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Lena Dunham says sushi is 'cultural appropriation'

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Lena Dunham has spoken out against a university serving sushi, calling it "cultural appropriation".

It's after students at Oberlin College in Ohio, in the US, complained about the type of sushi and banh-mi baguettes on offer.

Dunham told Food & Wine magazine she thinks they have a point.

"The press reported it as, 'How crazy are Oberlin kids?' But to me, it was actually, 'Right on'," she said.

The row started last year, when a Vietnamese student, Diep Nguyen, was disappointed with the baguettes for using ciabatta bread.

"How could they just throw out something completely different and label it as another country's traditional food?" she said, interviewed for college newspaper, the Oberlin Review.

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image captionLena Dunham and her boyfriend Jack Antonoff

"There are now big conversations at Oberlin, where I went to college, about cultural appropriation and whether the dining hall sushi and banh mi disrespect certain cuisines," Dunham said.

So Newsbeat asked a sushi chef for his views

Lewis, who works at The Sushi Chef catering company, providing chefs and Japanese cuisine for events, was unconvinced by the argument,

"Food is food - you can't say pizza always has to be Italian," he says.

"Pizza Hut is a huge chain but there's nothing Italian about it. I don't think it's a big issue, you have to improve on what the market wants.

"It's about taste; food is an adventure and I think anyone can put their own spin on it."

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He does, however, say that there are certain ways to prepare foods which we should stick to.

"I do think you should respect the dishes and their origins," he says.

"It's in the way you deal with the ingredients, so cutting the fish and cooking the rice in the Japanese way.

"But I don't think people making changes is a big problem.

"There's a market and we want to sell food."

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Related Topics

  • Japan
  • Ohio
  • Vietnam
  • Food