The small chain of Asian rice and noodle dishes has made it the New York Times, but not for their delicious eats. Yellow Fever is under attack by "critics" who call their name irresponsible. According to the New York Times, these critics say, "they are making little effort to challenge ideas of how Asian women are viewed sexually.
Ummm, seems like they are indeed challenging these ideas, as the debate has officially begun. Let's also acknowledge that I don't expect the restaurant who serves my food to challenge my thoughts on social change. I also do want my food experience to be as satisfying as sex, if I can. I want it to tempt me visually, cause my body to go into a state of pleasure reception, and complete the food orgasm by actually tasting delicious when I put it into my mouth and swallow. Yes, I have had food give me that total experience, Yellow Fever isn't one of them unfortunately. Their food is tasty and delicious; however, but as a small walk up restaurant, they deliver on the promise of fresh, flavorful foods, that are quick and cheap.
As an Asian-American woman, I am certainly not offended by the name, even though I laughed when I saw the title. I expected to see scantily clad Asian women holding bowls of rice when I clicked on the Instagram account, but was equally thrilled when I saw a family friendly feed of images that expressed their small business vibe of serving great food in a casual atmosphere.
So, is the name offensive? Even my "white" husband didn't understand the derogatory reference, and he's married to an Asian-American woman. Does asking Yellow Fever to change their name, thereby avoiding the term, change the social consciousness? And... where do we stop?
Should Puma have to change their shoe brand because it also shares the word with a derogatory reference to women? Should all schools and Universities with mascots of Cougars be asked to switch to something less offensive? At some point, we have to understand that the responsibility of our words belong to us, and how we interpret them. Words are fueled with intention, and are not bad because of the words themselves, but how we use them.
Thank you Yellow Fever for serving up not only a social debate, but also food we can love a long time.