What is mukbang and the Future of mukbang
By Yvonne
2022-11-17

A mukbang or meokbang (Korean) is an online audiovisual program that features a host who consumes varying amounts of food while conversing with the viewers. It sprang to prominence in South Korea in 2010 and, together with K-Beauty, K-pop, and Korean drama, has been a key Hallyu propagator, propelling it to global prominence. Foods such as pizza and noodles are consumed in front of the camera. Mukbang acts as an instructional tool on occasion, introducing viewers to local foods or dining venues.

What is mukbang

A mukbang is typically taped or live streamed through webcast on platforms such as AfreecaTV, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch. In the live version, the mukbang host converses with the audience while they type in real-time in the live chat room, resulting in multimodal communication.

Eating shows are becoming increasingly popular on internet broadcasting platforms, serving as a virtual meeting place and venue for online users to actively converse.

Mukbang practitioners from Asia and North America have increased in popularity on social media, making mukbang a lucrative job. Mukbangers earn money through advertising, sponsorships, endorsements, and viewer support by preparing and consuming food in front of a large television audience. However, mukbang has come under fire for fostering unhealthy eating habits, animal cruelty, and food waste.

Explain ASMR mukbang

Because the mukbang trend has been popular in South Korea since the early 2010s, viewers may now watch a variety of live eating shows online, such as:

  • When thinking of ASMR mukbang (autonomous sensory meridian response), think slurps, loud chewing, crunching, and all those sounds that go along with having a good meal, which capitalizes on the trend of streamers capturing noises and sounds that make us "feel" something as we watch.
  • Storytime mukbang occurs when a streamer presents a completely unrelated subject while eating and recounts a gripping story, ranging from true crime to YouTube rumors to genuine events in real life.
  • Interviews and collaborative mukbangs, in which a streamer or YouTuber invites a visitor to a mukbang on their channel. Megan Thee Stallion, a rapper, leveraged the trend to market her new hot sauce by making a YouTube video of her own mukbang.

That makes sense. But what about mukbang BJs?

Don't be alarmed if this term appears in your child's search history. It appears to be far less dangerous than it is. Mukbang BJs are broadcast jockeys; live streamers in Korea, like DJs and VJs, have appropriated the name BJ as their own. In English, the equivalent term is "online streamer" or "live streamer." Essentially, the phrase refers to a "mukbang streamer."

Why is mukbang so popular?

Observing others eat is nothing new, but mukbang is not your standard Food Network show. Some feel that one of the reasons mukbang became popular was because viewers tuned in to help mimic the social aspect of dining, because eating out and socializing with others is a big deal in South Korea, the trend's host country.

Korean BJs usually stream live during regular mealtimes so that viewers can see or participate in the meal. This contrasts with the international mukbanger community, such as those in the United States, who frequently pre-record their mukbang films and chat while eating.

Another big draw is the large quantity of food consumed by the BJs. The average person will never take 20,000 calories in one sitting, but thanks to mukbang, they can easily observe someone else accomplishing it, similar to a conventional hot dog eating contest. On some level, mukbang movies may also benefit those who are hungry. Some viewers who enjoy eating sensations may find the louder, ASMR components of the videos intriguing.

How to Make Children's Videos Safer

If you're concerned about the content your children are exposed to online, you might set up parental controls on YouTube. You can see the YouTube searches your children have conducted and a summary of the videos they've previously viewed with Qustodio's YouTube monitoring function. Understanding the types of information your child values allows you to speak to them honestly and openly about any potential threats they may face online.

Mukbang movies are now watched by millions of people all around the world, and while some are watched by adults, the majority are watched by children and teenagers. If your child is interested in mukbang, you may occasionally co-watch a video with them so you can discuss what you watched. This allows you to monitor your child's thoughts and feelings after they've accessed internet material and incorporate their online experience into regular family activities.

How did Mukbang come to be?

What exactly is a mukbang, and where did it come from? Mukbang first aired on the live-streaming service AfreecaTV in 2010.

It became popular because it contrasts sharply with Korean cultural, gender, and dietary practices.

Korea has a vibrant cuisine culture. Many individuals believe that the surge of loneliness among single Koreans in the digital age gave rise to mukbang. Dining out alone is uncommon in South Korea because it is mostly a social activity.

However, as the number of Koreans living alone has grown, they have grown lonely and have turned to social media for company. So perhaps this explains why Mukbangers began to record themselves for the sake of others and why others enjoy seeing them eat. Particularly in person, where they can interact and post comments.

Given the advancements in mobile streaming and digital services such as WiFi, this is not rare in Korea. They always have the nicest stuff at the tip of their fingers. It has changed the way people engage with one another. As a result, some argue that mukbang is an example of the digital shift away from traditional, interpersonal social activities.

However, you must also consider the rich cultural background of Korean cuisine. As this Korean blogger points out, it may have less to do with loneliness and more to do with loving seeing other people enjoy themselves. And, much like anywhere else on the planet, people enjoy seeing others enjoying the food they cooked. It's a simple joy to take pleasure in seeing another person's delight.

Furthermore, even if there is adequate food today, many Koreans still recall the food shortages that prevailed during the war. They still remember such periods or have heard about them from family members, and this has influenced how they eat today.

South Korea is currently fascinated with staying fit and slim. As a result, mukbang is popular because individuals utilize it to enjoy what they previously lacked and to satisfy their own desires by living through others.

In fact, the Korean government was so concerned about the last point that it issued a health warning regarding mukbang. The government developed mukbang show guidelines out of concern about food concerns caused by both acute bingeing and extreme starvation from seeing others feast.

Mukbang's Future

The "Mukbang Challenge," which entails uploading a video of someone eating a lot of food in a short amount of time on YouTube, is how mukbang became popular in the West. It adapts mukbang and adds a competitive eating factor to the videos. Rather than being time-based, the challenge might also be quantity or intensity-based, such as eating a ridiculous amount of spicy noodles.

The Mukbang Challenge host frequently consumes 5 to 15 packets of noodles while eating ramen or another large bowl of noodles. Prepare to slurp a lot!