Glasgow Vietnamese noodle bar poster cleared by ad chiefs

An advert for a Glaswegian Vietnamese restaurant advertising a special ‘Phat Phuc’ menu for ‘greedy’ customers has been cleared by advertising chiefs.

Published 10th Feb 2016
Updated 12 th Sep 2023

Two people complained after seeing various posters for the Hanoi Bike Shop eatery in the city’s town centre and railway stations.

The poster, with the silhouette of a buddha in a cloud, states ‘PHAT PHUC’ - advertising a ‘special’ set menu of four noodle courses for £15.95-a-head.


Text underneath read: “Get your noodle on! First Tuesday of every month four delicious noodle based dishes for £15.95’.

The complainants contacted the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) saying the ad was offensive as it featured a slogan, which when ‘spoken out loud sounded like a swear word’.

Bosses at the restaurant said that ‘Phat Phuc’ was the name of an event that had been running since March 2015 - and was also the name of some of its noodle dishes.

It said that ‘Phat Phuc’ in Vietnamese was pronounced ‘Fet Fook’ and meant ‘Happy Buddha’.

Bosses at the ASA agreed and said that despite the works sounding like ‘Fat F**k’, it could be used again.

It said: “The ASA understood that the word ‘happy’ in Vietnamese was correctly spelt as ‘Phuc’ and although it was pronounced as ‘Fook’, we acknowledged that it sounded similar to the expletive ‘fuck’.

“However, we noted that the Hanoi Bike Shop sold Far Eastern cuisine, which both posters had made sufficiently clear.

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“In the context of the posters, we considered that viewers who might have been offended by bad language were likely to recognise that ‘Phuc’ was from a reference to Southeast Asian language, was different from the expletive and would not necessarily be pronounced in the same way.

“We therefore, concluded that the posters were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”

The ASA said that children would be ‘unlikely’ to comprehend that ‘Phuc’ was a Vietnamese word, but also that they would be unlikely to ‘read or pronounce it as the expletive’.

It said some older kids might have realised it could be pronounced as ‘f**k’, but that it was not unsuitable for them to see the word ‘Phuc’.

It added: “We therefore concluded that the posters were not irresponsibly placed where children could see them.”

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