Location of the company in Long Beach. (Stephanie Tran / Yellow Fever)
Even before she opened a location at Whole Foods, Kelly Kim had been thinking about how the name of her restaurant could be badly accepted by the public.
She debuted the first "Yellow Fever" restaurant, in late 2013, a self-confident reference to a term commonly associated with the sexual fascination of a white man for Asian women.
"Once I had a girlfriend who packed our food for lunch and her white boyfriend was not sure if he could eat here," she said last year of the Asiatic cultural site Next Shark, adding that she was the one To use the term "re-appropriate" to define it that way.
But after Kim's third dispute has come a controversy restaurant opened in a Whole Foods 365 in Long Beach on Wednesday, triggering an immediate social media outcry claiming racist overtones.
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne infection that kills thousands each year, especially in Africa, and named after the jaundice bleeding the virus per dukes. But the sexual connotation of the term has drawn a considerable review.
"An Asian & # 39; resto called YELLOW FEVER in the middle of the whitest Whole Foods – is this the withdrawal of a racist image or colonized spirit?" Marie Myung-Ok Lee, an author and professor at Columbia University, wrote Saturday on Twitter
Kim, the chef and co-founder, said the restaurant "celebrates" all Asian things, including the kitchen Korea, Japan China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Hawaii
"We have been a proud Asian-owned, female-owned business since our founding four and a half years ago," states a statement that was submitted to the Washington Post and not She told CBS 2 that she had been surprised by the criticism and said that following her Torrance location, which opened more than four years ago, together with a second location in Venice, barely had any problems with the name given in 2016.
I hope as soon as they come in and try our food and see us who we are and who we want to be, they will realize that they are around that take care of little child, you know? Said Kim, who immigrated to South Korea as a child to Houston.
Much of the criticism is directed against Whole Foods and the perception of the store, which targets a wealthy white population.
"I do not understand why" Yellow fever "is racist? That's exactly the problem, "wrote a Twitter user on Saturday . Brin Inks, a woman interviewed by CBS 2 before the shop, said the term carries an offensive sexual and racial indictment.
Kelly Kim, Center.
Austin-based Whole Foods did not immediately ask if the Yellow Fever name raised concerns in the company, whether locations in other stores are opening, or whether Decision after public reaction.
The relationship between the restaurant and Whole Foods is unclear. lists Yellow Fever and another store, Groundwork Coffee, as the "friend" of the point of sale (Whole Foods is owned from Amazon.com; Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, also owns the Washington Post.)
While some saw the name as racist, others noted the association of the deadly Illness that rages poor nations. "I can not separate the name from the yellow fever (the disease) or the damn painful shot that is being shot, so I'll probably faint," wrote Laura Seay, a Colby College government professor and an Africa analyst, on Twitter .
Kim has ignored the concerns over the name in the past and she quietly voiced local success could have helped to put the name to the fore.
"We're still shattered and not a perfectly well-known entity, so some people make us think we're selling bowls or … you know, something else", they say "Next Shark" obvious allusion to the well-known controversy of the term "yellow fever".
The company's news has also offered a winking defense of the name.
"Yellow Fever … yes, we really said that, yes, the name definitely attracts your attention, but instead of closely linking it to a deadly disease or to racist stereotypes, we choose that term and interpret it positively ourselves, "it says in a material that was made available to the post office.
Reviews of the three restaurant chains have been overwhelmingly positive, noting the bright decor and wide variety of Asian-inspired dishes, such as the bowls of Seoul and Tokyo. Guests looking for a light refreshment can opt for the "Bruce Lee" – a blend of green tea and lemonade. "So delicious," beamed a Yelp reviewer.
But other yelpers took the name to heart. "First, change the name Do you think it's cool to use racial terminology for you, do you think it's okay for Asians to refer to this name?" A reviewer wrote in October 2016, leaving a star behind.
Another diner struggled to reconcile the name with her affection for eating at Yellow Fever.
Ugh, the name of this place is driving me crazy, "one woman said in a five-star report in August," but I'll be damned if they do not make a tasty bowl.
& # 39; It's just not what people no longer want: Subway to shut down hundreds of US stores
Sweet taste of victory for Peeps unionists as judge against Candymaker