? Do you like a LOT of coriander? If so, Pizza Hut Japan has a new dish just for you (lol).
Do you like coriander? Do you like a LOT of coriander? If so, Pizza Hut Japan has a new pie just for you (lol).

I have always known pizza Hut Japan for their creative flavoring offering. However, their latest might be, in their own words, a little “too much.”

That’s a lotta grass

Grass (not coriander, lol)
Picture: タッツ / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

PHJ has dubbed the product「パクチーすぎて草」, or “Too Much Coriander (Cilantro) LOL”. It’s a play on the kanji 草, which originally means “grass” but is used as shorthand for laughter in online slang.

This extremely green creation debuted on March 20 and will be available to order until April 9th. 250 of Pizza Hut’s just over 500 Japan locations will sell the pizza. This includes stores in downtown Tokyo, Kyoto, and other major cities. The official announcement warns that the pizza will only be available in limited quantities, so interested parties should order sooner rather than later.

An advertisement for the pizza guarantees “at least 3 full stalks of coriander” will top each slice of this medium-sized pie. The picture attached to the ad shows a pile of pizza completely covered with coriander until only the very edges of the crust are visible.

However, an article on the official Pizza Hut Japan site introducing the creation reveals what lies beneath the herb heap. The pizza also features cheese, tomato sauce, shrimp, and yangnyeom sauce. Yangnyeom is a spicy-sweet sauce often served with or atop Korean-style fried chicken. [1]

Pizza Hut Wants A Slice of The Gen-Z Pie

The cilantro mountain gives the pizza a distinctive green color. However, its March debut has nothing to do with the recently passed St. Patrick’s Day holiday. When asked “why,” a spokesperson for Pizza Hut Japan explained that they designed “Too Much Coriander Pizza” to appeal to a younger audience – specifically Generation Z.

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Pizza Hut chose coriander from over 100 proposed “eccentric” ideas because it is a divisive and unique food. Their marketing team believes it will spark discussion among Gen Z consumers. Ads for the product include the phrasing “even if you don’t like coriander, this pizza could be a conversation starter,” further emphasizing its potentially viral nature.

【公式】ピザハット on TikTok

143 Likes, TikTok video from 【公式】ピザハット (@pizza_hut_japan): “※私たちには妖精さんは見えていませんでしたよ😇 #ピザハット#もりせいじゅ #パクチーの妖精 #パクチー #パクチーすぎて草”. オリジナル楽曲 – もりせいじゅ🥢(足元におてもと).

To tie in with the pizza’s Gen Z theming, the announcement was accompanied by an official TikTok video . It shows the team pitching the idea to Pizza Hut Japan president Nakamura Shoichi and others. It is likely that Pizza Hut hoped that the pizza would catch on with viral video creators on TikTok, YouTube and other platforms. “Food challenges,” in which content creators consume unique menu items or large amounts of food on video, are currently quite popular.

As of the time of writing, at least one reporter – Rocket News 24’s Egawa Tasuku – has taste tested the pizza. Egawa, although a self-reported cilantro fan, described the flavor as “monotonous” and stated that the “too much” name was accurate. [2]

Coriander: Superb Herb or “Nope, That’s Soap?”

Coriander, also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley, or pak chee (from which its Japanese name パクチー is derived), may just be one of the most divisive foods in the world. Some people love it, while others find it disgusting. They compare its odor and flavor to soap, dirt, grass, vomit, or other unpleasant or inedible items.

Studies indicate that genetic variations in the body’s olfactory receptors influence this wide gulf in public opinion. Specifically, it may come from the OR6A2 gene, which regulates odor perception signals sent between the nose and the brain. [3] Pizza Hut’s ads for the “Too Much Cilantro” pie insist that “even those who don’t like coriander can enjoy it.” Scientists may disagree!

Japan typically falls on the “like” side of the spectrum with cilantro. Chefs use it in soups and stews, as a garnish on top of noodle dishes, rice bowls, and omurice, and even as a potato chip flavor. In 2016, the Gurunavi Research Institute even named coriander as Japan’s “Dish of the Year.” [4]

ピザハット on Twitter: “🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿みんなー✨ #ピザハット からデビューした#パクチーすぎて草 だよ😉💚アー写が盛れたので、貼っとくね💗待ち受けにすると、良いことあるかも🤭🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿私のこともっと知りたい人はこちらをチェック✅https://t.co/8V5QGuBRtE pic.twitter.com/nCYLO42Xux / Twitter”

🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿みんなー✨ #ピザハット からデビューした#パクチーすぎて草 だよ😉💚アー写が盛れたので、貼っとくね💗待ち受けにすると、良いことあるかも🤭🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿私のこともっと知りたい人はこちらをチェック✅https://t.co/8V5QGuBRtE pic.twitter.com/nCYLO42Xux

Tokyo previously hosted a coriander festival. However, the combination of preparations for the Tokyo Olympics and the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the event. 2018 marked the last “Pak Chee FES.” The event primarily highlighted Thai food. Trade with Thailand introduced cilantro to Japan, hence why the Thai name “pak chee” is still used in Japan today.

Other offerings available at past festivals included cilantro-infused cocktails and mocktails, cilantro-filled gyoza dumplings, and a smaller, slightly less overwhelming version of the coriander pizza. [5]

Will “Too Much Coriander” Be a Forever Flavor?

Coriander (cilantro)
Picture: tkhs / PIXTA(ピクスタ)

Consumers have had decidedly mixed reactions to the “Too Much Coriander” pizza. It’s unlikely that Pizza Hut Japan will add the offering to their permanent menu. However, it could definitely appear again in the future, as it has certainly generated lots of discussion on social media. It is also likely that Pizza Hut Japan will release other flavors aimed at Gen Z, as “Too Much Cilantro” was chosen from 99 other proposed flavors.

Pizza Hut Japan consistently proves itself willing to innovate with flavors. Past limited-time offerings have included chocolate-topped dessert pizzas, Indian-inspired keema curry flavors, and “The Decathlon,” a ten-meat pizza available exclusively during the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021. The chain has also experimented with cheese-, sausage- and shrimp-stuffed crust as well as non-pizza offerings like chicken nuggets and French fries. [6]

ピザハット on Twitter: “#草生える と言わずにはいられない#パクチーすぎて草 新登場🍕🌿規格外のパクチー量で、箱を開けた瞬間に驚きと香りが飛び込んでくる#ピザハット の 新商品✨ 一度食べると癖になること間違いなし😎パクチストはもちろん、苦手な方も、是非💗詳しくはこちら🍕🌿https://t.co/Zrl6EbYcUi pic.twitter.com/UNnaaIqr13 / Twitter”

草生える と言わずにはいられない#パクチーすぎて草 新登場🍕🌿規格外のパクチー量で、箱を開けた瞬間に驚きと香りが飛び込んでくる#ピザハット の 新商品✨ 一度食べると癖になること間違いなし😎パクチストはもちろん、苦手な方も、是非💗詳しくはこちら🍕🌿https://t.co/Zrl6EbYcUi pic.twitter.com/UNnaaIqr13

It is also a definite possibility that more “Too Much…” flavors will be seen in the future. A regular offering at Pizza Hut Japan is the four-cheese pizza, which typically includes mozzarella, Camembert, Parmesan, and cream cheese. It could easily be renamed “Too Much Cheese.”

These flavors could also compete with Domino’s Pizza Japan, which in 2021 debuted a line of “Overflowing Topping” pizzas including “Overflowing Meat” and “Overflowing Corn.” These family-sized pizzas came with multiple free pairs of disposable chopsticks to aid in consuming the huge piles of toppings. [7]

The “Too Much Coriander” pizza will be available in all its pungent green glory between now and April 9, 2023. It is available for takeout (2500 yen) or delivery (2800 yen) while supplies last. Hopefully, the pizza will make its way to international Pizza Hut locations so that interested gourmets around the world can have a taste of this cilantro mountain.

Spain’s “Otaku Burger” Draws Attention on Japanese Twitter

Sources

[1] Pizza Hut Japan official Web site. https://www.pizzahut.jp/topic/coriander/lol

[2] RocketNews 24. “ピザハットの「パクチーすぎて草」を食べてみた → むしろ食べ終わってからこそ草が生える狂気の仕様.” https://rocketnews24.com/2023/03/20/1808399/

[3] Eriksson, Nikolas et al. “A genetic variant near olfactory receptor genes influences cilantro preference.” BioMed Central Flavour Journal. 29 November 2012. https://flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2044-7248-1-22

[4] PR Times. “日本の食文化を後世に遺す「今年の一皿®」 2016年は「パクチー料理」に決定!” https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000602.000001511.html

[5] Pakuchi FES official Web site. http://pakuchifes.jp/

[6] Pizza Hut Japan official Web site. https://www.pizzahut.jp/topic

[7] Dominos Japan official Web site. https://www.dominos.jp/

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Kay Benton

Kay is a longtime Japan enthusiast and former participant in the JET Program. Their favorite thing to do when traveling in Japan is visiting as many onsens as possible.

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