Making a living out of eating

In Korean fad ‘Mukbang’, content creators eat large amounts of food and share the video, it is taking over social media

The saying goes ‘you eat to live’ but some on social media live to eat and they make money doing it. 

The Korean fad ‘Mukbang’ is taking over many social media platforms where people eat large amounts of food in front of a camera. ‘Mukbang’ comes from the word ‘muk-ja’ which means ‘eating’ and ‘bang-song’ for ‘broadcast’. In short, the word simply means ‘eating broadcast’. 

WHAT DO MUKBANGERS DO? 

The whole idea of it is to broadcast what one is eating while chatting about various topics to the viewers. This could also include them reviewing the food. The YouTuber can either cook the food or purchase it from outside. The only thing left to do is eat, record and share it on social media. 

Since it’s large amounts of food and mostly eaten only by the creator, it’s quite unhealthy — usually fried, spicy or meat items that are consumed. 

Many have turned YouTubers to become Mukbangers and make money through ad sales and viewership. Each of these videos can last anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes. 

According to Google Trends data, in India, the term ‘Mukbang’ has become three times more popular on Google search and on YouTube in the last year. 

The popular ones in the country have been earning between Rs 15,000 to 2 lakh every month from ad revenues that run on their respective channels. 

WHO ARE THEY?

YouTuber Bijan from Tripura is one of the popular. He posts videos of him (sometimes with other people) eating mostly Indian cuisine on his channel ‘Food Shood with Bijan’. With 267K subscribers, his videos have a minimum of 2 million views. 

There’s also Deepika Verma aka ‘Foodie Bobby’ from Lucknow who does a lot of food challenges and ‘Mukbang’ is one of them. She records everything she eats, be it at a fast-food restaurant or Indian food. This YouTuber with 46.5K subscribers receives about 100K views on her videos.

Sowrov Deb from Bangladesh is the creator of the YouTube channel ‘Love to Eat’. With 125K subscribers, he isn’t much of a talker. He usually just introduces the food that is in front of him and the next 10-plus minute video just shows him eating. 

Lifestyle influencer and YouTuber Scherezade Shroff also posts similar videos once in a while. She usually collaborates with other creators and chats with them. Her video format is more of tasting the food and interviewing the person with her. 

HOW UNHEALTHY IS IT?

Doing these challenges regularly is not advised by any experts. Many feel that it fuels obesity. The creators who do this on a regular basis are also putting their health at risk as they are not only consuming large amounts of food in one go but also promoting junk food among viewers. It encourages gluttony on a grand scale.

The creators are at greater risk if they don’t exercise and eat more healthy meals after shooting the video. They will also have to keep themselves hydrated after consuming so much junk food. 

WHY IS THIS SO POPULAR? 

- Surveys suggest that those who make the ‘Mukbang’ videos and the ones who watch them think of these videos as a way to combat loneliness. The creators don’t feel lonely when they are eating and the ones watching them feel like they are bonding. 

- Most of the time, viewers feel like they are also eating while watching the video. Many of them also start salivating during these videos. 

- Since some of the creators also converse with their subscribers, they feel a personal connection with their fans. 

- As there are so many ‘Mukbangers’ on the Internet, it’s also a great way to learn about different cuisines. 

- While it started off with Korean food, many other cuisines and dishes are being introduced through this challenge.

ASMR food videos are part of Mukbang

ASMR aka Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response food video is based on the same concept. However, here the videos are recorded with binaural headphones. The idea is to create an audio sensation to give the listeners the feeling of being in the same room as the host. While many enjoy the ultra-realistic sound quality and often find it soothing, there are people who don’t enjoy the loud chewing choice either. 

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