What foods taste bitter to you?

Sometimes I wonder if tasting bitterness in certain foods has a genetic component, like how some people find cilantro soapy. I love cilantro.

I also enjoy kale. Someone reminded me recently to massage my kale salad to reduce the bitterness, but I wouldn’t say kale is bitter. A bit grassy, and savory, but not bitter exactly, just not sweet and that’s why I like it. And broccoli - people supposedly hate broccoli because it is bitter, but I don’t know what they’re eating because broccoli is almost sweet to me, especially the stems.

It’s not that I can’t taste bitter, it’s there in radicchio & other chicories, coffee, chocolate. Maybe it’s semantics, and kale gets called bitter because it’s a stronger flavor. Or are there compounds that some of us detect or don’t detect?

Is kale bitter to you? Broccoli?

Running down a list of foods considered bitter, I can’t object to any of them. I must enjoy bitter foods…just nada bitter coffee.

I really like all bitter greens in general. I have never tried bitter melon.

I have tried bitter melon and it is too bitter for me. I do have my limits.

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Agreed, bitter coffee is nasty.

Bitter greens make sense.

Bitter beer and chocolate in tandem also work.

Bitter melon with beef/oyster sauce/onions/wok hei could change your mind.

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Where do I find bitter melons?

You could try chatting up a reliable local Cantonese kitchen?

I love bitter foods and seems I have high tolerance for them. Bitter melon is bitter but not repulsive at all (just ate it yesterday, actually). As far as I know, relatives also love bitter things.

Thai coriander tastes soapy to me but not Moroccan and Turk, curiously. If you hate coriander then blame it on your DNA.

The only taste I hate is sugar/sweet. I have unpleasant reactions to sugar. After some testing it turned out I’m just very sensitive to sucrose but otherwise there’s nothing wrong with me.

Actually, last night I read that there’s a bitter-taste and cancer link. (Source)

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There are a lot of bitter foods I’m not fond of, but how much I dislike them usually depends on how they’re used. I especially dislike bell peppers unless they’ve been cooked to death. Minced in a soup that’s been long-simmered, they’re fine. I hate them on pizza.

Many bitter food I like, ginger, cilantro (not the case when I was a kid), pomelo, grapefruit, bell peppers, chicory…

Broccoli, kale doesn’t taste bitter to me.

Bittermelon, depends how they were prepared, sometimes I find them refreshing, other times, just horribly bitter. Once I ate some dandelion as salad, they weren’t that young, and tasted very bitter, but I believe they can be interesting if use in a small amount, accompanying other food.

I don’t like ginseng or dong guai, nor Chinese medicine type of soup. One time husband bought the wrong herbs neem, this was uneatable! If anybody know how to cook with neem, please share.

I believe you can learn to like “bitter” especially in alcohol, cocktail and beer etc.

I saw this book a while, if you like bitter food, maybe you might find this interesting.


In Asian markets, I saw them in Thai or Vietnamese or Chinese stores in Paris.

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I am a visual shopper, so this helps😀

These strips are interesting. I originally got them for a class of my husband but there were lots extra to test with friends. My sister and I both tasted the bitterness very strong and quickly, others just looked puzzled and got no reaction.

There are variations of bitter for bitter melon too. I got mine from a vendor at the local farmers market. The variety seems to matter in the bitterness. E.g. I found this type more bitter than the type above.

Even week to week they taste different.

This is more what I’m after - so it is a genetic thing! I think anyone who’s tried bitter melon would agree that it’s bitter, but does anyone here think of broccoli or kale as a bitter green? I’m surprised a few of you characterize bell peppers as bitter but I rarely eat them. I guess the green ones have a little bit of a bite to them. Other articles mention that some people find soy products bitter - boring old tofu, renowned for its blandness? That’s a surprise!

Though many might not call beer a ‘food’ I’m really averse to the bitterness of hoppy beers. I may be one of few Californians who feel this way as IPAs are all the rage these days.


If the topic was skunky foods, I would have included beer. Took me awhile to learn/find which beers I like…and how cold I need beer to be.

Good one! I don’t drink anymore and used to enjoy hoppy IPAs but they’re not for everyone.

I don’t mind bitter, or sour, if it is balanced with some sweetness. For example, I like radishes and celery with honey mustard salad dressing. I too taste sweetness in broccoli. SO many recipes call for parsnips to sweeten the dish. To me, parsnips are always sharp and bitter, though their carrot cousins are a crapshoot as far as bitter or sweet are concerned.

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No bitterness in broccoli for me. Kale not bitter but I find it unpleasant, similar to grass clippings. Ruins food for me & wish I’d see less of it on menus. I love a good Caesar salad but lately it seems to be commonly made with kale.

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I don’t find greens, ginger or broccoli bitter at all.

Bitterness I love:

  • Campari and Fernet Branca
  • Grapefruit
  • Radicchio and all chicories
  • Marmalade; and dark chocolate covered orange peels (the less sugar the better)
  • Broccoli raab (this tastes only slightly bitter to me)
  • Salted black licorice

It’s interesting that tea is considered bitter, to me it tastes tannic, as does overly ripe eggplant. Coffee tastes sour to me. Others consider these to be bitter.