One of the most precious pleasures in life is that of eating great food. Which explains why people are going crazy over Marks & Spencer’s vegan biryani wrap.
As a part of its plant-based range, M&S launched what some people are calling an abomination. Many have even gone so far as to accuse the supermarket of cultural appropriation.
Just to put it in perspective, below is what biryani looks like vs. what M&S thinks it looks like.
This biryani disguised as a wrap, costing £2.80, is made of sweet potato, spiced basmati rice, buckwheat, and red pepper. But people can’t seem to wrap their heads around the inclusion of a flatbread and the exclusion of any kind of meat or fish.
Many took to social media to question the existence of this product. One of them was the author of the cookbook Indian Kitchen.
“Thanks but I like my Biryani with rice in a bowl not a wrap. Seriously M&S!?” said the chef.
She also went on to criticize the lack of meat in the dish, stating that biryani is not meant to be vegetarian.
Echoing her thoughts, restaurant Darjeeling Express called the innovative fusion ‘wrong at SO many levels.’
This is so wrong at SO many levels- who are you paying to design your wraps @marksandspencer? You seriously need to rethink your “exotic” wrap selection. That is not Biryani-you do not appropriate names from a cuisine without even bothering to do any research on that dish. https://t.co/A9KPPaBL14
— Darjeeling Express (@Darjeelingldn) January 24, 2019
Another person expressed their frustration on Twitter and said, “What part of this is biryani? Biryani is a rice-based dish, traditionally with meat that most certainly doesn’t have sweet potato, so it’s not right on any level???”
However, not everyone seems to be offended by the product. What feels like a post-colonial hangover to some is seen as nothing but a harmless and innovative take on a very traditional Indian dish. Chef Vivek Singh, of Cinnamon Club, London, expressed himself to The Times, stating that people accusing M&S of cultural appropriation need to ‘loosen up’.
“Having cooked professionally for 25 years, I think a vegetarian biryani is just as authentic as anything else,” he continued.
Many others also couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about.
Hey what’s not to like? Sweet potato? Goooood. Biryani? Gooood. Wraps? Gooood pic.twitter.com/9QcZkhTfrC
— Lucy Tuley (@lucytuley) January 25, 2019
To answer the roaring criticism, a spokesperson of Marks & Spenser’s said: “M&S is famous for its food innovation and our developers use a fusion of different flavors and ingredients to create an exciting range of products to appeal to customers’ tastes.”