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Asian man says he was called “Dim Sum” at Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco

An Asian American man wants an apology from a restaurant in San Francisco for “their racist remarks.” Vietnamese American Tin Dinh said he and his sister, Tu, and his boyfriend went to Swan Oyster Depot on Friday for some food but were called “Dim Sum.” Dinh said they waited an hour and a half for seats and was served by Jimmy Sancimino who was very rude to them.

“Immediately, Jimmy was super rude to us and walked away even though we hadn’t finished ordering,” Tin posted on Instagram. “Confused by this we, kept waiting patiently until we were helped by another staff.”

Tin was helped by another server and Tin said this set Jimmy off who told them they should only order through one person. Jimmy then demanded who the second server was and Tinh pointed him out which caused Jimmy to call Tin and his sister “Dim Sum! Dim Sum!” according to Tin.

Thrown off by the statement, Tin remarked to another staff member about the incident but that staff member told him that it was not racist.

“That’s a term we use when someone needs more than one waiter, it has nothing to do with race,” the server said according to Tinh.

That didn’t end there according to Tinh who wrote that when they were about to leave one of the staff members yelled, “Get the f**k out of here.”

Jimmy Sancimino, who owns the restaurant, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he used the term “dim sum” but explained that it’s a reference to customers who use more than one waiter like at a dim sum restaurant.

“We have a little saying in here when people want more than one person to wait on them at once. We say it’s like a dim sum restaurant (where) you can have 10 different waitresses come by and drop off food at your table. But that’s not the way it works here,” Sancimino said. “Unfortunately this man (and) young lady took it the wrong way. I’m terribly sorry about it. But they obviously were in more of a rush and they wanted better service than I could provide.”

But Tin Dinh didn’t buy it and explained that using the term “dim sum” was reinforcing stereotypes.

“Lastly, when a customer is impacted by the racist language that was used, the owner and business need to acknowledge the impact of their wrongful language, no matter the intent,” Dinh said. “…When Jimmy uses an object linked to someone’s culture, race is inherently a part of that.”

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