Top London restaurant Pachamama apologises for racist remark after insinuating Chinatown chefs use rat meat

The restaurant sent out a newsletter with deeply offensive remarks about its soon-to-be Chinatown neighbours

Updated on 23 January 2020 • Written By Emma Mitchell

Top London restaurant Pachamama apologises for racist remark after insinuating Chinatown chefs use rat meat

Restaurant Group Pachamama has apologised after making a racist slur in their latest newsletter that inferred Chinatown restaurants use rat meat in their dishes.

Newsletters are often tongue and cheek – anyone who knows a thing or two about marketing knows that a bit of light-hearted humour is generally always well received. However there’s always someone who gets it wrong, and this time it was Peruvian restaurant group Pachamama who well and truly overstepped the line with a comment that was not only insulting but profoundly racist too. The newsletter that was sent out to the group’s mailing list on Tuesday morning was intended to announce the arrival of their new restaurant Yiu Fat Noodle to London’s Chinatown by way of a party invitation to celebrate Chinese New Year – which in 2020 is Year of the Rat.

The headline read as follows:

“In order to pay our respects to the cosmic rodent, we have lovingly prepared an array of delightful dishes - selected especially from our brand new menu for Yiu Fat Noodle, which will be opening up in China Town this year. There will be a special guest DJ behind the wheels of steel to keep the party moving along as it should and unlike many China Town restaurants, we intend to celebrate the rat, not catch it, kill it and mix it into a bowl of steaming noodles!”

The abomination was first flagged by a Hot Dinners reader who brought it to the attention of the publication, and editor Catherine Hanley swiftly reached out to Pachamama’s PR for comment. The restaurant group have since released the following statement in light of the highly offensive remark that plays on racist tropes surrounding Chinese eateries.

“We pride ourselves at Pachamama Group for having a diverse and fun loving team, with our two founders being from Central Asia themselves and diversity being at the core of our business. We have many friends and neighbours in China Town and eat there regularly. We would be heartbroken to think that we offended anyone. Our newsletter tends to be fairly tongue in cheek, but looking back we can understand how this might have not come across as intended and we can only apologise deeply.”

Not a favourable start for the group’s new restaurant which is due to open in Chinatown later this year.

If you’re looking for somewhere to welcome in the year of the rat, check out our list of the best restaurants to celebrate Chinese New Year in London 2020.