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🍵 AAPI restaurants lost $7.4 billion

To: SharkBites Readers

Date: January 26, 2023


Hello, everyone!   

A new study reveals that COVID-related stigma cost Asian American restaurants over $7.4 billion in lost revenue in 2020.

As anti-Chinese sentiment rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers from Boston College, the University of Michigan, and Microsoft Research studied the subtle patterns of consumer discrimination stemming from anti-Asian bias and how it has led to the 18.4% decrease in traffic relative to comparable non-Asian restaurants. In their study, titled “The cost of anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic,” which was published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour on Thursday, researchers found that Asian restaurants in the U.S. suffered an estimated $7.42 billion in lost revenue in 2020. There were greater losses in areas that had higher levels of support for former President Donald Trump, who explicitly blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on China and regularly referred to it as the “China virus” or “kung flu.”

The findings, which were derived from a series of surveys, online search trends, and consumer traffic data, are consistent with “the roles of collective blame, out-group homogeneity and ethnic misidentification.” In an interview with NextShark, co-author Justin T. Huang, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan, explained that anti-China bias among consumers who would misidentify other Asian restaurants as Chinese have led to decreased visits to non-Chinese Asian restaurants as well. 

Spotlight 💡
  • Nina Lee, Senior Director of Communications at The Oriel Company, is helping Asian artists like NIKI, Joji and Rich Brian shine. As a publicist at the women-led agency, she handles a wide range of tasks for artists including media outreach, event coordination, and press releases. Lee is breaking down barriers as an Asian American woman in a male and White-dominated industry. A 2021 report from USC Annenberg found that “52% of artists’ publicists are white women and underrepresented women make up only 12%.” Last year, Lee oversaw publicity for Japanese singer Ado during promotions for the “One Piece: Red” film.
Nina Lee
Courtesy of Nina Lee
Race in America 🌎
  • AAPI publishing house: Publishing industry veteran Charles Kim and digital marketing executive Stephanie Lim have launched Third State Books, a publishing house focused on Asian American and Pacific Islander voices and stories. Based in San Francisco, its first title will be "Not Your Model Minority" by Emmy-winning news anchor Dion Lim, which explores the resilience and togetherness of the AAPI community in response to anti-Asian hate and violence, set to be released in early 2024. Other titles on the first list include "The Slacktivists’ Guide to the World" by the Slacktivists, "Big Emotions" by Jenny Wang, and an untitled book by Garry Tan. Third State Books aims to break through the traditionally well-guarded and gate-kept industry and enable Asian American storytellers to tell their stories on their own terms, without having to answer to the biases of the established system. The press plans to experiment with non-English-language editions, and aims to turn Third State into a multichannel media company.


  • A Chinese culinary superstar: Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, an expert in teaching Americans to cook traditional Chinese food, passed away on November 13 at her home in Montclair, New Jersey at the age of 85. She wrote 11 cookbooks and won a James Beard award for her work in codifying traditional Chinese cooking techniques for American audiences. Lo's first cookbook, "The Dim Sum Book," was published in 1981 and was followed by 10 others, including "Eileen Yin-Fei Lo’s New Cantonese Cooking" (1988) and "Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking" (2009). She was born in Guangzhou, China and immigrated to the United States with her husband in the late 1950s. Lo's mission was to educate Americans on the nuances of traditional Chinese cuisine and she frequently took friends and colleagues to Chinatown in Lower Manhattan where she taught them how to navigate the shops and restaurants and showed them her favorite places to get ginger, sausage or dim sum. She even taught culinary giants like Chef David Burke and Charlie Palmer how to cook Chinese cuisine for their own restaurants.  
Eileen Yin-Fei Lo
In Other Asian News 🗞
  • Modi documentary censor: The Indian government has banned the links to a recent BBC documentary examining the role that Prime Minister Narendra Modi played in the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. The ban was enforced using emergency laws brought in by the Modi government two years ago, and social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube quickly complied with the censorship requests. Posts on about 50 Twitter accounts were removed as well as an unspecified number of YouTube channels. This move by the government is not the first time that the 2021 information technology rules have been used to censor online content critical of the administration, and human rights groups and digital activists have widely criticized the law for giving the government too much power to remove any content it deems to threaten “the unity, integrity, defense, security or sovereignty of India”.


  • An arctic Asia: Millions of people across East Asia are dealing with a severe cold snap, which has brought travel chaos during the Lunar New Year holiday. Sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow have caused widespread disruption. In South Korea, heavy snow warnings have been issued and temperatures in the capital, Seoul, have fallen to as low as -15 degrees Celsius, and to record lows in other cities. On the tourist island of Jeju, hundreds of flights were canceled and passenger ships were forced to stay in port due to huge waves. In North Korea, authorities warned of extreme weather conditions as the cold wave swept through the peninsula. In Japan, hundreds of domestic flights were canceled and high-speed trains suspended due to heavy snow and strong winds. In China, a blue alert was issued for a cold wave and temperatures dropped to -53 degrees Celsius in the northernmost city of Mohe, the lowest ever recorded. Climate experts warn that such extreme weather events have become the “new norm.”
Entertainment 📺
  • XG are shining stars: Global girl group XG released their new single “Shooting Star” on Wednesday. The septet, composed of members Jurin, Chisa, Hinata, Harvey, Juria, Maya and Cocona, are all Japanese, but are fluent in Korean and English. The girl group have performed on Korean music stages and went viral for their “GALZ XYPHER” video, which saw several members rapping in their three languages. Soloist and GOT7 member Jackson Wang reacted to the video and called XG the future.   


  • Kina Grannis’ search: Japanese American YouTuber and singer-songwriter Kina Grannis is looking for a donor for her mother, who has a rare type of bone marrow cancer called myelofibrosis. Grannis noted via Instagram that since her mother is Japanese, she has “a better chance of matching with someone who is also Japanese.” “If you know anyone with Japanese blood, please pass this along! (that said, her perfect match could be anyone of any race, so ideally everyone under the sun gets on the registry!),” the musician wrote. “AAPI folks (as well as other people of color) are underrepresented in the bone marrow registry so it can be MUCH harder for them to find a match. Let’s fix this!” she continued. Her recent post also shared details for anyone interested in helping out. 
Kina Grannis (right) with her mom (left)
What else is on our minds? 🧠
  • Thailand has threatened a boycott of the upcoming 2023 Southeast Asian Games after Cambodia announced that the games will use the name “Kun Khmer” instead of “Muay Thai.”
  • Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” has been renewed for a sixth and final season. 
  • The first “Moana" themed attraction at any Disney park is now open at Disney World. 
  • A study has found that music from BTS is good to fall asleep to. 
  • A German events location has drawn backlash over an ad about an “exotic Asia” party that featured “Geisha Girls.”
Resources 💝

GoFundMe: Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California (AJSOCAL), in partnership with The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), Asian Pacific Community Fund (APCF), Stop AAPI Hate, Gold House, Stand with Asian Americans and Chinatown Service Center, has organized a GoFundMe page for the benefit of the victims. As of this writing, the campaign has raised over $359,000.

Mymy Nhan’s GoFundMe: Individual page for Mymy Nhan’s funeral funds. 

Xiujuan Yu’s GoFundMe: Individual page for Xiujuan Yu’s funeral funds.  

Ming Wei Ma’s GoFundMe: Individual page for Ming Wei Ma’s funeral funds. 

Memorial and resource center: A memorial honoring the lives lost and survivors has been established at Monterey Park City Hall located on 320 W. Newmark Avenue. A resource center is open at the Langley Senior Citizen Center in Monterey Park.  

Asian Mental Health Collective: A list of mental health and other great resources. 

Yellow Chair Collective Therapy Sessions: Yellow Chair Collective are offering six free trauma-informed therapy sessions available in English, Mandarin Chinese and Korean. 

Grief circle: Hate Is A Virus will host an online AAPI community grief circle on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 6:00 p.m. PT. Registration link is here.   

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California hotline: Confidential hotline available in seven Asian languages.   

Do you have favorite music to listen to before sleeping? 

I don't really listen to music to fall asleep. I do like softer and acoustic tracks if I am trying to relax though. 

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