by Daniel Park

In recent years the popularity of live streaming has increased. Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms have features to allow users live stream to their viewers. With the rise of streaming came a new type of content: Mukbang.

A content unique to Korea, Mukbang is a type of content where streamers or BJs (a Korean acronym) film and stream themselves eating.

Mukbang is a combination of two Korean terms Muok-da (eat) and Bang (room). Some of the most famous broadcasters can earn up to $10,000 a month. These eaters broadcast their feastings on the Korean streaming service provider called AfreecaTV.

However, it isn’t the large sums of money that surprises most people, but rather the absurdly large amounts of food the broadcasters intake — it’s sometimes enough to make some turn away from the screen. If the enormous amount of food isn’t what’s keeping you away, maybe the way they eat will.

One of the most displeasing element of the mukbang is the noise the broadcasters make. The excessive amount of smacking, chewing and slurping noise is not gravitating. In spite of the potential disapproval from foreigners many Koreans enjoy this type of content. Viewers watch other people eat and drink regularly, perhaps like the way sports fan watch football, basketball, or soccer.

But the motivation of watching either one of the programs is quite different. So why would large number of viewers would watch others eat live? Many viewers claim that the vicarious eating satisfy the want to eat during a diet, preventing the craving for more food. They even claim that it provides another person to eat with when one is living alone. Whatever it is, the phenomenon continues to grow, and I still don’t get it.

See for yourself: