As you cannot purchase Salt, starting with no goods would mean no one gets Salt until they build in a Salt city. It seems to me that if everyone gets a Salt to start with Salsa, you would also start with one for this variant as well.
I get the feeling that no one uses this variant anyway - I could not find any questions or comments about it in either game Forums.
I play with this variant quite often on boiteajeux and it's just as you describe. You can't buy salt. But, as stated by the earlier comment, you don't need to buy salt if you can simply buy the goods you need. It does require some more planning at the beginning (or, rather, a different way of planning), but I think the variant presents an interesting challenge. I would recommend against starting with any salt.