Salt Bae’s treat for Vietnamese minister stirs anger in Asian country
A Vietnamese minister has stirred controversy after a video showed him being hand-fed gold-plated steak by Turkish celebrity chef Nusret Gökçe, also known as “Salt Bae.”
To Lam, Vietnamese minister of public security, stopped for a steak dinner in London after attending the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
Believed to be a potential future leader of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the official was caught on video at the luxury steakhouse restaurant called Nusr-Et, being hand-fed by Gökçe.
Flinging salt in his trademark move, the Turkish chef fed the minister gold-coated giant Tomahawk steaks in the video, which was posted on the chef’s account followed by millions.
Despite being taken down, copies of the video were widely shared online and critics have questioned the choice of venue, with one steak dish costing more than the minister’s monthly wage.
Many Vietnamese took to social media in anger about the decadence on display while the country struggles in the aftermath of a devastating wave of COVID-19 that has cost countless jobs.
The prices are not listed on Nusr-Et London’s website, but according to reviews the gold-covered steak ranges from $1,140 to $2,015 and that is without drinks, side dishes or the service charge.
The average Vietnamese citizen earned a monthly income of around $184 in 2020, according to the country’s General Statistics Office.
Three years ago, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was also criticized for eating at a branch of the same restaurant group in Turkey.
Gökçe opened the first Nusr-Et in Istanbul in 2010. Since gaining popularity in 2018, Nusr-Et has since expanded, opening restaurants in Miami, Manhattan, New York and London alongside outlets such as in Mykonos, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.