Vietnam police summon noodle seller over Salt Bae parody


Turkish chef Nusret Gokce – went viral and became a meme on the internet in 2017 with the nickname Salt Bae. – AFP photo

BANGKOK (Nov 18): Vietnamese police have summoned a noodle seller after he filmed himself impersonating a celebrity chef who served steak smothered in gold leaf to a powerful government official at a luxury London restaurant.

Peter Lam Bui, a former activist, posted a video on Facebook that showed him sprinkling herbs into a bowl of beef noodle soup in the same theatrical style as Turkish chef Nusret Gokce — who went viral and became a meme on the internet in 2017 with the nickname Salt Bae.

It came after To Lam, minister of public security — whose agency deals with the monitoring of dissent and surveillance of activists — was filmed tucking into a steak at Gokce’s Knightsbridge restaurant earlier this month in a video that went viral in Vietnam.

The Nusr-Et Steakhouse serves up steaks wrapped in edible 24-carat gold leaf, reportedly costing more than $1,000, and the video of the minister sparked anger over the decadence on display while Vietnam struggles in the aftermath of a devastating Covid-19 wave.

During the same trip to London, To Lam also visited the London grave of Karl Marx, the ideological father of communism.

Bui, who refers to himself as “Green Onion Bae” in the original clip posted last week, was in trouble within days — he shared a video on Facebook of a police visit to his home in the coastal city of Danang.

In the video filmed by Bui, he is heard asking why he is being summoned, but the officer refuses to answer.

It was not clear when exactly the police visited Bui.

Lam, a member of Vietnam’s powerful 18-strong politburo, has been public security minister since 2016 and has taken a hard line on human rights movements in the communist country. – AFP