And kanji with manga
Thursday, September 30, 2021

Salt Bae

In anime, sometimes when a character sprinkles a food with salt, spice, or something like that, they do it in a specific pose, which is a meme called "salt bae," in Japanese known as shio-furi ojisan 塩振りおじさん, "salt-sprinkling old man," among other names.

Gob'ichi, ゴブイチ and Haruna ハルナ, example of salt bae parody.
Left: Gob'ichi, ゴブイチ
Right: Haruna ハルナ
Anime: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, 転生したらスライムだった件 (Episode 20)

Original

The meme comes from a viral video by Turkish chef Nusret Gökçe posted in 2017-01-07, "in which he flamboyantly sprinkles salt on a carved steak." A twitter user shared the video, saying: "so this is #saltbae," and that's how the meme became called what it is.(knowyourmeme.com)

For the record, "bae" is an American slang referring to "someone you love, a boyfriend or girlfriend," e.g. "it's bad when bae (your boyfriend or girlfriend) doesn't reply to your texts."(dictionary.cambridge.org:bae)

Consequently, the name of the meme has also been translated to Japanese as shio no koibito 塩の恋人(dic.pixiv.net), the "salt lover," as in a lover that's somehow related to salt, maybe because he sprinkles salt, or maybe because he's made out of salt, or he just loves salt.

Examples

For reference, some examples of the pose parodied in anime.

Generally, the pose consists of raising one's dominant hand just above shoulder to sprinkle something, typically salt. Usually, the gesturer holds the salt pinching with index and thumb, while the little finger extends away—this is important, since clearly extending your pinky makes it around 50% classier—but there are variations.

Hoshikawa Seiya 星川聖夜, example of salt bae parody.
Character: Hoshikawa Seiya 星川聖夜
Anime: Boku no Kanojo ga Majime-sugiru Shobitch na Ken, 僕の彼女がマジメ過ぎるしょびっちな件 (Episode 7, Stitch)
  • Context: Hoshikawa cooks curry.
    • Air date: 2017-09, the earliest example of this parody known.
Dorothy West, ドロシー・ウェスト, example of salt bae parody.
Character: Dorothy West, ドロシー・ウェスト
Anime: Idol Time PriPara, アイドルタイムプリパラ (Episode 43)
  • Context: Dorothy cooks okonomiyaki お好み焼き. The glasses aren't part of her design, they appear out of nowhere for the parody.
    • Air date: 2018-01.
Jamo, ジャーモ, example of salt bae parody.
Character: Jamo, ジャーモ
Anime: Black Clover, ブラッククローバー (Episode 23)
  • Context: the head chef would rather die cooking than stop cooking and live.
    • Air date: 2018-03.
Left: Gob'ichi, ゴブイチ
Right: Haruna ハルナ
Anime: Tensei shitara Slime Datta Ken, 転生したらスライムだった件 (Episode 20)
  • Context: Gob'ichi and Haruna cook for a festival.
    • Air date: 2019-02.
Mikuriya Futaba 厨二葉, example of salt bae parody.
Character: Mikuriya Futaba 厨二葉
Anime: Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy, 厨病激発ボーイ (Episode 4)
  • Context: Mikuriya makes scotch eggs.
    • Air date: after 2019-08.
Medusa, メデューサ, Hanazono Yurine 花園ゆりね, example of salt bae parody.
Left: Medusa, メデューサ
Right: Hanazono Yurine 花園ゆりね
Anime: Jashin-chan Dropkick', 邪神ちゃんドロップキック’ (Season 2) (Episode 6)
  • Context: Yurine teaches Medusa how to make hamburg steaks.
    • Air date: 2020-05.
  • shio no ire-kata wa kou
    塩の入れこう
    The way to insert salt is this way. (literally.)
    This is how you add the salt.
    • ireru 入れる, "to put [something] in [somewhere]," forms ergative verb pair with hairu 入る, "to enter [somewhere]."
Souma Kazuya 相馬一也, example of salt bae parody.
Character: Souma Kazuya 相馬一也
Anime: Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki 現実主義勇者の王国再建記 (Episode 4)
  • Context: Souma salts burdock roots to eat.
    • Air date: after 2021-07.

Non-Cooking Examples

Sometimes, the salt bae pose is parodied in situations that aren't about cooking food.

Senkuu 千空, parodying salt bae.
Left: Senkuu 千空
Right: Chrome, クロム
Anime: Dr. Stone, ドクターストーン (Episode 13)
  • Context: Senku throws a pinch of salt on sulfuric acid in the process to make hydrochloric acid.
    • Air date: 2019-09.
Ninomiya Kinji 二ノ宮キンジ, example of salt bae parody.
Character: Ninomiya Kinji 二ノ宮キンジ
Anime: Meikyuu Black Company, 迷宮ブラックカンパニー (Episode 9, Stitch)
  • Context: Ninomiya spikes a potion he's selling called Dead Cow, デッドカウ, with "confusion weed," konran-sou 混乱草, for its hypnotic (i.e. narcotic) effects.
    • Air date: 2021-09.
Character: Reigen Arataka 霊幻新隆
Anime: Mob Psycho 100 II (Season 2) (Episode 7)
  • Context: Reigen has a habit of moving his hands haphazardly before gesturing. In this scene, one of the frames shown in a mere instant contains a hand apparently sprinkling salt out of nowhere.
    • Air date: 2019-06.
  • matte
    待っ
    Wait!
  • ore ga yarou
    やろう
    I'll do [it].

Cameo

Some series feature salt bae himself, by which I mean how Nusret Gökçe looked like in the video he posted in 2017.

They aren't exactly giving the cook a cameo, they're giving the meme based on the cook a cameo, because most people don't know how the person looks like right now, or would recognize him, but everybody would recognize the "salt bae" from the meme if they were to see him somewhere.

卵と米を混ぜて炒めるだけというシンプルさ故か男の手料理としてはパスタに並ぶ人気を誇る! ーーだがシンプルながら作り方は人によって様々
Manga: Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai ~Tensai-Tachi no Ren'ai Zunousen~ かぐや様は告らせたい~天才たちの恋愛頭脳戦~ (Chapter 96, かぐや様は食べさせたい)
  • Context: a war starts about "fried rice," chaahan 炒飯チャーハン.
  • {{{tamago to kome wo mazete} itameru} dake toiu} shinpuru-sa yue ka otoko no te-ryouri toshite wa {pasuta ni narabu} ninki wo hokoru!
    卵と米を混ぜて炒めるだけというシンプルさ故か男の手料理としてはパスタに並ぶ人気を誇る!
    [Perhaps because of] the simplicity [of] {just {{mixing eggs and rice} and then frying [it]}, [it] boasts a popularity [that] {rivals pasta} as a guy's cooking!
    • This sentence says that, because men can't cook, they prefer dishes that are easy to make, such as pasta, and fried rice is so simple to make that its popularity among guys as a dish choice rivals that of the pasta.
    • narabu - "to be side by side with [something]," "to line up with [something]," "to queue," "to rival in rank," "to be shoulder to shoulder with."
    • te-ryouri - literally "hand cooking," refers to cooking done by a person privately, rather than a cook professionally.
  • ~~daga shinpuru nagara tsukuri-kata wa {hito ni yotte} sama-zama
    ーーだがシンプルながら作りは人によって様
    However, while simple the ways-to-cook [it] vary {from person to person}.
やめてよーっ 死にたくないよーっ!! よしな・・・
Manga: Pop Team Epic, Poputepipikku ポプテピピック (Volume 2, Page 95)
  • Context: a slug panics over a deadly salt-sprinkling old man.
  • yamete yo~'
    やめ
    Stop~!
  • shinitakunai yo~'!!
    死にたくないよーっ!!
    [I] don't want to die!
  • yoshi na...
    よしな・・・
    Stop [it]...
Nusret Gökçe (also known as salt bae) can be seen in the background in this scene.
Anime: Pop Team Epic, Poputepipikku ポプテピピック (Episode 9)
  • Context: salt bae can be seen among the audience in this scene.

Fan Art

The pose can also be found in the tag #saltbae on Pixiv.

References

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