Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have issued a summons to a noodle seller after he posted a parody video of the world’s most famous noodle eater.
The 30-second clip shows vendor Nguyen Tien Tho holding a bag of salt, in a sign of tribute to his frenemy, the popular Ko Tung Do (Salt Bae) dish.
“Salt Bae, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar,” Tho says as he hangs out of his stall. “Because without them, you won’t be able to eat well.”
According to New Republic, Tho had been eyeing Salt Bae’s trademark Salt bag for some time. Tho told the magazine he intended to gift Salt Bae one of his own, and was very excited to have caught wind of his film career. The clip could play a pivotal role in negotiating a deal for Tho’s boodle — $6,420 to be exact — to be Salt Bae’s.
The chef, whose real name is Nabil Salman, is a beloved name in Indonesia, and a superstar among the bros and bro-cools of the West.
His online popularity has skyrocketed in recent months, and he has become something of a cultural phenomenon. In one recent selfie video, he presses his oversize salt bag against an open window, warning that only butter-fat is good for you. And in another, he stands behind a fridge with a ramen mug of ketchup, asking: “Is it considered salty?”
His photo-and-video clip riffs on his works, appearing constantly on BuzzFeed lists and Instagrammer profiles. With his hipster dip — Nike boots, Red Bull — his soup and his style, he is currently turning heads on the Instagram culture catwalk and on Reddit.
Salt Bae often takes to the Internet to dispel the misperceptions that come with Internet fame. In February, Salt Bae shared a video on Twitter explaining why he is not responsible for higher salt content in the city’s cuisine, saying that he does not approve of it.
“Salt isn’t a pleasure,” he says. “It’s a medicine.”
Salt Bae, 27, lives a quiet life in a simple rented apartment in central Jakarta.
The creator of the Salt Bae meal-making techniques has spoken openly about the stresses of achieving fame.
“I am not famous yet and have to deal with similar psychological challenges to achieve that level of popularity, which is not easy,” he told one magazine last year. “The process can be hard and you have to survive time and again to maintain it. And it’s exhausting, mentally.”
In interviews, which have helped him grow his following, Salt Bae says he lives a life outside of the kitchen, spending time in the streets with his dog.