Food Critic Wins Pulitzer for Word Play With “Pho”

A Louisiana food writer has snagged the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his bold use of pho-themed wordplay in a review of a New Orleans-area Vietnamese restaurant.

Alan Patterson’s winning piece, published late last year in The Times-Picayune, employed no less than a dozen puns in describing the food, particularly the traditional Vietnamese soup known as pho, offered at Pho King in Metairie.

“I’m so humbled and honored to have been recognized for my work,” Patterson said. “Most people writing about Vietnamese cuisine might toss in one, maybe two, pho puns. But I decided to go all-in and work in as many puns as I could come up with.”

“The puns are even better when you realize the word ‘pho’ is pronounced ‘fuh,’ as in ‘fuh-king.’ Get it?”

Patterson said he spent three days coming up with an exhaustive list of potential culinary paronomasias before actually writing the article.

Some of the puns he used to tell readers about the restaurant include “pho sure,” “pho the win,” “un-pho-king real,” and “pho-get about finding a better Vietnamese place in Metairie.”

“The puns are even better when you realize the word ‘pho’ is pronounced ‘fuh,’ as in ‘fuh-king.’ Get it?” Patterson explained. “It never gets old!”

Before writing for The Times-Picayune, Patterson worked as a consultant to several New Orleans-area breweries, helping them brand numerous IPAs with punny beer names playing off the word “hop.”


About Tony Swartz

Tony Swartz
Tony is proof that you can write Peabody-worthy news without ever darkening the halls of journalism school.

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