In this Thursday, April 11, 2019 photo, pedestrians walk past the Lucky Lee's restaurant in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York. The owner has drawn backlash for touting offerings of “clean” American-Chinese cuisine, renewing debate about cultural appropriation in the restaurant world. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

NYC Chinese eatery heats up cultural appropriation debate

April 12, 2019 - 12:35 pm

A Jewish woman who touted her New York City eatery as offering "clean" American-Chinese cuisine has become the latest restaurateur accused of stereotyping and cultural appropriation.

Lucky Lee's, which opened this week in Greenwich Village, reignited the debate about how chefs should handle cooking food from a culture that's not their own.

Online critics say the restaurant in its promotion relied on tired, racist tropes that Chinese food is unsanitary or grotesque.

In previous Instagram and blog posts, Arielle Haspel described Chinese dishes as swimming in "globs of processed butter," sodium and MSG and causing "icky" feelings.

Haspel says she was not commenting negatively on all Chinese food.

But in the social media age, chefs and restaurant owners are being called out more than ever for perceived cultural missteps.

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