After opening "Sushi Counter," an NYC-based sushi store that sells "Australian-style" rolls, the owner was met with backlash – simply because she wasn't Asian. The woman who launched the shop is nicknamed "Sushi Sheila" by the internet.
The outrage began when one of her videos about Sushi Counter went viral on X (formerly Twitter) after it was shared by chef Eric Rivera (@ericriveracooks). Rivera tweeted, "but it's 'stralian sushi. give me a break colonizer."
"Why is someone who is not of Asian descent, better yet from Australia opening a sushi spot in NYC?" asks another X user. After the outrage, people allegedly stormed to give her a one-star review on Google. Luckily, many people came to her defense, and Sushi Counter's average rating stands at 4.8 stars at the time of writing.
The irony is that Rivera, who is from Puerto Rico, had plans to open a Japanese fusion restaurant in North Carolina.
Getting mad at a white person for opening a sushi restaurant is a chronically online take. There's a big difference between "cultural appropriation" and appreciating one's culture. Besides, food is a universal language – even England's national food is the Tikka Masala. It's 2023, and instead of encouraging each other to appreciate other countries' creations, people are criticized for it.
In any case, Sheila's new store sounds like a great alternative to the expensive spots in the Big Apple. Unlike other sushi restaurants in NYC, Sushi Counter is affordable, charging $12 for three rolls. "We do one thing (and we like to think we do it well) - Aussie-style hand rolls," Sheila's website reads. "We may have a small footprint here in the West Village, but we have a big dream - to make fresh, yummy hand rolls you can afford every day of the week."
It continues, "Roll on in any time, we promise you’ll be greeted with a big smile!"
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