Spending more time at home surfing YouTube for entertainment, I came across a massive wave of videos of people indulging in large amounts of food. Surprisingly, I found myself clicking on these videos again and again and after a little bit of research I noticed that I am not alone. So what’s the hype? Why are people so obsessed with watching other people eat and how did this trend come to be?
In recent years, these videos, which are called Mukbangs- pronounced “Mook-bong”-, have been gaining popularity and have developed into a trend where people film themselves consuming a wide range of foods. These videos seem to attract an enormous amount of attention and are constantly being produced and recreated on various platforms where millions of people watch them.
The origin of the Mukbang is South Korean. The word translates to “eating broadcast” and these live streams of people eating became really popular in South Korea in 2010. The trend was brought to the United States in 2015, after the YouTube channel Fine Brothers Entertainment released an episode where different YouTubers reacted to these South Korean Mukbangs. Following the episode release, many different YouTubers sought to recreate these videos which led the Mukbang to go viral in the US. Nikocado Avocado, Veronica Wang, and Stephanie Soo, are among the most prominent Mukbangers on YouTube where some of their most popular videos receive over 10 million views. Another reason many YouTubers have hopped on to this trend is the money associated with Mukbangs. Through brand endorsements and reviews, it is said that Mukbangers can receive up to $100,000 a year.
When clicking on one of these videos, you will notice that all the foods being eaten are indulgent and filling. You will rarely find a video where someone is munching on a salad. Fast food Mukbangs are extremely popular as well as Mukbangs which involve foods with different satisfying qualities. An example of this is honeycomb. The ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) sensation that people get when watching people eat foods like honeycomb is one of the reasons Mukbang videos are popular. ASMR is a “feel-good”, tingling sensation that people receive when watching or listening to certain satisfying sounds or actions. ASMR videos are also popular on YouTube where people record themselves performing tasks such as typing on a keyboard or brushing their hair.
People often tune in to these videos while they are eating, or simply enjoy them as a way to pass the time. The original South Korean Mukbangs are traditionally silent videos where the focus is on the food being consumed. The United States’ take on the trend has shifted to include “story times”, where YouTubers tell a story or discuss different topics while enjoying their meal.
If you are finding yourself sitting at home with nothing to do, be sure to look up “Mukbang” and immerse yourself in this food obsessed world. Better yet, post a video of you eating your favorite foods. You never know, you might even go viral!