The Golden Obsession: Why Vietnam Has a Love Affair with Gold

“You can bite off the pho, or you can spit on Long Beach, but you can’t wear gold.” This is a folk motto from Vietnam. In Vietnam, gold is the essence of the world, a lifelong obsession, and the truth that Tolstoy said.

The 36-year-old Dai Gia Phuc XO is from Saigon and is the first certified Golden Circle No. 1 brother in Vietnam. As the owner of a famous karaoke in Vietnam, XO does not smoke or drink, and his only belief is gold. According to XO, he once consulted a feng shui expert who sold coffee and was told that wearing gold everywhere would bring him good luck, wealth and health. So a 13kg gold necklace, 4 gold rings weighing about 1kg and another 2 pairs of gold bracelets weighing 6kg became the standard equipment for XO to go out.

But what made him famous in the first battle was a gold cap weighing 4 jins. This hat, worth 2 billion VND, was specially customized by XO. It has the style of the west coast without losing the nobility of Southeast Asia. There are 260 diamonds inlaid in the hat, which is his name. “I can’t turn dreams into gold, but I can turn gold into dreams.”

Almost every Vietnamese has a strong and persistent desire for gold. If you don’t have money, you can do local tyrant gold color matching, and if you have the strength, you can get the most ruthless gold in the local area. In short, it is to make yourself look golden enough.

Such is the case with Tran Duc Loi, 39. For the past few years, Tran has made a living selling South American lizards, and as his business has grown, so has the gold chain around his neck. The gold-plated car is Tran’s most proud work, and it is also the magic weapon for him to capture the hearts of beauties everywhere. “Gold transcends borders, politics, religion, she may not like my accent, but she will accept my gold.”

In Vietnam, such golden guests are not uncommon. Earlier, a Hanoi man was photographed carrying gold in the store and smashing powder. For Vietnam, where the gap between rich and poor is large, wearing gold is not a public show, but a hobby. Similar to your devotion to a certain clothing brand, gold will always be a trend in Vietnam.

Enthusiasm for gold has led Vietnamese entrepreneurs to come up with many gold business ideas, including food, clothing, housing and transportation. In 2020, Vietnam opened the world’s first fully gold-plated hotel – Dolce Hanoi Golden Lake. “For our guests, coffee is served in gold cups and baths are spent in gold-plated tubs.” The hotel cost $200 million to build, and even the toilets are gold-plated. “When I got here, I felt like a king and a pharaoh,” said one guest.

In Vietnam, any story about gold will cause quite a commotion. Last year, a Vietnamese official was caught in cyberbullying after tasting a golden steak worth more than £1,000. As a result, some businessmen sniffed out a business opportunity-charging about US$45 per person, they could taste the famous gold-plated tomahawk wagyu that the Vietnamese minister ate in London.

Although the average monthly income in Vietnam was only about US$183 last year, the dish is still out of reach for many people, but there are still many diners who feel that this piece of meat is more valuable than ever. “This is one of the most memorable experiences in my life. Because this is the closest I get to gold.” The 40-year-old customer Pham Duy Bach left in a hurry after eating. He said there were 300 leather shoes waiting for him to ingot.

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