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UK media feature joss paper, funeral envelope in CNY dish recipes

Hungry? How about a recipe for pork and crab dumplings with spicy sour sauce – with a sheet of joss paper on the side?

That may sound ridiculous to almost all of us here, but apparently, not to the folks at The Guardian.

A photo featuring a plate of dumplings published by the UK newspaper has caught the attention of some Twitter users.

In the recipe for pork and crab dumplings with spicy sour sauce, a sheet of longevity joss paper can be seen next to the plate of dumplings – perhaps as a prop piece to... you know, give the dish a more “Chinese feel”. 

Joss papers are burned as offerings to the deceased in Chinese communities, and the longevity joss paper that symbolises wisdom and prosperity are often used in prayers to gods and spirits.

London-based reporter Vivienne Chow took to Twitter to say she was "stunned" to see a Chinese New Year dish paired with joss paper, which “equals hell money you burn for the dead".

Chow also said that death is not something that's talked about in the New Year, and added that The Guardian could "DM" (direct message) her if they were unsure.

Coincidentally, another Twitter user spotted a recipe for “lo mein” featured by @BBCFood that had a “funeral envelope” next to the dish in the presentation photo. 

Once again expressing her incredulity, Chow said the envelope is typically handed out to those who pay tribute to the deceased at Chinese funerals, and usually contains a coin and a candy.

@BBCFood has since removed the photo, and apologised.

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