The 18-year-old was inside McDonalds in Bethnal Green Road, with her two friends, who are also 18, when her attacker hurled racist abuse at them.
After they left the restaurant she followed them and continued to shout racist abuse before hitting one of them three times on the back of her neck and trying to grab her headscarf.
She also spat at one of the other women.
Detectives are keen to trace a man who tried to intervene and are appealing for anyone who witnessed the attack, which took place at the junction of Roman Road and Victoria Park Square, on October 3 at around 3pm to come forward.
The attacker is a black woman aged around 40 and was wearing a black coat and gold hooped earrings.
Det Con Anton Arulnayagam, investigating officer, said: “This was a distressing incident, which is believed to have been racially motivated.
Source: East London Advertiser