That Racist Beijing Restaurant? RFH Visited With A Japanese Diner

Beijing Snacks

Its most controversial days are likely behind it, but we have one more update on Beijing Snacks, which some have taken to calling “the most racist restaurant in Beijing” thanks to its owner pasting a “no dog… no Japanese et al.” sign on the front window. RFH recently visited with friends, including a Japanese man named Tomo (initial plans to bring a dog were scrapped). Here’s what he had to say about the place in a piece for That’s Beijing:

The restaurant serves, as mentioned, northern capital delicacies. These usually have a strong smell and taste, and can be found by following the trail of pungent whiffs: one notorious local dish is simply called ‘stinky tofu.’ Our arts editor, James, describes the style as “hearty and heavy. It’s difficult to grow things up here, so there really isn’t much of a varied diet.” Young Beijinger Jinqing says it is “mostly based on Shandong cuisine and quite salty… As the former capital of Qing Dynasty China, it also combines features of Mongolian food (grilled beef and lamb [i.e. chuanr]) and Manchurian confections.”

Ah, but you don’t care about the food, do you? You just want to know how the manager reacted when he found out he had unwittingly served a Japanese customer. Disgruntled, for one…

But overall, the food would fall flat to any experienced Beijing snacker. It turns out that notorious ex-sign was one of the main things going for the place. On that subject, we tried to lure Boss Wang to our table to discuss the matter a number of times, but he was churlishly holed up in the corner, answering our comments with non-committal, monotone grunts. I think he was onto us from the beginning, really. Eventually, while paying the bill, we mentioned how much Tomo, our sushi-guzzling Japanese friend, had enjoyed the food. The frown faded from his face, swiftly replaced by a scowl. All eye contact vanished. I’ve never before seen anyone go so rapidly from grumpy to grumpier. Admittedly, the remark was a touch provocative. But all we’d said was that he’d enjoyed the meal: we didn’t tell him they “serve a much better lu zhu huo shao on the Senkakus” or anything. Still, I guess if you are a serious racist, learning that you just served a grinning devil your own House Special has to hurt in a Special way.

As we said our goodbyes outside, some of the staff gathered at the window to stare at us. This is a non-traditional Beijing goodbye – it says approximately something like “Don’t ever come back here again, you running dogs.” One of them glared balefully through the spot where the sign had once proudly hung on the glass. I gave him my warmest smile and pedaled off.

Invited to comment on the story, PKU Professor of Japanese Studies Wang Jian told Beijing Cream’s editor-at-large that she thought the restaurant’s behavior was “terrible.”

She explained that “that’s how Chinese people were treated during the Anti-Japanese War. But it doesn’t mean they can simply use it now against the Japanese. That’s not what civilized people do. There are surveys in Japan about their attitudes towards Chinese and 70 percent of them don’t like Chinese. But they’d never do that.”

If readers know of any xenophobic sushi bars in Okinawa, though, you be sure to let us know!

‘No Japanese or… dog’: A meal at Beijing’s most racist restaurant (That’s Beijing)

9 Responses to “That Racist Beijing Restaurant? RFH Visited With A Japanese Diner”

  1. narsfweasels

    If they were truly anti-Japanese, they should have given his money back and dragged him to the hospital to have his stomach pumped.

    Reply
  2. narsfweasels

    @Jess

    “No Foreigners” is one thing “No People With Whom We Are Having An Argument” is another. And referring to them as the equivalent of dogs is offensive.

    If a place doesn’t want my money because I’m a non-resident of the country, my business will by necessity go elsewhere. Insulting me is an entirely different kettle of contaminated fish

    Reply
    • Jess

      Well, yes. And I’d argue that the former is worse because it’s done so matter-of-factly. In this restaurant example, it only exists because of territorial disputes. That is to say, if there were no dispute, there would be no nationalistic anger, and no dog comparison. The guy probably doesn’t really think Filipinos are dogs. He’s just angry because of politics.
      The ones in Japan are often simply because you’re not ethnically Japanese (note the photo in the link of the white guy with Japanese citizenship being denied entry), which strikes me as inherently racist. They may stem from some bad experiences or practical considerations, but that’s what it is.

      Or perhaps that just affects me more because of my own experiences. My parents are of different ethnicities. Going back to Korea, if I disclose this information to people, I often get comments on how my blood is “dirty” or “impure.” They don’t usually say it maliciously. They just state it as fact. So, I don’t take to that kind of attitude very well. But, hey, that’s just me. Some people may prefer a nationwide belief in their inherent racial inferiority over being sardonically compared to a dog.

      Reply
      • andrewfx51

        Most of the signs depicted belong to businesses in prostitution and like businesses; you’re comparing apples and oranges

        Reply
        • Michael Robson

          Apparently, due to the tumultuous history (WW2) with the West, a lot of fights break out in Japan, whenever alcohol is served. I’m picturing the ‘run and get your shinebox’ scene from Goodfellas.

          That’s why many US Forces guys are not allowed to go into drinking establishments in Japan. Eventually, I guess (?), that rule kind of spread to, No Foreigners allowed near alcohol–Please, we don’t want any fighting. I guess if the bar has had an incident in the past, they put up a sign.

          But that doesn’t explain why many businesses discriminate against Koreans, Chinese, and Philippines. Oh wait, all of these countries have serious ‘baggage’ when you look at their histories, and apparently when people get drunk, they start to throw down.

          And yes, there are many signs that urge you to have a JP Friend with you.. that is just for language difficulties.

          In conclusion, I don’t think the JP hate foreigners, if they did, they wouldn’t go to the all the trouble to make a damn sign–they’d just let Gaijin in and charge them double the price, then laugh about it later. You know, like local ‘sellers’ do to foreigners in every country in the world? Like Chinese Taxi cabs do to foreigners all the time? It’s called being a tourist. The best you can do in that case is master the language, and let them know you’re not going to pay the Gaijin price. If you speak well, they’ll give you the real price.

          Reply
  3. Six

    I lived on Okinawa for many years. There were a large number of restaurants that would have signs that said no Americans allowed.

    Reply

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