Vietnamese back home are angry after they saw their minister eat a gold-plated steak at Salt Bae's restaurant in London recently.
Vietnamese public security minister General To Lam, 64, was seen in a TikTok video dining at the chef's famously expensive London restaurant, Nusr-e.
Bộ trưởng Bộ Công an Việt Nam Tô Lâm được Salt Bae chế biến và đút cho ăn món bò dát vàng trị giá lên đến 45 triệu đồng/phần trong một nhà hàng của ông này ở Luân Đôn. Cùng bàn với ông Tô Lâm là Chánh văn phòng Bộ Công an Tô Ân Xô. pic.twitter.com/hGZZqGbJZr— Duy Bình (@DuyBnh61157516) November 5, 2021
The celebrity chef, Nusret Gokce, is more famously known as "Salt Bae".
What was served to the politician
The gold-plated steak, covered in edible 24-carat gold leaf, costs more than the politician's monthly wage of S$800 to S$1,000.
How much does steak cost?
Prices at Nusr-e are not listed on its website.
But reviews of the gold-covered steak put the price between £850 to £1,500 (S$1,550 to S$2,730).
This cost is excluding drinks, side dishes, and the 15 per cent service charge.
Video taken down
It is not known when exactly the meal at Nusr-e took place.
But the clip was posted on Nov. 3 to Gokce's TikTok with 11 million followers.
The video was subsequently taken down after it caught the attention of the media and Vietnamese back home, who shared screen shots and copies of the video online, while expressing anger at what they saw as an unnecessary ostentatious display of extravagance.
The chef was seen in the video personally preparing steak dishes in front of the Vietnamese delegation.
He even hand-fed one steaming piece of meat to the general, who bit it off the knife to rousing applause.
Responses to video
BBC reported two opposing views supposedly derived from Vietnamese online.
"Vietnam is still poor but the minister is so luxurious, the officer is enjoying so much extravagance," one Facebook user, Mung Tin Ngo, reportedly wrote.
Those who defended the general said the meal could have been paid by a third party as it was not clear who foot the bill, and that the minister could have been given an allowance for such entertainment overseas.
To make the contrast more pronounced, some posted pictures of poor children in Vietnam’s most deprived regions in comments about the clip, Agence France-Presse reported.
Much of Vietnam's population still lives below the poverty line, with the average citizen earning a monthly income of around S$310 in 2021, according to the General Statistics Office.
The Southeast Asian country's economy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and has not recovered.
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