Mukbang - Eat Until You Can't Breath While Viewers Can't Stop Watching

Chandran |May 12, 2020

"Mukbang" is a term hailed from South Korea referring to live-streaming of your usually-large meal to an online audience. Mukbang is a career to many thanks to the human's mind fascination over others' eating habits and exotic food.

What is Mukbang?

Bijan - a YouTuber with a thick Bengali accent, is showing us a table full of food. They include Cabbage pakodas, tandoori chicken, various kinds of curry,… What is he doing? Is he preparing for a family reunion meal? Is this his birthday and 10 people are invited for dinner? NO.

The food is just for him, and he’s going to eat them all in one sitting. The clip is only of him sitting while eating that shocking amount of food. No verbal exchanges were present. However, the clip still managed to gather almost 5 million views against the long run-time of 16 minutes. The popular Tripura native posted on his Youtube channel dedicated to “mukbang” clips. The term “Mukbang” is Korean referring to a trend of filming yourself eating while broadcasting the process.

Mukbang 1
Mukbang turned Bijan into an Internet sensation.

How Mukbang entered the Indian market

According to Google trend’s India index, a year ago, searches for Mukbang was only one-third of the current figure. And Bijan is a "mukbanger" who took up the internet career while studying to become a teacher. Despite his huge popularity, Bijan is far from the position of most-watched Mukbanger in India.

That title belongs to Sabari Kumar and his father, who jointly run the Youtube channel named Saapattu Raman. The format of those videos is quite similar, usually features an obnoxiously large amount of food being displayed nicely and sumptuously before the father-son duo devour them to the last bite. The naming scheme of their video is quite straight-forward - usually the kind of food and its quantity. For example, some of his clips are named “9 Plate White Rice And Fish Gravy” or “5kg Mutton Eating Challenge”.

Mukbang in India 1
The father-son duo's popular mutton-eating challenge.

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Talking about the motivation that made him became a Mukbanger, Bijan's answer is straight-forward. He said that he first started going it because he needed money. His clips collectively gathered over 83 million views. They have their own unique appeal - the crunching sound, the echoing after each gulp of soda,… they all have their own fans - people who like hearing those appetite-inducing sound. He also added:

"By watching our videos, people enjoy attractive food they can't eat — maybe because of compulsions or other reasons," 

Bijan’s observation is backed up by a Mukbang fan who goes by the name of Ayutansh Singh, an engineer hailed from Lucknow. He says that Mukbang videos help him to tame his craving for food just by watching others eat. Kumar of Saapattu Raman, revealed that due to Mukbang’s increasing popularity, he can make as high as 3,000 USD per month from ad revenues. Furthermore, his channel enjoys fame beyond India’s borders, by having decent fanbases in Singapore, Malaysia, and even, the U.S.

Mukbang in India 3
Originated in South Korea, Mukbang has become worldwide mainstream.

Why People Love Watching Others Eat?

To professionally analyze the mentality of people who enjoy watching others eat, let’s look at examples of other food-related activities.

Hot-dog eating contests for example. Contestants bury their face in trays filled with heaps of this meaty, sauce-drenched food while the audience cheers them on. Some even bet on who’s going to win and some of them can get excited when someone can’t hold it in and vomit. However, hog-dog eating contests are still a tame example.

Many viewers even find enjoyment in smelly-food eating contests such as Fear Factory or Epic Meal Time, both of which are available on Youtube. What viewers expect to get from Mukbang videos are the answers to the following questions:

  • Can they eat another bite?
  • I wonder if they’re going to throw up?
  • How do they even do that?
Mukbang in India 4
Some Mukbangers intentionally make a mess out of their food.

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However, Mukbang has become a competitive market. In order to attract viewers, Mukbangers must come up with something that would set them apart. Some dress provocatively, some intentionally eat messily, some only eat most-request food voted by their paying, premium viewers,…

At the end of the day, what they all have in common are seemingly limitless stomachs, the creativity about what to film, and a hunger for food and fame.

For more interesting articles like this, visit us at Starbiz regularly! Cheers!!

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