Wanna satisfy your Korean food cravings and share your thoughts about it online? Then, why not make trendy Korean mukbang videos like what we see on social media today? Who would’ve thought that eating your favorite food could help you earn money simultaneously? Well, by doing mukbang videos, all of these are possible.
This Korean trend has become a global phenomenon. From the large quantities of food consumed, ASMR videos, to gaining significant income and popularity, it’s no surprise that many people are doing it. And many viewers watch it worldwide.
With Korea’s deep food culture, it’s no surprise that this trend became an actual phenomenon. So, join me as we learn everything about Korean mukbang and discover why many people are watching it. You will also learn why Korean mukbang is popular and why there are people who don’t like this kind of eating show.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
What Is Korean Mukbang (먹방)?
The first thing we should do is to define mukbang. If you’re following the Korean trend or even just scrolling in your social media, you can see many mukbang videos. So, what exactly is mukbang?
Mukbang is a trend that originated in South Korea, where they do eating broadcasts. The Korean word mukbang (먹방) came from two Korean words which are meok-ja/ muk-ja (먹자) , which means ‘let’s eat’ or ‘eating’, and bang song (방송 ) which means ‘to broadcast.’ It is also defined as an eating show broadcast live by a mukbang host.
It is not so different in American cooking shows. The only difference is the emphasis of American cooking shows is on cooking the food, while in South Korea, they also focus on the host eating the food after being cooked.
The person who is doing mukbang is called mukbangers, mukbang BJs, or mukbang hosts. Occasionally, they prepare the food on camera before eating it. Some videos have loud sound effects and meal descriptions such as slurping, chewing, and biting. While in others shows the host silently eats. These sounds are best presented through an ASMR mukbang which we will discuss later.
Mukbang might have started as an eating broadcast, but it has gone way beyond just eating food. It has gone global, so there are lots of innovations and twists put into it to make it more appealing and exciting to the people watching it.
Why Is Korean Mukbang Popular?
Mukbang’s popularity started in South Korea and reached other parts of the world, especially America. It was not that long since American YouTubers started doing mukbang videos.
People have mixed feelings about mukbang. Some find it weird, and some find it entertaining and satisfying. But, what exactly makes mukbang so popular in the world? Here are some of the main reasons why.
It’s A Product Of Hallyu (Korean Wave)
It is not surprising though, as anything from Korea, like skincare and fashion, is trending worldwide. So, when someone is an avid fan of Korean culture, you might find mukbang interesting, so why not hop into the trend?
Eating out in South Korea is mainly a social activity, and eating alone is uncommon. However, as the number of Koreans living alone has increased, many have become lonely and have turned to alcohol. Given this situation, the emergence of the mukbang phenomenon in South Korea isn’t surprising.
People who eat their food alone most of the time can feel depressed, especially in Korean culture. Mukbang gave this kind of people a platform to have companions while eating, even if it’s just virtually. They can share their thoughts with people who watch their live stream while enjoying their food.
As the number of Koreans living alone has increased, they have become lonely. They have turned to social media for comfort. As a result, this may be why Mukbangers began filming themselves for the benefit of others and why viewers enjoy watching them eat. Especially live, when they can participate and offer comments.
Again, this can all be rooted in their food culture and etiquette.
Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR)
Slurps, noisy chewing, crunching, and the sounds that come hand-in-hand with having a nice meal are all part of ASMR mukbang (autonomous sensory meridian response). Exaggerated noises represent the sounds of eating, drinking, biting, chewing, and other activities.
In doing an ASMR mukbang, you need a high-quality audio device. Mukbangers have to invest in high-quality technology just to make ASMR happen. Another thing to consider is the background noises. In ASMR, it is essential.
The ASMR aspect isn’t new in the vloggers’ world, but it hits differently when it’s done with food. It can be too weird and uncomfortable for some, but many people find it enjoyable, making them crave the food.
You Can Earn From It
Imagine how amazing it is to be able to eat lots of delicious food and get paid for it. It is probably one of everyone’s dreams come true. Korean mukbangers are getting paid just to prepare food and eat it in front of live audiences.
Many Mukbang hosts have made large sums of money by accepting donations or becoming paid partners with ad networks because of the surge of people making money on the internet.
They can also earn ad revenue from different brands and companies. The money from their fans is commonly digital currencies that may be purchased and sold with actual paper money.
What Do You Need In Doing Mukbang Videos?
Are you planning to start your mukbang videos? Here are the essential things that you need to have:
Mukbang Hosts Or Mukbang Broadcast Jockey (BJ)
Mukbang BJs (Broadcast Jockeys) are like DJs (disc jockeys) and VJs (video jockeys). They can also be called mukbang streamers or mukbangers. Mukbang streamers video themselves making food or ordering large quantities of takeout food, then eat it in front of the camera for the entertainment of their live audience.
Mukbangers usually do this in the comfort of their home. They usually use electric burners, takeout containers, or have the food delivered to their home. A twist also got trendy where mukbangers go to restaurants, order a considerable amount of food, and film themselves.
Here are some of the OG mukbangers that gained their popularity through eating broadcasts:
- Banzz – He is a founding member of the Korean BJs or mukbangers. He is well-known for his ability to consume large amounts of food while maintaining a fantastic figure. Although his videos are Korean, he provides subtitles for his international followers.
- Yuka Kinoshita is a Japanese YouTuber well-known for her insatiable appetite but remains relatively slim. She eats massive 12,000-calorie, 16kg meals in front of her 5.2 million Instagram followers.
- Dorothy – A Korean mukbang Youtuber with a high spiciness tolerance. She can consume ghost pepper powder-flavored meals without flinching!
- Nikocado Avocado – He is an American mukbanger who took up veganism after experiencing health problems that his eating choices could have caused. He subsequently became the first American mukbanger to engage in extreme eating. Aside from his extravagant food consumption, he is noted for his frequent emotional outbursts and flicks, which have piqued the interest of his audience.
- Keemi – She is an excellent cook who frequently eats dishes that she prepared in her university dorm or her Chicago apartment. Keemi was one of the first people to launch an online eating channel. She also vlogs about cooking, ASMR videos, and food in general.
- Stephanie Soo – She is a newbie Korean-American mukbanger that already has more than 1 million subscribers. Her bubbliness and big appetite attract viewers. She also remained slim even after eating all of this food.
Youtube Channel/Streaming Platform
The next thing that you need to prepare is your mukbang channel. Many mukbang BJs are doing their eating show on Youtube. Some are live streaming on other social media like Facebook. Going live is preferable because the mukbang BJ can interact with the viewers.
There are different popular streaming platforms are used by mukbangers, such as the following:
- Afreeca tv
Camera And Audio Devices
Of course, Mukbang videos will not be possible without a camera. For a total beginner, just use your phone camera to film. You can upgrade your camera if you are earning more because the people watching your mukbang videos also deserve a high quality of videos.
But I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Why do I need audio devices when it’s eating in front of a cam?”. Well, mukbang isn’t called social eating for no reason. Many BJs consume food while talking or interacting with their viewers, so they need excellent audio.
Another reason is the ASMR aspect of the mukbang videos. If you’re doing an ASMR mukbang, you’ll need high-end audio devices that will make the sounds of slurping, chewing, and biting sounds heard.
Huge Amounts Of Food
The star of a mukbang is a large amount of food or takeout food eaten in just one sitting. The more the food that can be seen on camera, the more it gets interesting.
The choices of food that you’ll feature vary on what country you’re in or what is the trendiest food during that time. If you Since Korean started, here are some Korean food consumed in mukbang videos:
Typical Food Consumed In Korean Mukbang Videos
- Spicy Noodles or Ramen
- Korean Rice Cake
- Rolled Eggs
- Spicy Food
- Korean Fried Chicken/Ordinary Fried Chicken
- Kimchi With Rice
Who Doesn’t Like Mukbang Videos?
Although mukbang gained popularity worldwide, people have mixed emotions about it. Of course, people have different opinions and views about certain things. Many are wondering why this is all normal now. There are criticisms of this trend, and here are some of those:
People Who Don’t Like Wasting Food
Since mukbangs involve a copious amount of food, one of the significant problems that mukbangers encounter is food waste. Mukbangers are eating a large amount of food in just one sitting, and they do not finish all this food all the time. There are leftovers, and these all go to waste.
Dietitians and Health Advocates
Another reason is that mukbang can trigger eating disorders and promote poor eating habits. You might not have known that Binge Eating Disorder is a disorder.
But let’s define what Binge Eating Disorder is. According to NEDA, binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious, life-threatening, and curable eating disorder marked by recurring episodes of binge eating. It is a new eating disorder that has been recognized just recently.
A Youtuber-Dietitian named Abey Sharp said that bingeing is disorderly, dangerous, and triggering even if it doesn’t result in physical changes in one’s body. I’m sure many fans of mukbangers are glorifying them because they maintain their slim body and are not gaining weight. But the question is, do you have to consume 10,000 calories in just one sitting?
Remember that the food consumed in mukbang videos is primarily unhealthy food, processed or junk food. This type of food isn’t good for our body and may cause different diseases in the long run. So, the question from health advocates is, “Are you willing to take this risk just to entertain people and earn money?”
Looking good and staying slim or thin regardless of the number of calories you have eaten isn’t something that should be celebrated. It doesn’t eliminate the possibility that they have eating disorders.
These mukbangers mostly follow a Binge-Repent-Repeat eating cycle to continue what they are doing. But, not gaining weight and maintaining their bodies thin are products of over-exercising and punishing restrictions which aren’t healthy at all.
Dietitians believe that having this eating cycle can have a massive effect on their health and body and have short-term or long-term effects. Nikocado Avocado claimed that binge eating for mukbang videos had harmed his health. In contrast, an Italian mukbanger Omar Palermo, died of a heart attack in 2021.
To sum it up, mukbangs can be entertaining and inspiring. Especially for food lovers who believe that it’s possible to indulge in large quantities of food, primarily unhealthy food, without gaining weight or changing your body shape. But, always remember that everything you do to your body has an effect. It can be something physical or mental.
People Who Are Against Animal Cruelty
In a mukbang, the most consumed food is chicken, pizza, seafood, and many more. This kind of food usually involves animals, and consuming a huge amount of this food can trigger those who are against animal cruelty. Of course, you might say they shouldn’t be watching these mukbang videos, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.
You don’t control what will appear on your social media feed. Because of algorithms, your social media may seem to be watching all your actions on the internet.
For example, Google searches can now affect what ads and posts you’ll see on your Facebook or Instagram. If these people searched anything about food, the chances of these videos appearing on their social media are high since it is also a global trend nowadays.
People against animal cruelty hate having animals being harmed and consuming food that is a product of animals can get on their nerves.
Learn Korean With Mukbang
Korean language learners, who love watching mukbang, can also benefit to learn Korean. So, how do you learn Korean with mukbang? Mukbang can be a valuable instrument for learning the Korean language. It frequently features young hosts who use trendy terms and language. They use conversational words, which are helpful in daily life.
Through mukbang, you’ll learn words used in food, like describing food, naming food and dishes, and describing the taste of food.
Mukbang’s originality helps the words and keeps them in your mind longer than learning them from a textbook. You’ll also learn to share your thoughts respectfully, especially in Korean culture, where politeness is a big deal.
You can also witness how Koreans interact with each other through their gestures, facial expressions, and more.
Although mukbang can help you pick up some Korean words, it’s still better to strengthen what you have learned by studying and practicing.
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