America Is Fascinated With Mukbangs — Here's Why They Are So Popular

What makes mukbang videos so popular? Details on why binge-eating large amounts of food has become a viral Youtube sensation

Gabrielle Bernardini - Author

Apr. 12 2019, Updated 11:03 a.m. ET

Consuming large amounts of food in a digital space such as YouTube has become a huge phenomenon across the world, especially in the U.S. Known as mukbang (pronounced "mook-bong") viewers flock to their screens to watch people engorge on 3,000-plus calories meals and commentate while they’re binge-eating.  

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Not only do viewers take pleasure in watching someone indulge in a visual sense, many fans have become invested in the ASMR component of a mukbang, which stands for  “autonomous sensory meridian response.” What this means is that audiences interested in ASMR take satisfaction in listening to people slurp, chew, and emit other noises that are common when eating.  

A millennium culture fad, mukbangs have become so popular on Youtube that some vloggers boast more than one million followers on their channel. No, we're not kidding.  

So, why is mukbang so popular? 

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Though some may find the thought of watching someone eat disturbing, many fans of mukbangs look at this fad as an enjoyable experience. "That’s my favorite thing to do,” an avid mukbang viewer revealed to Men’s Health magazine. And, with an enormous amount of content being produced, advertisers and sponsors have signed on. 

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Popular mukbang channels have monetized their platforms. "Once you get popular, you can make close to $100,000 a year here in the U.S.," Soo Tang — who boasts more than 400,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel MommyTang — told Today. "There are many endorsements, e-book and product review payouts." 

Who started the mukbang trend? 

The origins of mukbang seemingly started in South Korea, in which “muk-ja” stands for "let’s eat" and "bang-song" means "broadcast."  According to Splinter News, mukbangs initially began airing on AfreecaTV, which is a South Korea-based live-streaming service. 

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mommy tang mukbang
Source: Youtube

Simon Stawski is a Canadian blogger who co-founded "Eat Your Kimchi." He moved to South Korea in 2008 and first became aware of mukbang in 2014, telling Today Food, "Dining is a social activity, and you don’t sit and eat alone. For those that can’t eat with others, they’ll more than likely stay home to eat alone, but they’ll still have the urge to socialize while eating, which is what I think mukbangers replicate.” 

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Seafood mukbangs also satisfy your ASMR needs. 

As we mentioned above, many viewers love not only watching someone eat a lot of food, but also are engaged in the ASMR of it all. Therefore, it’s no surprise that seafood mukbangs are among the most popular videos of the genre. 

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Vlogger Blove, known as Bloveslife, generates viral video content everyday. She told Interview Magazine, "Seafood is the most popular. People love the cracking sound of the crab." Before monetizing her Youtube channel, she was making circuit boards for the military. "Now, I’m putting my life out there for the world to judge me," she added. "I think this is going to be popular forever." 

Popular mukbang Youtube channels: 

So, who are the biggest internet sensations behind the camera of popular mukbang videos?

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Trisha Paytas has made a name for herself in the Youtube circuit, in which she boasts almost 5 million subscribers. The blonde beauty is known for not only eating large amounts of greasy food, but also being conversational throughout the video. Nothing like having a deep conversation with a chicken wing shoved in your mouth. Also, check out her page if you love a good ASMR video.  

Stephanie Soo definitely ranks as one of the top mukbang creators in the world. The Korean Youtuber has gained a huge following for eating videos. She too likes to converse to the camera about her everyday life while eating. So, welcome to the dark hole that is watching mukbang videos for hours. 

And, no need to thank us. You're welcome.

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