IKEA is facing immense public backlash after a culinary faux pas attracted accusations of ‘cultural appropriation’.
Everyone knows any good trip to one of the Swedish furniture company’s superstores closes with food: whether it be gloriously cheap hot dogs or meatballs.
However, their latest addition to the menu with ‘jerk chicken with rice and peas’ has been slammed – as the traditional Caribbean dish has been made using the wrong ingredients.
The dish consists of half a chicken with lots of jerk seasoning – delicious, right? It’s not the meat that’s the issue, however.
The chicken is accompanied with white rice and garden peas, while the traditional Jamaican dish is traditionally made with pigeon peas or kidney beans and typically cooked in coconut milk and topped with spring onions.
One Twitter user hit out at the retailer, writing:
It’s literally white rice and garden peas, @IKEA did you even Google it?!
If you were confused, beans are called peas in the Caribbean.
This is what happens when you try and cash in on a culture with no input from that culture whatsoever.
The response has been furious, with customers commenting that they are ‘bastardising traditional dishes’.
Jerk chicken with white rice and green peas?
Can people stop bastardising traditional dishes please? pic.twitter.com/pqWgEsQMZZ
— Lorraine King (@lorrainemking) September 12, 2019
One critic wrote: ‘The chicken don’t look bad. But the literal rice and peas is killing my soul.’
Another person critiqued the dish: ‘Chicken looks halfway decent here, but that rice looks like it just got taken off life support. No bueno.’
IKEA really put peas in white rice…sold it with jerk chicken and callled it rice n peas? LMAO
— Que (@ique_x) September 14, 2019
One user is particularly astute in saying they should have done their research first – it would have easily been avoided with a quick Google search.
The retailer has issued an apology following the controversy, outlining that they never meant to cause offence.
As reported by New York Post:
IKEA is a Swedish home furnishing company with a much-loved food offer. We take inspiration from many countries around the world and have always worked to combine different flavors and ingredients to offer delicious, healthy and affordable dishes.
We’re aware that our new jerk chicken, served with rice and peas has created some conversation and in some cases offence. Our intention was to create a dish for many people to enjoy but we appreciate that we may have got it wrong.
This is IKEA’s jerk chicken and rice and peas and no I’m not eating it 😕 pic.twitter.com/BFPJ1CWBmR
— . (@Themlotsdad) September 9, 2019
Lorena Lourido, Country Food Manager for IKEA UK and Ireland also told Metro that they were aware the dish had created conversation and, in some cases, caused offence.
Our intention was to create a dish for many people to enjoy but we appreciate that we may have got it wrong. We apologise and we are now re-looking at the dish.
I resent how much writing this article has made me crave IKEA meatballs.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.