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Indignation erupts after Whole Foods partner with Yellow Fever Restaurant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Amazon.com's Whole Foods Market has partnered with an Asian restaurant with the racist name Yellow Fever for its social media fans for its latest store in its 365 food chain.

A Whole Foods Market Store is seen in Santa Monica, California, on March 19, 2018. REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson

The independently owned restaurant ̵

1; whose name is derived from the slang term for the sexual attraction of a white man for Asian women – is located in the 365 store, which opened Wednesday in Long Beach, California.

"An Asian" bowl "resto called YELLOW FEVER amidst the whitest Whole Foods – is this the recapture of a racist image or a colonized spirit?" Columbia University professor and author Marie Myung-Ok Lee wrote on Twitter.

Whole Foods, which has eight branches in its 365 chain, launched with a straightforward concept to win millennials, declined comment.

"Yellow Fever celebrates all things Asian: the food, the culture and the people and our menu reflects the cuisine of Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand and Hawaii," said Kelly Kim, Executive Chef and co-founder of Yellow Fever which also operates two restaurants in Los Angeles.

"Since our founding over four and a half years ago in Torrance, California, we are a proud Asian-owned female company."

Kim, a Korean, said in earlier interviews that she knew that. The name choice would be eye-catching and controversial.

"One night we just said" Yellow Fever! "And it worked. It's ironic, somehow shocking, and it's not exclusive – you can put all Asian cultures under one roof with one We just decided to do it, "Kim told Asian-American news site NextShark six months ago. A year ago, she told the Argonaut, a local news agency in Los Angeles, that yellow fever meant "love for everything Asian," and that the public repression of the name was not as drastic as expected.

Some people in social media defended the news of partnering with Whole Foods as part of a broader cultural trend.

"This is not more offensive than @abc, who calls an Asian sitcom Fresh of the Boat or FOB considered racist [sic]," wrote Lorin Hart, who uses the Twitter handle @CubeProMH.

Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Arrangement by Marguerita Choy

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