SINGAPORE - Puns can be creative and hilarious, but puns can also go so wrong.
Local sushi chain Maki-San launched a special chicken char siew sushi roll for Singapore's 52nd birthday, calling it the Maki Kita.
The name is a play on the lyrics of Singapore's National Anthem, in which the first two words are "Mari kita".
In a Facebook post on Friday (Aug 4) afternoon, the chain explained that the name aimed to reflect "the cheeky and playful side" of the company, and means "Our sushi".
Unfortunately for them, in Malay, while "kita" refers to "us" or "me", "maki" means to curse or insult.
Thus, the name Maki Kita essentially means "Curse us".
The sushi chain acknowledged the kerfuffle and announced in another Facebook post that night, just seven hours later, that it was changing the name to Harmony Maki.
It wrote: "We do acknowledge the diversity of culture of our consumers and the people living in Singapore."
In response to "insights" from customers, the chain decided to change the name "to be more sensitive to the culture of our Malay consumers".
Maki-San outlets are certified halal.
"While we only meant well for this, our deepest respect goes to all our friends. We sincerely apologise if this has offended any of you."
The National Day-themed rolls had been introduced in collaboration with Spectra Secondary School.
Filled with chicken char siew, egg, cucumber, fried shallots and coriander mayonnaise, the rolls are on sale at 11 outlets until Aug 31.