DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A new restaurant in Dallas is getting a lot of attention, but not for the food. Some are calling its logo offensive and culturally insensitive.
The five-pointed red star has often been used as a symbol of communism. Some local Vietnamese refugees said that’s what they see when they look at the logo of the Banh Shop, a brand new Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas.
Thang Cung is a Vietnamese refugee. “It hurts,” he said. “It hurts.”
Cung was once a soldier for South Vietnam and fought alongside U.S. forces. Captured during the war, he spent two years in a concentration camp run by the conquering communist party.
Speaking of his captors Cung said, “They torture you. They starve you. They do everything. A lot of my friends died in there.”
Now president of the Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Dallas, Cung calls the red star on the Banh Shop a painful reminder.
“To see that symbol, it hurts and it offends the Vietnamese community,” he said.
The restaurant’s parent company, Yum! Brands, also owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. While calls made by CBS 11 News to the Yum! Brands corporate office have yet to be returned, managers inside the Banh Shop told us they never meant to offend anyone.
On social media, though, some users are calling for the symbol’s removal, using the hashtag #banhshoplogochange.
“We were imprisoned. We were in refugee camps,” said Nikki Duong Koenig, a North Texas marketing professional and a Vietnamese refugee who is surprised by the oversight. “We can’t just forget. It’s so much of who we are our, our identity, our culture, [and] our history.”
Dallas is home to an estimated 20,000 Vietnamese, most of which are refugees or their descendants.
Intentional or not, Koenig says the company should acknowledge its mistake and fix it. “Symbolism is very powerful and a red star symbolizes communism.”
Another issue brought up by Vietnamese refugees is the use of the name Saigon. The Banh Shop’s motto is “Saigon Street Food.”
Saigon was the name of South Vietnam’s capital before it fell. Refugees say placing it next to a red star emphasizes their loss.
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