Lunar New Year is soon upon us and many media outlets are taking advantage of pre-season opportunities. Unfortunately, some UK media outlets have found themselves with slight flaws in their recent recipe publications revolving around well-known Lunar New Year dishes.
BBC and The Guardian both posted these dishes but to many’s dismay, they were also displayed with joss papers alongside the finished products.
For those who aren’t aware, joss papers are ancient Chinese coins and envelopes that are given during funerals as opposed to Lunar New Year.
Joss paper specifically, is burnt to pay respects to the departed and for ancestral worship as well as deity worship that relates back to Chinese folk lore.
Traditionally, the funeral attendees will individually receive the envelopes after the ceremony. While funeral hosts will use a white envelope that have a candy, tissue and even a coin.
The first thing you never mention during Lunar New Year; death.
On the BBC’s media site, they show a “lo mein with scallops and tenderstem broccoli” recipe with chef and founder of School of Wok, Jeremy Pang, detailing how to make the delicious dish with several steps.
Though, the display picture was accompanied by a red packet and an envelope with the characters “吉儀” on the surface that are typically given out during Chinese funerals.
In relation, The Guardian‘s also had a “pork and crab dumplings with spicy sour sauce” recipe that featured joss paper as well.
These recipes and their offensive displays were caught by many but one well-known figure on Twitter, Vivienne Chow, had brought massive attention to the errors of the media outlets.
BBC Food fortunately responded to Chow by saying, “We have taken down the image and will investigate the situation further and review our processes to put more rigorous checks in for styling. We are very sorry for this error.”
The Guardian had also addressed this error from the overwhelming Twitter users and have since then, replaced the image of the dish with the joss paper with an image of the dish by itself.
Many users on Twitter, including Vivienne Chow, emphasized how often Chinese traditions and items are often neglected for “decorative pieces.” While this may not be the first time, it is important addressing such matters.