The Korean Mukbang and Food ASMR Explained

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Would you watch Korean Mukbang?

If you recently stumbled upon videos of people eating in front of the camera and wondered why the heck would anyone watch this, that’s Korean Mukbang for you. So okay, it’s just like hosing an eating show that may or may not involve a huge amount of food – no biggie. But then it gets weirder because there are also videos of the people just eating loudly on camera without saying anything!

What’s the story behind this phenomenon and why do people do this? How old is this craze? Trust me you’d be surprised.

that’s Korean mukbang for you and food ASMR. A craze that is a little out there, this phenomenon has been around since the 2010s.

Korean Mukbang

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Picture of HONG SOUND on Youtube

What does Korean Mukbang mean? The word muk actually means “to eat”, and bang comes from bangsong which mean “broadcasting”. So when you put muk and bang together, an eating show is born. At first, there were a few misconceptions that mukbang started out of loneliness, but that is not really the case. When doing mukbang, you eat as though your food is the most delicious meal on earth. You slurp, crunch and almost exaggerate how much you’re enjoying your meal while conversing as though you’re sitting and eating alongside with your viewers. Communal eating is an important thing in Asian families, and mukbang allows you to do so.

However, viewers are hooked because it is a sensory experience for them. They enjoy watching you crunch through crispy fried chicken, slurp spicy noodles and do a cheese pull. So not only does your food need to be visually appealing (whether in terms of quality or quantity), the right sound effects of you enjoying your meal is also important. Believe it or not, the sounds you make while eating will tell your viewers just how delicious your meal is. By doing so you ensure that they get the “full experience” from watching you eat!

So what about those who just eat loudly?

That would be food ASMR for you. ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It is like a sense of euphoria or happiness that usually comes from an auditory or visual stimulus. In this case, it is food.

So Food ASMR videos are all about the sound and visual effects. Think cameras that zoom in on the food and condenser mics that pick up every crunch, slurp and even that swallowing sound that you make when you’re salivating too much. The host does not bother with petty talk, in fact, some remain silent throughout the entire video. They are more concerned about providing extra-realistic sound quality and crisp clear sounds of them eating. But after watching several food ASMR videos, I decided I had enough.

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Picture of KEEMI on Youtube

Thoughts on Korean Mukbang and Food ASMR

Every individual would have their own reasons as to why a show like this would appeal to them. Perhaps they find pleasure in watching someone else indulge in large quantities of food in a way they can never experience. Or maybe it is the type of food? Who knows, it could even be loneliness.

Unfortunately, not all mukbangs portray food in a positive way. In bids for more viewers and fans, there are hosts who binge eat, and in worse case scenarios, even throw up during broadcasting. It is unhealthy and unpleasant to watch.

But as times change and life becomes more fast-paced and work oriented, more and more people are having to leave their families to earn a living. For some, watching mukbang might be the only way to have some semblance of a norm. However, one man’s meat could be another man’s poison – ultimately as viewers, you decide.

 

Lead and Feature images are taken from YouTube