After outcry, Quebec restaurant apologizes and vows to remove 'inappropriate' menu items

Following a flood of negative feedback online, Quebec restaurant Pho King Bon has apologized and pledged to change some of the items on its menu.

Located in Rosemère, a municipality about 20 kilometres north of Montreal, the Vietnamese restaurant offered a drink called the "Viet Kong" and encouraged diners to mispronounce the name of a classic Vietnamese dish to sound like sexually explicit slang in French.

When images of the menu laden with explicit puns began circulating online, Vietnamese Montrealer Kim Nguyen started a petition calling for changes.

She called the menu "extremely offensive" and said the word play turned Vietnamese language into a joke. The petition has since garnered more than 2,000 signatures.

Pho King Bon owner Guillaume Boutin sent a statement to CBC News over the weekend, promising changes.

It was followed up by a second statement on Monday, detailing certain menu items that would be removed and rebranding the restaurant as fusion cuisine rather than Vietnamese.

"Many people in the Vietnamese community felt targeted and insulted by our play on words," reads the statement.

"We now understand that the shooter 'Viet Kong' is inappropriate. We apologize sincerely for having used this name. It will not appear on our new menus. We promise to study the etymology of our future names more in depth so they do not appear racist."

The restaurant also pledged to remove the suggested pronunciation of the traditional Vietnamese dish, Bún thịt nướng, and scrap the "Pho King Bon Deal" combo on its menu.

There may be a delay of up to two weeks, the statement added, to allow time for the menus to be redesigned and reprinted.

Boutin, who is not Vietnamese, also offered a personal apology in the statement to anyone who was offended by the language used.

He said he will make a donation "directly to the Montreal Vietnamese community in order to help causes they hold dear."