A Taiwan restaurant promotion has caused chaos in the country after it led to more than 150 people visiting government offices to change their name to "salmon", according to numerous media outlets.
The two-day promotion by restaurant Sushiro dictated that any customer whose ID card contained the Chinese characters for salmon - "gui yu" - would be entitled to an all-you-can-eat sushi meal for six people.
The restaurant also offered a 50 percent discount to those whose name was a homophone of salmon, and 10 percent to those with a similar pronunciation, reported local media. A homophone is when two or more words have the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins, or spelling. For example example, cell and sell.
Taiwan allows people to officially change their name up to three times for a fee of around TWD85 (€2.50/$3).
But Taiwanese officials were not amused, according to Agence France-Presse. “This kind of name change not only wastes time but causes unnecessary paperwork,” Deputy Interior Minister Chen Tsung-yen told reporters on Thursday as he urged the public to “cherish administrative resources."
“I hope everyone can be more rational about it,” he added.
Local media ran interviews with people who had taken advantage of the promotion. “I just changed my name this morning to add the characters ‘Bao Cheng Gui Yu’ and we already ate more than TWD 7,000 (€209.66/$245.45),” a college student surnamed Ma told the TVBS news channel in southern Kaohsiung city.
Roughly translated, Ma’s new moniker means: “Explosive Good Looking Salmon."
“I’ve changed my first name to salmon and two of my friends also did,” a woman surnamed Tung told SET TV. “We’ll just change our names back afterwards.”
Other salmon-themed names reported in local media included “Salmon Prince,” “Meteor Salmon King” and “Salmon Fried Rice.”
Taiwanese newspaper Liberty Times also reported that one 29-year-old man, surnamed Chen from New Taipei City, had officially renamed himself “Chen loves Taiwan, abalone, tuna, salmon, snow crab, sea urchin, scallop, lobster and beef, the Mayfull, Palais de Chine, Regent, Hilton, Caesar Park, Hotel Royal” in preparation, presumably, for any future offers.
But another man, named Chang, pushed his luck a little too far when he realized he had maxed out the number of times he could legally change his name, having switched it up to "Salmon Dream." reports Taiwan News.
Chang, a student at the Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine at China Medical University in Taichung, had planned to capitalize on the promotion by charging strangers to dine with him. He had apparently gathered some 30 people — who each paid him between TWD200 (€6/$7) to TWD300 (€9/$10.50) — to eat with him in shifts.
Meanwhile netizens have taken to their keyboards to decry the wasted rice ensuing from the promotion, which saw customers gobbling down just the salmon topping.