Lonely Planet Writer

Spanish victory for paella emoji internet campaign

If emojis are where it’s at in terms of cultural relevance, then Spain is right to celebrate the addition of the paella dish to the emoji lexicon.

Paella to get its own emoji!
Paella to get its own emoji! Image by Emojipedia

Since early 2015 a group of Spaniards had been campaigning to have the typical Spanish dish added to food emojis. Now it seems their wish is to be granted, as the paella dish begins to be rolled out to users. Paella is a typical rice dish from Spain that consists in various seafood and vegetables cooked in a shallow pan and eaten in the same pan.  The dish is originally from Valencia, and is one of the country’s most popular dishes.

Spanish comedian Eugeni Alemany was among the campaigners, and he encouraged people on social media to use the hashtag #paellaemoji to put pressure on those responsible to make a paella emoji. And now it’s finally happened! Unicode, the company in charge of emojis announced that there will be 70 new emojis introduced in 2016, including an avocado, a cowboy hat, a baguette, and an emoji that dances in the style of John Travolta in Grease!

The classic mixed paella from Valencia, Spain
The classic mixed paella from Valencia, Spain Image by Jonathan Pincas / CC BY 2.0

However, not everyone took kindly to the announcement. An account tweeting under @Fallera, tweeted Unicode to say that the design of the paella dish was wrong because it did not use typical ingredients: “The source of our unhappiness is to mix chicken,prawns & peas in the same spoonful, pls let us help you to fine tune the design.” They offered to cook a traditional paella for the company by way of thanks, but also to show them how it’s really done!

From now onwards for better or for worse the unofficial symbol of Spain in emojis is the paella!