LOL: Police summon noodle seller over Salt Bae parody in Vietnam

Noodle vendor Bui Tuan Lam prepares and seasons a bowl of beef noodles in the style of Turkish chef and social media star Nusret Gökçe, otherwise known as Salt Bae.
Noodle vendor Bui Tuan Lam was issued a police summons after posting a video of himself theatrically preparing and seasoning a bowl of beef noodles

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

Salt Bae made in the news in the country after footage showed him hand-feeding a top Vietnamese official a gold-encrusted steak. The video had generated massive outrage with many saying that the dish cost more than the minister’s monthly wage.

Vietnamese police regularly summon people who they believe are critical of the ruling 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.

Mr Bui described himself as “Green Onion Bae” in a post uploaded alongside the video. Six days later, police issued Mr Bui a summons. Since then, Mr Bui has posted photos of himself on Facebook being questioned by two uniformed policemen and has said that he was issued a second summons.

Mr Gökçe had earlier hosted public security minister General To Lam at his famously pricey London restaurant, Nusr-et. On November 3, Mr Gökçe had 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.

While no prices are listed on the Nusr-e website, the gold-covered steak is priced between £50 and £1,500 ($1,140 to $2,015) according to reviews. This sum does not include drinks, side dishes or the 15% service charge.

The exorbitant price of the steak raised eyebrows in Vietnam as the minister’s monthly wage is between $600 to $800 per month, before any allowances.

Mr To, along with several delegates, was in London after attending the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. He had also laid flowers on the grave of communist leader Karl Marx the previous day.

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 restaurnat in Istanbul surfaced even as Venezuela faced increasingly severe food shortages.

The average Vietnamese citizen earns a monthly income of around $230 in 2021, according to the General Statistics Office. Vietnam, which used to be one of the world’s poorest countries, has experienced significant economic growth over the past 30 years, however much of the population still lives below the poverty line.

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