Mukbang: Forget the big eating contests

The mukbang phenomenon originated in South Korea around 2010 and consists of a person recording themselves eating huge amounts of food. They are extremely popular videos, with millions and millions of views. Zach Choi, one of the most famous mukbangers, has more than 20 million subscribers.

What kind of food do they eat?

Mukbangers eat everything: ramen, fast food (KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell), sweets, seafood, Cheetos with melted cheese, lasagna, hot dogs, Nutella on bread, etc. The calories they consume can range from 4,000 to over 10,000.

There are mukbangers of all types: those who prefer to remain silent, those who describe their feelings, those who tell stories to entertain (even true crimes), and those who give advice or cooking recipes.

Why is it a hobby for so many to watch these types of videos?

The viewers of these videos are usually food lovers, therefore, it is a way to enjoy food through them and to feel kinship. Also, it must be said that there is a certain morbid fascination to watching someone else eat so much. And to the surprise of some, not all mukbangers are overweight, many of them are even thin and perform several hours of intense exercise to stay that way (in addition to keeping up their metabolism).

Of course, this activity doesn’t come without criticism. The lives of many mukbangers have been negatively affected. It can be triggering for people prone to eating disorders (although, curiously, many say the opposite, that it calms their anxiety). The excessive intake of food has also been criticized, as well as the waste they generate from all the packaging. Experts say that the future certainly holds health consequences for those who take part in this practice.

While many find it a disgusting activity, others await their lunch hour to accompany it with the latest mukbang. There’s always something for everyone, and no accounting for taste.

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