Japan Today

Celery most disliked vegetable among adults: survey


Are you one of those people who now eats vegetables that you couldn’t stand when you were a kid? Remember -- the ones that your mom said were good for you?

Or you might still dislike the same veges that you disliked as a kid. COBS ONLINE conducted a survey on the most disliked vegetables and got responses from 871 people.

Q: Do you still dislike vegetables that you hated when you were a child?

YES: 39.4% NO: 60.6%

So we see that about 40% never got over their childhood dislike of certain vegetables. What are those vegetables? Well, an earlier story we ran showed that children disliked eggplants and bell peppers the most. See the story “Eggplant most hated vegetable among kids.“

However, the adults who responded to the survey nominated different vegetables as their most disliked.

Q: What vegetables do you still hate?

The answers were celery (36.1%), bitter melon or gourd (20.1%), tomatoes (15.2%), bell peppers (12.5%), okra (10.5%), eggplant (9%), carrots and cucumbers (tied at 6.1%), broccoli (5.5%) and garlic chives (4.1%).

The most hated vegetables among adults are celery and gourd which are bitter and have a strong taste, but the inclusion of tomatoes was a surprise, COBS ONLINE said.

Other disliked vegetables are shiitake, green peas, cauliflower, pumpkin, coriander, white asparagus and mulukhiyah.

Some of the survey respondents related the following experiences.

“When I went to a restaurant with coworkers, my boss recommended that I eat sticky okra salad and I couldn’t say no. I forced myself to eat it and then I got sick.” (23-year-old woman)

“My boyfriend loves garlic chives but I hate them, so it’s a problem when we go out to eat.” (24-year-old woman)

“I work at a vegetable store, but I couldn’t tell you what a tomato tastes like.” (23-year-old woman)

“I don’t like mushrooms, but someone is always trying to convince me that they are very tasty.” (23-year-old woman)

“Some people make me eat vegetables I don’t like, knowing I don’t like them, just to amuse themselves.” (27-year-old woman)

So if you are in a situation where you have to eat vegetables you don’t like, is there any way to make the taste palatable? Yes, says one of the survey respondents.

“Use mayonnaise or anything that will help remove or ‘cover up’ the original taste and it will be easier to eat.”


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i dont like green peppers or okra. everything else it fine. that being said, i would never allow my boss/friends to make me eat or drink anything. dont these people have backbones. amuse yourselves in other ways.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Garlic chives is a vegetable?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Celery in fabulous in soups, salads, as sticks for dips.

It also has a cleansing effect on the breath.

Okra belongs in GUMBO!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Garlic chives go great stir-fried with Chinese lop-chong sausage.

As for celery, I think Japanese dislike any food that requires them to chew it. With the exception of dried squid, most of the foods they eat, particularly the processed foods, are so mushy you don't even need to masticate. This laziness is causing all kinds of problems with their mandibles.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tomatoes are a fruit, anyway. Also, it's surprising how many Japanese kids dislike tomatoes - I don't know if it's an unpopular food in other countries. It might be that "old watermelon" texture that larger tomatoes have, that puts them off? I love tomato juice (unslated) and baby tomatoes, me, but not so much the larger ones.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is becoming more popular though. 15 years ago you couldn't find it here at all. Mind you at over 100 yen a stalk, a don't buy it often even though I love it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@pamelot: (Celery) It also has a cleansing effect on the breath.

I am sure everyone on my morning commute hates celery :)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Man, how can anyone hate celery?? I grow it like weed in my garden, excellent with stews and soups and yes for all you haters, I do sometimes dunk it in peanut butter!! Celery might not be for everyone, but if you know how to prep and cook it properly, it can add a lot of flavor to foods. Celery is NOT as common in Japanese cuisine as it is in western cuisine, so I think many Japanese are just not that familiar with the vegetable. Kinda like Goya, honestly, how many people in western cultures know how and what to do with it or how to prepare and serve it?


Great point, wanted to say that, but you cut me to the quick!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's the taste of tomato or to be more precise the taste of unripe tomato that turns them off since it has a distinct leaf like flavor same with celery. The other reason celery is not like is that there are not many cooked dish(although it is used heavily in soup and sauce) using celery in everyday life distancing the vegetable from the dinner plate.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am sure everyone on my morning commute hates celery :)

@ tokyokawasaki:

:^P !

Mind you at over 100 yen a stalk, a don't buy it often even though I love it.

@ tmarie:

For soups, check the "reduced price" cart. Celery is often on it. They used to import California celery, for a reasonable price. It had a much nicer look, and held a dip nicely. But now it is mostly only the Japanese version, which is not necessarily better, just more expensive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't stand raw onions and tomatoes from a green house. Never liked spinach as a kid but I love it now. Celery is way too expensive in Japan, so I hardly ever eat that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Celery rules!

tomatoes suck!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yuck im prolly the only one on JT that hates celery. I rather eat umebos.....actually no I rather have neither heh

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I love celery, especially in soup. One interesting way to eat it is putting diced celery into fried rice. It adds a texture similar to nuts.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Tomatoes don't suck in general. But you must go for the expensive, high-quality, organically-grown tomatoes which actually hold flavour, not the tasteless crap that is used for ketchup production. France has a lot of very good tomato producers...

Celery is a tough one as a raw vegetable. It is one of the few vegetables that I do not love. But it is an important ingredient for many very good soups.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree totally with many comments on this page.

Celery is a wonderful vegetable - especially in soups/stews.

I also love a rarer relative of the plant - ashitaba.

Of course, with all of this stuff about vegetables, the main thing is how you cook them.

I have a question.

Does anyone on this list put soy sauce in white rice?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gyoya from okinawa tastes like sh!t !!!!! sorry but whoever likes gyoya is just fooling themselves

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

yuck im prolly the only one on JT that hates celery.

No, you aren't. I eat a very wide range of foods - I'm most definitely not a fussy eater, but I detest the flavour of celery. Those who like it often say "It has not flavour", but I guess when you really dislike something it sticks out. I can taste celery in a dish from 30 paces, and I won't eat it. Give me raw horse meat any day.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Celery with stinky blue cheese is fabulous, or in a crab/shrimp salad. Goes with so many things.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Celery is high in fiber. Just ask your bowels.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Haven't eaten celery in years! As for tomatoes - I can't understand why so many Japanese hate them. The tomatoes here are not world's best, sure, but still OK - I like them!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I remember eating Celery dipped in salt when I was a kid. That was long before the world realised that salt is bad for blood pressure. I used to deep fry the pies from the chip shop, and Mother used to fry bacon and then wipe the frying pan with the bread before constructing the sandwich !! Olive Oil was only sold in the Chemist`s shop for softening wax in your ears LOL. Days of innocence.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Other disliked vegetables are shiitake, green peas, cauliflower, pumpkin, coriander, white asparagus and mulukhiyah.

me too, except coriander !

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hate mushrooms. They are not food, they are fungus. Why anyone fools themselves into thinking they are delicious is beyond me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Very little food I dislike.

But found over the years people don't actually dislike the foods themselves but how they are prepared/presented. Took my son who hated a lot of foods(curse his mother) and now eats nearly everything. Right now he actually demands spinach, etc and gets upset if it don't come.

As for mushrooms, you don't eat the actual fungus you only eat the fruit of it. Said that some fungus is tasty in blue-cheese, etc.

Ditto for celery, etc if prepared well it is oh-so tasty.

Many people don't look outside their own local cuisine as to how food can be prepared in different ways.

My sons said his mates dislike liver, so I invited them over and they loved it, taught their mothers later on a simple trick to make it tasty and tender. Ditto for spinach, etc.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@It"S ME

Actually there are tastes that humans as animals are genetically hard wired to not like, namely chemical bitterness which you can find in spinach and bell peppers because most poisons are bitter and sourness like vinegar which represents spoiled food.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not disagreeing here, yet on same token many humans/animals love them.

We always fed our dogs very smelly cheese(once a month) and guess they no longer raided the rubbish bins, etc.

Can you explain why half of the japanese population loves natto, etc?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ It"S ME I agree entirely with what you say. Chopped celery, carrot and onion fried in a little Olive Oil is the base of many classic soups and stews. When my wife first went to UK she said she didnt like Liver, Lamb, or Pork Crackling. Having tasted it cooked properly she is converted. Since we came back to Japan she is the one making a Beeline to Nissen in Azabu to buy Pork with the skin on and Lamb leg for Christmas. However if anyone has a decent recipe for Gobo I would be interested :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Lovable old lady student: Dento-San, what food dont you like?

Me: Uggh - celery. Never have, probably never will.

Lols: Eeeeh? I cant believe it!

Me: Well believe it baby! COBS Online told me it is very believable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't make cajun food without it. The trilogy: onion, peppers and celery. These people don't know what they are missing!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not just Cajun food, god I LOVE CELERY!! But here in Japan IT IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE!! Not only too expensive but the quality of celery in Japan is mostly CRAP! One long, thin browning stalk of celery for 100 yen?? or sometimes for over a hundred yen?? Highway robbery! Ah, what would a BLOODY MARY be with out CELERY?? Ger some tomato juice, bit of salt and pepper, even some Tabasco and lime juice with Vodka, and last but not least a nice fresh clean stalk of celery and you will be in heaven, I do not recommend it though for Zichi's little white rabbit though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Goya from Okinawa can be very, very tasty if you know what you are doing my dear Wkisour, sorry Wiki is the Cuban pronunciation for Whisky, but anyway go down to Okinawa, ask for Goya champuru! Lovely! The goya should not be HARD, so you need to me nice to eat dip it water with salt, give it a massage for a while then you can wash that off, get your frying pan warmed up, with olive oil etc..make sure the goya is sliced into thin pieces, throw them in the frying pan get your SPAM, Okinawans love SPAM, cut that up too, maybe throw in 1 or 2 raw eggs, mix them up too, make sure everything is cooked, serve over hot steamed rice and you will be in goya heaven!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think I liked celery once and I do mean one bite when I was a little tot. Since then, I cannot stomach it. I hate ginger about equally unless it's with my seafood. For the life of me, I can't see how someone can not like tomato. That's like anti-food to me. Other than okra, everything else on the list is fine by me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What has celery ever done to you!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

On reflection I would have thought Brussel Sprouts would have been top of the list. I suppose they are an alien species to most Japanese. I love them and already have a I Kg bag in my freezer to terrorise my Japanese guests on Christmas day :)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Elbuda Mexicano -

Goya IS very tasty.

You are quite right.

Goya champuru is very good.

It makes a great pickle with vinegar, a little sugar and pickling spice - and of course, some Shima tougarashi (chili) too!

Okinawa has some very interesting vegetables that you can't find anywhere else.

But for general vegetables, I don't think you can beat Hokkaido.

Potatoes, yes, celery, asparagus, sweet corn, tomatoes, cabbage, daikon.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hategobo, please can I come to your house for Christmas? I love brussels sprouts and there are none in the shops (because you've bought them all?)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cleo - the Meat Guy used to sell big bags of frozen brussel sprouts - doesn't he still? They were nice!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Cleo I bought a frozen 1 Kilo bag at Nissin in Azibu Juban Tokyo. I dont know if they do Mail Order. You are right I have cornered the market :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks JohninNaha! I have to agree about the vegetables, yes HOKKAIDO rocks! The best soup curry?? was up in Sapporo in the middle of a real bad snow storm, all of the windows were fogged my wife's who lives there showed us around, and the vegetables in that soup curry were to DIE FOR!! We also went to the Sappor Kuro Raberu beer hall, the french fries?? Not too sure what to call them, potato wedges were so thick, nice and hot on the inside, and nice and toasty? crispy on the outside with a nice tall glass of Sapporo beer!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No renkon on that list?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Love tomatoes, hated them as a kid, though I can't drink tomato juice. They're a fruit anyway, not a veggie. I love raw carrots, hate them cooked. Celery, to me, is an ingredient for soup, not something to eat on its own- yada! Cleo, get to Hong Kong for a weekend before Xmas- one of the great legacies of colonialism is fresh - not even frozen!- Brussels! I once spent Xmas with a Dutch family there & even the little kids were tucking into the Brussels - very popular in Holland it seems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@ElBuda: are veggies really that bad in Tokyo? I will send you a box from my garden next summer. I recommend you the snow cabbage, johninnaha.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Brussel sprouts with a little salt, sauteed with a bit of soy sauce adds to the flavor! I grow them too, not easy in Japan, but love them. How people cannot like tomatoes is beneath me, without tomatoes, what do you have, that's like a staple in many foods, but yes, organic tomatoes or any veggie taste the best. I grow 9 different veggies in my garden now and they have so much vibrant color, smell and taste, not perfectly store shaped, no GM here. When I was a child, I hated most veggies, but now as an adult, most of them I can eat and I have a lot of respect for them now as you can do so many things with them. I think if you get a cook book and do some research maybe youtube, I am quite sure you can find delicious recipes with celery or ANY veggie that is not your everyday ordinary "throw in the pot with water and boil" we don't need to eat like this anymore. We have vast choices.

@Jannetto, I agree, tomato juice uhhhh.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Celery ? wtf? Celery tastes like crunchy water...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Thanks Foxie up in Hokkaido! Yes Hokkaido great vegetables and the people too!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Celery might not be for everyone, but if you know how to prep and cook it properly, it can add a lot of flavor to foods.

Exactly. The reason people dislike certain vegetables is because they had a bad start in their youth: their mothers did not know how to cook.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Celery doesn't need any cooking......wash, shake dry, dip in salt or fill the groove with cream cheese.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Celery doesn't need any cooking......wash, shake dry, dip in salt or fill the groove with cream cheese.

Cook it when using in soups and stews, but otherwise raw is perfect: lots of enzymes. Be cautious with the salt and use yogurt cheese instead of cream cheese (cut down on the calories!) Just my suggestion :-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Celery cream cheese??? Man, you need to seriously throw some peanut butter on it, love the crunch!!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Love celery. Hate the price in Japan. Still, a couple weeks ago I bought an entire celery plant for Y150 from the local shotengai. And, the celery plant was not from the 3/11 countryside.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Almost everyone has one or more foods that they dislike. So what! If everyone liked the same things, life would be boring and predictable. What I don't understand is when some people insist that you should try a food once more if you told them you dislike it. As far as I'm concerned, if someone doesn't like something that I do, it's all the more for me!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Celery is good.

Tomato's a friut? @_@

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People who don't like celery have never tasted my soups or put Skippy's peanut butter on it.

People who don't like eggplant must be nuts. Eggplant is delicious.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I enjoyed reading this article, remembering the foods that I dislike the most. Ironically, I enjoy celery, especially when dipped in Buffalo Wing hot sauce.

I felt sad to read the quotes in the article, with the Japanese women in their 20's having the common experience of listening to others tell them what they should like and what they should do regarding their own food and tastes.

Good to know what I like, and what I dislike, and good to hear that others can have free choice too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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