I love a good food pun. The food pun is a cornerstone of Two Men Chew (see every blog title we have ever posted, including this one). I also understand that pho is one of the most pun-able foods around, being that it shares phonetic (honestly, no pun intended) resemblance to everyone’s favorite four letter word (you get the idea). Those two are actually OK with me! Because they pun the CORRECT PRONUNCIATION OF THE WORD. It is pronounced “pho” as in the first syllable of Pharrell. It does NOT rhyme with “show” or “low” or “NO.” If you start loosening your standards of pronunciation, things start to get a little out of hand. As it is, some people HATE puns. But what I would argue is that people hate BAD puns – puns that try so hard to be clever that they cease to be clever.
To put things into perspective, let’s use a different food: taco. This word is not of English origin, but there is a clear consensus on how this word is pronounced (ˈtɑko). The “ah” sound emphasis is a given. Nobody says it with a long “a” – “Take – o.” How absurd would it be to say “Take-o Bell”? So what if I told you I had a new business venture of opening a taco truck called “Taco Me Out” (get it??! Take-o Me Out!!). You would probably give me the most deep and guttural groan as only a terrible pun can induce. Because it’s beyond a shoe-horned pun – it is straight up terrible because nobody pronounces the name of the food that way. It would be a disrespect to the origin of the food and the word and the rich culture that it comes from!
So, while on the surface, Pho King Delicious seems like a much cruder pun than, say, 9021PHO (ugh) – the former AT LEAST retains the integrity of the source.