As the internet makes it so easy for people to know about the latest trends, the media has skyrocketed “mukbang” into a trending reality. Af...
As the internet makes it so easy for people to know about the latest trends, the media has skyrocketed “mukbang” into a trending reality.
After a year of COVID quarantine, our relationship with food and dining has changed. Mukbang films and personalities on YouTube have given a source of consolation and pleasure for many who have missed the familiarities of freshly prepared food and eating in excess during times of uncertainty and fear. For those who prefer ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response)-like eating noises, they're also strangely calming.
Mukbang, a fusion of two Korean terms (muk-ja for "eating", and bang-song for "broadcast"), translates to "eating broadcast" and features contestants bingeing on Asian-influenced cuisine. It’s an internet show originating from South Korea where the host would indulge in a lot of food in front of a live telecast – from pasta, pizza, spicy noodles, cheeseburgers, seafood, and many more
Since the trend began in South Korea in the early 2010s, there is now a variety of mukbang available for people to watch online, including the ASMR mukbang, which capitalizes on the trend of streamers recording noises and sounds that make us "feel" something as we watch – think slurps, loud chewing, crunching, and all those sounds that come hand-in-hand with enjoying a good meal.
Mukbang may seem like a passing cultural curiosity, but some people would actually seek out these videos to provoke an ASMR, which they describe as a pleasant tingling sensation. Some broadcast junkies would sprawl feasts and slurp ramen while talking to their audience. It may seem bizarre, but thousands of people turning into different “mukbangers” every day find a deeper connection with the content.
This dining trend can turn an unenviable and potentially lonely experience of eating alone into something oddly enjoyable and interactive. Some viewers appear to crave the company of eating with someone else while others seem to be using these videos to alter their relationship with food.
Mukbang has gone worldwide, with thousands of content creators from all over the world uploading films of themselves eating on YouTube, collecting millions upon millions of views. Collins Dictionary included "mukbang" as one of its Words of 2020, recognizing its widespread popularity.
Observing other people eat is nothing new, but mukbang isn't your typical Food Network show. Eating out and mingling with others is a huge issue in South Korea, so some assume that one of the reasons mukbang became famous was because viewers tuned in to help recreate the social component of dining.