Cucumbers feature prominently in Thai cuisine, but there are a small percentage of the community who respond with utter revulsion.  One unfortunate bite of a cucumber laden sandwich can result in a ‘gagging response’, much to the surprise of others. 

Thai expats with this response have quickly leant an important Thai language phrase to help avoid this situation.  “Mai ow taeng kwa”, means they don’t want cucumber!

These individuals regard cucumber as a contaminant and will not consume anything that has been touched by a cucumber. Once it has made its way into a salad, onto a sandwich or into a pitcher of water, it is untouchable even if after carefully removing the offending scrap.   

Even the smell is obnoxious. Slice a cucumber anywhere near them and they may leave the room, close a door or go outside until it’s gone.

The level of revulsion for what may be called a ‘puke-cumber’, is hard for others to understand.  ‘’Refreshing” or “mild” are some ways that they describe cucumbers or perhaps “tasteless” or “like nothing”, proclaiming there is no taste or smell.  But when a cucumber hater is revealing their almost phobic response to a group of disbelievers, its likely someone in the room will understand as a kindred spirit.

There’s even a Facebook group called ‘I Hate Cucumber’ where contempt is poured over any promotion of cucumbers, not only as food but when their nemesis is added as an ingredient to drinks or a variety of products including creams or other personal care items.  This has become something like a ‘self-help’ or support group although strangely the majority of posted pictures feature the enemy!  We won’t be making that mistake in this article.

“This is the only place i can speak freely and share my disgust with cucumbers. Everyone else says its good, healthy and tells me its normal to eat cucumber. But they don’t understand how we feel and bad smell it emits. I am the only one in the family, friends and officemates who hate cucumbers. That’s my story why I’m here. I don’t feel alone anymore.”

“So the worst possible thing has happened. My son loves cucumber. Looking for recommendations on good adoption agencies.”

Science is on the side of cucumber haters who can claim to have a superior taste-detecting gene.  It’s known that cucumbers have a high level of phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) which is detected by people carrying the gene designated as TAS2R38.  

PTC is an organic substance with either no taste at all (for most), or tastes bitter depending on the genetic makeup of the individual.  For the TAS2R38 gene carrying ‘supertasters’, PROP tastes and smells utterly revolting.   


  1. Very few people understand you.  In fact, they may get aggressive at the mention of your repulsion. “Just try it” is met with derision so sharp it could slice a damn cucumber.
  2. You’ve wept over the ruining of a perfectly good meal by cucumber poisoning.   “No, I can’t just eat around it. Everything is tainted.”  You’ve lost your cool when it’s been included in a meal despite not being on the menu.  The smell (or touch) alone has you grumpy for hours.
  3. A ready-made salad is the cucumber’s natural habitat and you avoid them like the plague.  The same goes for ready-made sandwiches and wraps. It’s a scary world out there.
  4. The thought of cucumber in water or as a way to ‘enhance’ a beverage makes you gag.
  5. You shudder at the thought of slimy slices on your eyes for ‘relaxation’.
  6. As far as you’re concerned, cockroaches are brothers in arms as they’re also repulsed.
  7. You’ve shown everyone those videos of cucumbers scaring cats to legitimise your struggle.
  8. You’ve grabbed what you thought was zucchini at the shops but at home, realise your folly and fly into a rage.
  9. You’ve faked being allergic just to avoid it and the conversation that will follow.
  10. If stranded on a desert island with only cucumber to eat… you’d gladly starve.
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