Everyone’s getting all warm and fuzzy about this ad for apparently bridging a racial divide - using biryani - but many Pakistani women are also questioning whether it's quite so positive about their gender roles.
An advertisement for a popular premade biryani mix by Shaan Foods (a household name in Pakistan) is breaking the internet right now, gaining over 2.7 million views in just two days after being shared on Facebook.
This creative advertisement features the classic dish of biryani – garnished by Lahore’s usual hospitality—as a binding force between citizens of two countries.
It's a timely ad which is apparently jumping on the political bandwagon on the back of a push from the Pakistani government to strengthen economic ties with China - a policy known as CPEC - the China Pakistani Economic Corridor.
The ad features a Chinese couple residing in the city of Lahore, struggling to blend in to the local society. The wife is dejected because there's no similariteis in the two cultures that could help her bond with the locals.
"We don't even eat the same food," she says.
But a flash of inspiration prompts her cook Pakistani food.
She does so, quite efficiently using the product featured in the end, and all her miseries come to an end when she knocks at her neighbour's door and offer them the biryani she had cooked.
The Pakistani lady's shock on hearing local greetings from a Chinese lady is evident, just like her surprise to see her cook biryani.
The Chinese woman is then welcomed into the Pakistani house for an emotional and happy ending.
Thousands of people have weighed in on social media as they had their heart melted by the warm fuzzy cross-cultural message.
However many others have also taken to social media to question the message behind the ad - and particularly Shaan Foods' representation of gender roles in Pakistani society.
To all going gaga over the Shan Foods ad - you know 'cooking' isn't the only way women bond right?
— Hamna Zubair (@hamnazubair) April 24, 2017
Imagine the Chinese lady hadn't cooked Biryani with Shaan masala or if it wasn't tasty, the Lahori neighbor wouldn't have let her in.
— Kamil Khan Marwat (@KKhanMarwat) April 25, 2017
What kind of drugs are in Shaan Masala that people are letting random chinese women in their homes to feed their whole families.
— Omer Wahla (@WheresMySamosa) April 25, 2017
Why use a packet mix anyway? Ditch the packet and go for one of these delicious Pakistani recipes from SBS Food: