The word “mukbang” is a mash of Korean words, and if you’re unfamiliar with the video genre, it’s often live footage of a host eating plenty of food on camera while interacting with his audience. Let’s eat, which is often mixed with live action material and sometimes even a bit of music. The trend emerged in South Korea, where the videos became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but by 2015, when Fine Brothers Entertainment uploaded a video of a popular YouTube star reacting to a “Korean food show,” it was virtually unprecedented. It is a webcast with recorded videos of people eating large amounts of food in front of an audience of friends and family.
In a mukbang (pronounced “mook-bong”), people send their meals, which are usually large amounts of unexpected food combinations, while the audience eat side by side and interact with them. Some people may prepare food on camera or just eat it, but regardless, it’s about viewers watching strangers eat. Mukbangs are shot by seemingly normal people who are allowed to eat something as simple as a Macdonald’s meal, although portions are usually large, while food competitions are attended by food professionals trained to devour food as quickly as possible.
Mukbang is originally from South Korea and is a combination of the Korean mukja, which translates as “let’s eat,” and the “bangsong” that is broadcast. Together, this loose translation is told to the Self – be “eat” and “throw”; together, these loose translations are eaten and poured, and so on. Korean food, including small banchan dishes and side dishes, and essentially it’s about people eating large amounts of food and living online while interacting with their audience. In Korean culture, food generally includes a large quantity of different foods, all of which are stowed away in a large communal dish.
Nicholas Perry, 26, runs the account and says he eats the best in moderation. Perry’s video is part of a trend called Mukbang, in which people make a living eating large amounts of food for an online audience. To give just a few examples, you can watch food from your YouTube stars for two days while eating a decent dinner of chicken, rice and beans. The word mukbang (or meokbang) is a combination of the words “mukbang” and “meok bang” in Thai, meaning “broadcast”. Although online food shows are now very popular on YouTube, they are no longer exactly what they once were. Muk bang is an acronym for “let’s eat,” which means “bang song” during the broadcast.
This trend originated in Korea sometime in 2010 and has since spread worldwide, and the fascination has spread to the US. The Mukbang trend originates in Korea, but is also popular in Thailand, China, Japan and South Korea. If you want to try something new, there are plenty of videos from the internet. Some of the legions of mukbang videos are actually able to live off that intoxication – the food.
Mukbang is a viral video trend in which influencers eat large amounts of food. Some followers can’t get enough of people eating large portions of fish, others use the videos to change their own relationships with food, and some fans just long for them to eat on someone else’s screen. The movement began in 2014, when streaming platforms gained popularity due to the popularity of social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. Mukbang is a fad that originated in South Korea, where people film and broadcast themselves eating (often in large quantities) to create a “food and show.” The word “muk bang” is the South Korean term that has been merged with another word to create the meaning of “eating and transferring.”
This desire for social interaction is embedded in the genre of mukbang food shows, where audiences spend hours watching mukbangers eat delicious food. The videos range from ASMR (people preparing an act) to people interacting with the audience while preparing the act, but the main difference is that ASMR is all about whispering, while Mukbang is all about food. How has modern society become more and more introspective, and is this social trend purely entertainment or part of a larger trend of socialization?
The concept comes from YouTubers who eat huge portions of food, from ramen to seafood and from seafood to meatballs and everything in between, to delight the eyes and ears of their audience. Making videos popular in Korea is what most people report, because we have a sense of community about food that is traditionally associated with binge-out together during the holidays. In Korea, many fans watch people in real time, and since most Koreans watch food on their mobile devices, the comments section feels like a chat room for friends. Korean broadcasts live commentary streamed from both sides of the frame, in which viewers react with balloons and tokens to give their host a small micro-payment.