Vietnam: Salt Bae parody leads to police summoning a noodle-seller

Image source, Peter Lam Bui
Image caption

Bui Tuan La, the Noodle vendor was summoned by police for posting a clip in which he prepared and served beef noodles.

Police in Vietnam have summoned a man after he parodied Turkish steak chef Nusret Gökçe, also known as Salt Bae.

After footage of Salt Bae hand-feeding an official from Vietnam a steak, encrusted with gold in London, it made headlines in Vietnam.

Many claimed that the video caused outrage and the dish was more expensive than the monthly salary of the minister.

The south-east Asian country regularly calls people who criticize the Communist Party.

The noodle vendor, Bui Tuan Lam, posted a Facebook video of himself sprinkling spring onions on a bowl of beef noodles, in what appears to be an imitation of Mr Gökçe’s style.

In a blog post, Mr Bui called himself “Green Onion Bae”, which was also uploaded with the video.

Police issued Bui a summons six days later.

Later, Mr Bui posted photographs of him being interrogated by uniformed officers. He claimed that he received a second summons.

‘The gold-encrusted steak’

Mr Gökçe had earlier hosted Vietnam’s Public Security minister General To Lam at his famously pricey London restaurant, Nusr-et.

On 3 November, Mr Gökçe uploaded a Tiktok video of himself personally preparing steak dishes in front of the Vietnamese delegation and hand-feeding a piece of a Golden Tomahawk steak to Mr To.

  • Vietnam minister criticised after ‘Salt Bae’ dinner

While no prices are listed on the Nusr-e website, the gold-covered steak is priced between £50 and £1,500 ($67- $2,022), according to reviews. These prices do not include side dishes, drinks or 15% service charges.

Vietnam’s minister earns between $600 and $800 per month before allowances, so the exorbitant steak price raised eyebrows.

After attending the United Nations COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Mr To was there with other delegates.

He also placed flowers the day before on Karl Marx’s grave.

This is not the first time a public official has been drawn public ire for dining at Mr Gökçe’s exorbitantly expensive restaurant.

In 2019, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro caused outrage after images of him and his wife eating at Nusr-Et restaurant in Istanbul surfaced even as Venezuela faced increasingly severe food shortages.

According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, an average Vietnamese citizen makes around $230 per year.

Vietnam used to be one the most impoverished countries in the world. However, it has enjoyed significant economic growth for the past 30 year.

While many people live below the poverty line, the majority of them are still poor.


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