After sitting down with her two kids at a restaurant called Johnny’s Burgers in suburban Perth, Lisa Chappell was horrified to learn that one of Johnny’s specialty burgers is called the “Ching Chong Burger”—Chappell was in fact so horrified by the name that she has begun a petition calling for the “offensive” burger to be removed from the menu.
“Touted as a ‘Gourmet North American-style buns and challenge burgers, dished up in a simple, spacious hangout,’ Johnny’s Burger Joint serves up an extra side dish that is frowned upon by many. Racism!!” Chappell writes in her petition on change.org which is currently aiming for at least 200 signatures.
“The offensively named CHING CHONG Burger has sat proudly on Johnny’s menu for many years, however enough is enough!” she continues. “Help us stand up to racism and force Johnny’s Burger Joint to remove this burger from their laminated menus.”
After her petition came to the attention of the local news in Australia, Chappell told theCanning Times, “As an Australian-born Chinese, I find the use of this term in our current society unacceptable and place it in the same category as derogatory terms used for Indigenous Australians and African-Americans.”
The restaurant’s owner, Johnny Wong, an Australian of Malaysian descent placed this now-controversial item on his menu three years ago. According to 7 News, Wong has said that he had zero intentions of offending anyone and that the two words had been chosen “because they mean ‘authentic’ or ‘original.'”
However, Chappell’s petition, which is steadily climbing its way to its goal, isn’t the only one on change.org regarding the matter. A man named Josh Mckenna-Birkby has launched a counter-petition, calling for the Ching Chong Burger to remain on the menu.
“Some over-sensitive wally has seen the light-hearted naming of a burger and is taking it way too personally,” he writes. “Please sign this petition if you feel the name of the burger is fine and she needs to grow up… It’s not racism.”
Btw, the controversial, “Asian-inspired” burger is topped with fried egg, Sriracha hot sauce and mayo swirl, along with lettuce, tomato, and coriander.
The fight over the burger’s controversial name has made its way to the review section of Johnny’s Burgers’ Facebook page, with some voicing their support for the restaurant and others speaking up in protest:
While the burger and its controversial name have been on the menu for only three years, the term “ching chong” has a much longer history as a racial slur. Originating from the way that the Chinese language can sound to a foreigner’s ear, the pejorative has continued to pop up into the 21st century and cause trouble. Back in August 2017, an employee at a New York City restaurant named an Asian woman “Ching Chong” on her receipt. The worker was subsequently fired.
At this time, Chappell’s petition has gathered 191 signees, while Mckenna-Birkby’s has only 45. However, it’s not clear if hitting that magic number of 200 will cause Johnny to rethink the name of his Asian fusion burger.