In a small suburb just outside Tokyo, we biked out to the main drag in search of a late dinner. Looking up at a bright second floor window, in an unassuming building, we took a small elevator up one floor to find a bustling scene of diners, energetic waitstaff, and kitchen firing out hot dishes—nearly every one with pops of leafy green. All the buzz was about an often contested herb, reviled for its 'soapiness' to some, loved by others for its freshness, and commonly known as coriander or cilantro.
The restaurant is called Paxi House (paxi being the Japanese translation for coriander) and uses the herb in creative ways as a key role in every dish, and possibly beverage too. It was started by avid traveler and social marathoner (more on that later) Kyo Satani who repeatedly discovered the plant as a common thread in cuisines throughout his many travels around the world. He found that Japanese cuisine didn't utilize the plant and saw an opportunity to bring a flavor he loved to his home country. Kyo went on to create an entire restaurant devoted to paxi.
Paxi House devours about two tons of coriander a year since the nine years it has been around. It helped start a wave of other paxi-centric restaurants, products, and even farms that now grow coriander.
Kyo himself is a warm and friendly entrepreneur who shared his story with us after we dined at his restaurant. Kyo has traveled to over 50 countries (Iran being one of his favorites), runs Paxi House and a co-working space above the restuarant, and commonly runs 'social marathons'. He described them as marathon-length runs with friends (sometimes strangers) to explore new cities that often end with many beers. He even runs all over Tokyo and avoids the subway, just because he enjoys running so much.
If you ever find yourself in Tokyo, take a chance at heading out to Kyodo to try some delicious coriander at Paxi House. Maybe even meet Kyo and see where he is off to travel next.
Paxi House Tokyo (パクチーハウス東京)
1 Chome-25-18 Kyodo, Setagaya, Tokyo