The News Lens
By: Story Lab@Heep Yunn School, tutored by Joyce Li
While spectacular online eating shows – ‘mukbangs’ – are wildly popular around the world and bring fame to the super eaters, some find them unbearable and have decided to quit.
Part 1: The pleasure of mukbang
The camera switches to close-up shots, focused on the host, just as she takes in a spoonful of cheesy pasta from the gigantic plate in front of her. The next second, her eyes become wide-open, and she enthusiastically praises the food – the cheesy texture, the glutinous tenacity, and the stunning sauces. Off the screen, millions of viewers around the world watch the video through their mobile phones or computers, enjoying the vicarious pleasure of eating a big bowl of calorie-rich mac and cheese.
These online eating shows are called “mukbangs,” which combines the Korean words for eat (muok-da) and broadcast (bang song). They first appeared in South Korea in 2008. The shows usually feature a single broadcasting jockey (or mukbanger), stationed at their own home (or in a restaurant), consuming a massive amount of food, as many as 100 hamburgers, 100 pieces of cheese toast, 10 gigantic bowls of ramen…all in front of the camera. Bizarre as it seems, mukbangs have become hugely popular across cultures outside South Korea – including Taiwan, Japan and the United States.
Millions of followers have subscribed to the YouTube channels of top mukbang stars like Banzz (of South Korea), Yuka Kinoshita (Japan) and Chien-Chien (Taiwan). During Lunar New Year, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) co-hosted short videos with five famous YouTubers in Taiwan, including the famous mukbanger Chien Chien. The mayor even shared the massive New Year dish with Chien Chien in the video (below, subtitled in English).
The road to mukbang
As a food heaven notable for its street food like braised pork rice and the oyster omelette, Taiwan has begun to feel the mukbang heat. Local mukbangers, like Chien-Chien from the YouTube channel “Chien’s Eating” (千千進食中) and A-May from “The Gobbler” (貪食人) have emerged in the Taiwan online scene. [FULL STORY]