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Taiwanese official begs people to stop changing their name to ‘salmon’ for free sushi

What’s in a name? In this case, a free meal.

Some diners in Taiwan were able to get some free sushi this week by officially changing their names, but the flood of rechristening requests has one local official begging people to stop.

Earlier this week, sushi chain Akindo Sushiro kicked off what local media later dubbed “salmon chaos” after offering free food on Wednesday and Thursday to whole tables of customers named Gui Yu, or “Salmon,” the Taipei Times reported. Diners with aquatic monikers could also get discounts of up to 50% off, too.

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Dozens of people received free meals in the first day of the promotion, and more than 1,000 had received discounts, according to the report. In order to score the freebie, about 150 “mostly young” people officially changed their name with government offices, AFP news agency reported.

That led to diners with names translated to “Salmon Prince,” “Meteor Salmon King” and “Salmon Fried Rice” showing up to claim free food, according to the report. One freebie-seeking gourmand even set a record for the country’s longest name: “Chen Loves Taiwan, Abalone, Tuna, Salmon, Snow Crab, Sea Urchin, Scallop, Lobster and Beef, Mayfull, Palais de Chine, Regent, Hilton, Caesar Park, Hotel Royal.”

One college student said he and his friends had eaten the equivalent of more than $235 in sushi after he changed his name to “Explosive Good Looking Salmon,” according to local reports. 

A sushi chain offered free meals to people named “Salmon” this week, prompting a surge of official name changes. (iStock)

Another student who changed their name and their friends ate about $460 worth of sushi.

“I do not think we will want to eat salmon again for a while,” they wrote online, per the Times.

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Taiwan officials were less amused by the food frenzy as people rushed to change their name, however. While the country allows people to change their name up to three times, deputy interior minister Chen Tsung-yen said that the changes for free food were wasting time and causing unnecessary paperwork, according to AFP.

“I hope everyone can be more rational about it,” Tsung-yen told reporters.

Diners with new names told reporters that they planned to change their names back after the free meal. The application fee for a name change and new ID card is the equivalent of less than $3.

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But one man even claimed online that he’d learned about the “three times” rule the hard way after his mother told him that she’d already changed his name twice as a child, per the Taipei Times.

In a post online, Taiwanese officials urged residents to “be careful to take good care of your name.”

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