Vietnamese Cilantro: Much Easier than the Real Thing

vietnamese cilantroI think one of the most frustrating herbs that a gardener can grow is cilantro. Despite the fact that huge bundles of it are sold in grocery stores for $.99, as if massive fields of it are grown as easily as throwing seeds at a patch of soil, here in Ohio, cilantro grows and bolts like it has the biological need to reproduce that rivals rabbits and fruit flies.  I can only grow it for entertainment value because I certainly have never been able to eat it.

So when I found an interesting little herb called Vietnamese cilantro, I was intrigued. It didn’t look like cilantro, but it smelled like it and it tasted like it. The description said it spread vigorously and could be treated like a houseplant in the winter. Damn, so what did I have to lose? Home came the little Vietnamese cilantro.

And here we are 3 months later and I have to say, I am impressed. It quickly grew to fill the planter I put it in. It is somewhat drought tolerant (for when I forget to water my containers). I have used it interchangeably with regular cilantro. I think about the only thing that bothers me is that it has an evil doppelganger growing in my garden. I will be weeding and I see it and that darn weeds looks so much like the Vietnamese cilantro that I will smell it to double check that my Vietnamese cilantro did jump the roost. But that lovely cilantro smell is not there for the weed.  Apparently this weed is Pennsylvania smartweed.    It must be on vacation because this is OHIO.  Sheesh.  It isn’t very smart, is it?

But, wiki-supposedly, Vietnamese believe that Vietnamese cilantro kills the male sexual appetite. I personally have not noticed that side effect in my husband, but when it comes to wiki facts, one has to take it with a large ocean of salt.

I have to say that I am quite pleased with this herb. It is a winner I plan on keeping growing for many years to come.

16 thoughts on “Vietnamese Cilantro: Much Easier than the Real Thing
  1. I’ve never heard of Vietnamese cilantro. We had a lot of success growing cilantro this year in our balcony garden.

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  2. *Emma pulls out the long list, adds Vietanese cilantro to the bottom and sighs*

    So many interesting plants, and so little garden! ;o)
    Thanks for sharing this one

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  3. Oooh, I’m definitely going to look for that! I’ve had decent luck growing cilantro here, though. I always tuck it in under something taller so it gets some shade, which seems to help. I also make sure to pinch off the tops regularly. Maybe that confuses the heck out of it…but I generally get a good crop.

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  4. Now that sounds like a keeper.
    I tried growing regular cilantro this season with the hopes of making salsa….the cilantro that I managed to germinate bolted long before my tomatoes were anywhere near ready to be harvested.
    See…this is why I love your Blog so much LOL!!

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  5. Beth on

    You are so funny, I laugh at every one of your posts and appreciate your humor, ma’am!

    Cilantro is definitely one of those plants that needs to be successively planted, no doubt about it.

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  6. this sounds like something worth trying, my cilantro seeds did not even come up (twice). Bolting has been a problem in previous years, too. And I love cilantro! I will look for this kind and try it, too. btw, I mentioned your tomato tastings in my blog, I hope you don’t mind!

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  7. Jolynn on

    Our cilantro here in NC starts out ok, but quickly goes to seed and turns yellow in spite of our best efforts. We can’t seem to learn from our experience however, and try again each year only to enjoy it for a short time. Where did you find this one? Another ebay purchase, perhaps?

    Love your blog, stumbled across it while looking for info on my frost-damaged fig tree this spring. You always make me laugh and I have learned many interesting tidbits of info. You are my first foray in to the ‘blogosphere’ – I know, I know – welcome to the present digital age.

    Keep up the good work!

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  8. Gina on

    I have trouble with Cilantro in Ohio too. Mine grew a little, bolted, reseeded itself, re-grew, bolted again, then gave up. No matter what I can never keep it growing long enough to use it for salsa when the tomatoes are ripe. If you ever find yourself near Sandusky there is a great Herb greenouse on Bogart Road (Mulberry Creek Herb Farm) that is all organic herbs and peppers and they have so many varieties including cool stuff like Culantro to substitute for cilantro. I also some great other herbs likes Amsterdam Cutting Celery as a celery substitute and green pepper basil. I found dozens of herbs I never knew existed!

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  9. gintoino on

    The thing with cilantro is that it starts to seed as soon as the temperature starts to raise. If you have it in your garden and whant to use it with your tomatos that will still take a while to ripe, why dont you colect it and freeze it. Here in South Portugal we use cilantro a lot, so I keep it on my freezer all the time. You just have to trouh it on what ever you are cooking and it will taste like freshly picked cilantro.

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  10. hannamyluv on

    Thanks everybody for dropping me a comment! I hope you are able to find it. Gina, That is where I actually bought this one. They had a booth set up at Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Design show and this was one of the plants I bought.

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  11. I’ve had pretty good luck getting cilantro to resprout after cutting. You can cut it down to the bottom one or two leaf nodes and it seems to come right back. Also, I use all feathery tops and even the stems after it bolts. Or you could just think of it as a pretty filler flower ;-) Oh, and another thing I’ve noticed is that it seems to prefer sandy soil.

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  12. Where do you find the seeds? I have looked everywhere here in Texas and cannot find the plant or the seeds.

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  13. Jasmine Nguyen on

    Hi, Just a heads up on that vietnamese cilantro.
    Yes it is very yummy and its also my favorite herb yet.
    Best thing to do is to keep it growing in a container because it WILL take over your garden if grown with the other veggies. In vietnamese it’s called Rau Ram. You can easily find it at any asian markets. To grow , all you have to do is cut off all the bigger leaves to eat, but leave a little bit of the growth left on top and just simply stick the stem in water. Usually mine would root fairy fast , longest was 3 days. Good Luck!

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  14. I’ve only recently realized its American/English name when I visited an organic nursery. I instantly bought a plant and am waiting for better weather before planting it. Being from Singapore, I call it laksa leaf. When I eat in Vietnamese restaurants, I occasionally get to enjoy this herb nut am unable to find a common name, despite the familiarity. Nice discussion here on the herb. Enjoy its flavor which lingers pleasantly in the mind.

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  15. I haven’t seen anyone mention the best thing about it. As opposed to real cilantro, the Vietnamese version retains it’s flavor when dried. So now you can have cilantro available for cooking anytime!!

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