A viral video showing Vietnam’s minister of public security being served a gold-leaf steak by Turkish chef Nusret Gokce, aka “Salt Bae,” is stirring outrage in Vietnam.
Viral video: The video of To Lam was first published on Gokce’s TikTok account, where it amassed thousands of views before being deleted quickly after.
- Lam is seen enjoying the £1,450 (approximately $1,900) tomahawk steak at Nusr-Et Steakhouse in Knightsbridge, London, in the video, which was re-uploaded by Radio Free Asia.
- Lam was visiting the restaurant after attending a United Nations climate change summit (COP26) in Glasgow and paying tribute to Karl Marx’s grave in North London’s Highgate Cemetery.
- Considered one of Vietnam’s most powerful officials, Lam is in charge of police and agencies who scrutinize corruption and dissent.
- A minister in the country is paid an official monthly salary of around 16 million Vietnamese dong (approximately $700), according to Reuters.
- Other uploads of the video have been removed from the app for violating “community standards,” Vietnamese TikTok users told Reuters.
- The video also appears to show Vietnamese ministry spokesman To An Xo seated next to Lam.
- Viewers of the video criticized Lam for enjoying such an extravagant meal, especially because his country’s citizens have an average monthly income of 3.45 million Vietnamese dong (approximately $150), according to Vietnam Online.
- Only two months ago, Ho Chi Minh City experienced food shortages and overwhelmed hospitals during a total COVID-19 lockdown.
Facebook blocks #saltbae: The hashtag #saltbae was originally blocked on Facebook after the video went viral but was unblocked by the social media platform on Tuesday.
- “We’ve unblocked this hashtag on Facebook and we’re investigating why this happened,” a spokesperson for Facebook’s Meta told Reuters.
- Vietnam, a Communist-ruled county, routinely checks on and removes local political content on online platforms.
- The country threatened to shut down Facebook within its borders last year if the platform did not remove what it considered “anti-state” content online.
- Reuters reported that Facebook refused to comment on whether the Vietnamese government requested the video’s removal. But the spokesperson also confirmed the hashtag was blocked worldwide for all Facebook users, including Vietnam.
After two months of entertaining diners in London, Gokce revealed on Instagram that he will be leaving England this week to focus on opening his new venue in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Featured Images via Radio Free Asia