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Revised RomanizationMeokbang
Original word
먹는 放送
Revised RomanizationMeokneun bangsong
McCune–ReischauerMŏngnŭn pangsong

Mukbang, muk-bang or meokbang (/ˈmʌkbæŋ, ˈmʊkbæŋ/; Korean: [mʌk̚.p͈aŋ] (About this soundlisten)) is a live online audiovisual broadcast in which a host eats large amounts of foods while interacting with their audience. Usually done through an internet webcast (such streaming platforms include Afreeca, YouTube, Twitch, etc.), mukbang became popular in South Korea in 2010. Foods ranging from pizza to noodles are consumed in front of a camera for an internet audience (who pay or not, depending on which platform one is watching). Based on the attractiveness of real-time and interactive aspects, eating shows are expanding their influence in Internet broadcasting platforms and serve as a virtual community and a venue for active communication among active Internet users.[1][2][3]


The word mukbang is a portmanteau of the Korean words for "eating" (먹는; meokneun) and "broadcast" (방송; bangsong).[3]


The mukbang Internet culture began on AfreecaTV in 2009.[4] The phenomenon of mukbang was introduced to the Western world after American entertainment duo "The Fine Brothers" created a video which shows the reaction of Western people to mukbang eating contests.[5]

Historical background[edit]

In Korean society, eating behavior goes beyond just survival, but it is closely related to life and culture. Korea has formed a food culture based on traditional health discussions and strict etiquette.[6] Recently, however, the emergence of the dominant food culture in Korea and an Internet eating culture (Mukbang) that deviates from the traditional identity has drawn attention. First introduced on real-time Internet TV, Afreeca TV, now has become a trend in cable channels as well as terrestrial broadcasting. Foreign media are even interested in Korean eating show culture. Another feature of the recent eating show is that it focuses on the attractiveness of the person who makes food and the man who cooks. It is called 'Cookbang'. The reason why eating shows and cooking shows are so popular is that they are based on food that stimulates the basic instincts of humans. Eating and cooking shows are becoming effective programs for broadcasting companies as production costs are lower than reality entertainment programs.[7]

In each broadcast, a host will often interact with their viewers through online chatrooms. With the rising popularity of these eating shows, hosts have found lucrative ways of benefiting from the online show. Many hosts generate revenue through mukbang, by accepting donations or partnering with advertising networks.[3] The popularity of mukbang streams has spread outside of Korea with online streamers doing their own mukbang streams in other countries.[8] Platforms like Twitch even introduced new categories like Social Eating to spotlight them.[9][10]

The British magazine, The Economist, once said that Korean eating shows are popular because of their widespread anxiety and unhappiness in Koreans due to the long-term economic slump. Such popularity has also been introduced in Huffingtonpost and The Wall Street Journal.[11] Recently, there have been many eating shows through ASMR that can satisfy all viewers. As this type of broadcasting became popular worldwide through platforms such as YouTube, the Korean word for eating show "Mukbang" was reproduced as contents of YouTube worldwide.[12]

Reasons for popularity[edit]

There are several explanations given by various scholars. Jeff Yang, an Asian-American cultural critic and senior vice president of the global research firm Kantar Futures, said that mukbang had its origins in "the loneliness of unmarried or uncoupled South Koreans, in addition to the inherently social aspect of eating in South Korea" during the interview with Quartz.[13]

Kim-Hae Jin, Ph.D candidate from Chosun University, argued that one can vicariously satisfy the desire for the food. The hosts, who are referred to broadcast jockeys, interact with the people who are watching the broadcast through chatting. BJs sometimes claim to be the audience's "avatar" and will exactly follow what people ask them to do.[14]

Adema who is studying food contends in her article. "Food television incorporates the vicarious pleasures of watching someone else cook and eat, The emulsion of entertainment and cooking; the jumbling of traditional gender roles and ambivalence toward cultural standards of body, consumption, and health, simultaneously perpetuates the stress of social expectations. "[15]

Cooking show


Other genres of mukbang include "cook-bang" (cooking and eating) shows. [16]

South Korean video game players have sometimes broadcast mukbang as breaks during their overall streams. The popularity of this practice among local users led the video game streaming service to begin trialling a dedicated "Social eating" category in July 2016; a representative of the service stated that this category is not necessarily specific to mukbang, but would leave the concept open to interpretation by streamers within its guidelines.[17]

Logo of platforms

Media platforms[edit]

Afreeca TV[edit]

Afreeca TV was established on 22 April 1996 as the Korea's one-man broadcasting platform company.[18] Afreeca TV, which is based on 'Any Free Casting TV,' is a one-man media outlet that can be easily broadcast live anytime, anywhere, anytime.[19] The typical eating show BJ on Afreeca TV are Bumfrica, Shuki, Mbro, Changhyun, Wangju, etc.[20]


Twitch, which was first introduced in 2011, is a live game company that broadcasts live contents related to games like a live TV sports broadcast. It has 100 million viewers, 1.7 million broadcasting stations and 12,000 broadcasting partners worldwide, and was acquired by Amazon in 2014. Twitch added a new "Social Eating" (Social Eating) item to its channel list in July 2016.[21] Famous streamers include ImAllexx, Ameliabrador, and Simple Life on Air.[22]


YouTube was founded in 2005 by former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim on Valentine’s Day (14 February). Currently, YouTube is the largest video platform online.[23] YouTube was acquired by Google in October 2006 for a ransom of $1.65 billion (approximately 1.8 trillion won).[24] Typical streamers include Benz, Shuki, Dorothy, Yang Soo Bin, and Fran.[25]

Kakao TV[edit]

On 18 February 2017, Kakao TV was created by unifying the service name into 'Kakao TV' by integrating the platform of 'Daum TV Pot' and 'Kakao TV'. It is linked to KakaoTalk, the largest messenger app in Korea. Kakao TV PDs produce and manage videos through 'video station' connected to kakao TV.[26] Typical mukbang kakao TV PDs include Benz, Furmir, Mukdong, and Nado.[27]



Currently, it has 3,080,000 YouTube subscribers and holds the number one spot in the mukbang streamer, which is the number of Korean YouTube subscribers in the top 10. Banzz is a typical icon of mukbang. Banzz has been active in Afreeca TV, including the 2016 Afreeca Grand Prix, but has turned to YouTube for a complete platform after the trouble with Afreeca TV. He has also made a big penalty for breaking contracts with Afreeca TV, and has recently appeared on JTBC's program Lanseon Life, not on the online platform, to demonstrate his popularity. He is famous for eating a huge amount of mukbang, but he still shows a muscular figure in the video, saying he exercises an average of eight hours a day for health.[28] Typical mukbang show include Hongdae monster Jajangmyeon, 10 hamburgers fast-eating, and Jajangmyeon mukbang.[29]


MBRO, stands for Monster Brothers, and is working as a mukbang BJ on African TV and YouTube under the name of Mbro. It was April 2015 that Mbro started broadcasting, and it broadcasts twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays through African TV and YouTube. The number of YouTube subscribers is now over 900,000, ranking second in the BJ popularity ranking in Africa a year after it started broadcasting, and it has emerged as a star of the mukbang industry with the African TV newcomer award.[30]


If other BJs eat a large amount of food, they tend to eat a small amount of it deliciously. She started broadcasting in May 2014 and won the Afreeca TV BJ Festival Rookie of the Year award. Since then, she has won all of the BJ's awards from 2015 to 2017 and is currently No. 1 in the rankings of Afreeca TV eating shows.[31]


He is a BJ with 2.89 million subscribers to YouTube. Two brothers, DK and KD, will be on an eating show. It is especially famous for ASMR broadcasting 'Real Sound'. In general, the food is done by BJ eating food while chatting with viewers in real time. But the real sound is said to be a good thing to eat in a short video of about 20 minutes, especially when you eat food. It is also famous for eating foods that are not common at tables such as sugarcane, aloe, and honey as well as Korean general foods such as chicken, tteokbokki.[32]

Yuka Kinoshita[edit]

Yuuka Kinoshita is a YouTuber who works in Japan. The main content is Muk-bang. She made her debut in the 2009 Japan Eating Contest, and since 2014 she has started her own Muk-bang on her YouTube channel.[33]


In July 2018, the South Korean government announced that it would create and regulate the "mukbang" guidelines by launching the "National Obesity Management Comprehensive Measures". It was to establish guidelines for mukbang because it could cause binge eating and harm the public health. As the 'mukbang' has become explosively popular on the broadcasting and the Internet, the news of the establishment of the guideline has been announced. The Ministry of Health and Welfare, which announced the measures, was protesting, and the public opinion on the Blue house petition board was also raised. There were about 40 petitions against mukbang regulations, such as 'there is no connection between mukbang and binge eating' and 'why the government infringes on individual freedom'. In particular, 'Mukbang' has become a 'Korean wave' sold abroad, and it has been pointed out that the government is blocking the export route.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cha, Frances (2 February 2014). "South Korea's online trend: Paying to watch a pretty girl eat". CNN. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  2. ^ Hu, Elise (24 March 2015). "Koreans Have An Insatiable Appetite For Watching Strangers Binge Eat". NPR. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Evans, Stephen (5 February 2014). "The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner". BBC. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  4. ^ "우리나라 최초의 '먹방'을 아세요?" [Do you know the first mukbang in Korea?]. 한국일보 (in Korean). Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. ^ Gibbs, Alexandra (2015-05-05). "Koreans become stars by live-streaming dinner". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  6. ^ 박소정; 홍석경 (2016). "미디어 문화 속 먹방과 헤게모니 과정" [Mukbang and Hegemony Process in Media Culture]. 언론과 사회 (in Korean). 24 (1): 105–150. ISSN 1228-954X.
  7. ^ "[Culture & Biz] 대한민국 왜 '먹방'에 열광하나" [Why is Korea so crazy about eating show?]. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  8. ^ BOGLE, ARIEL (2016). "No vomiting allowed on Twitch's new social eating channel".
  9. ^
  10. ^ Jones, Brad (2016). "Twitch Viewers Can Now Watch People Eat". Gamerant.
  11. ^ "The food-show craze". The Economist. 2015-06-27. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  12. ^ 종선, 함 (2018-07-25). "라면 먹방 연 수입 10억" [1 billion won in annual income of ramen noodles]. 중앙일보 (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  13. ^ Why some Koreans make $10,000 a month to eat on camera,
  14. ^ Kim (김), Hye Jin (혜진) (2015). "문화학 : 하위문화로서의 푸드 포르노(Food Porn) 연구 - 아프리카TV의 인터넷 먹방을 중심으로 -" [A Study on Food Porn as a Sub-Culture - Centering on Internet "Meokbang" (eating scene) in Afreeca TV -]. 인문학연구 (in Korean). 50 (0): 433–455. ISSN 1598-9259 – via RISS.
  15. ^ Adema, Pauline. "Vicarious consumption: Food, television and the ambiguity of modernity." The Journal of American Culture 23.3 (2000): 113.
  16. ^ 문종환 (Nov 2017). "TV를 삼킨 먹방 & 쿡방 열풍이 불편한 이유" [Why the A and B craze that swallowed TV is uncomfortable?]. 건강다이제스트.
  17. ^ "Why eating and gaming is a thing on Twitch". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  18. ^ "주식회사 아프리카TV 회사개요" [Overview of Afreeca TV Company]. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  19. ^ "아프리카TV 서비스 소개" [Introduction of afreeca TV]. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  20. ^ "아프리카TV 먹방 BJ 랭킹" [Afreeca TV mukbang bj ranking]. Afreeca TV.
  21. ^ 예린, 김. "게임 생방송 플랫폼 트위치서 '먹방' 채널 등장" [Game Live Platform Twitch updated 'Mukbang' Channel]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  22. ^ "트위치 먹방 카테고리 순위" [Twitch mukbang Category Ranking]. Twitchmetrics.
  23. ^ 수연, 이. "구글, 유투브 인수 10년 '동영상 역사를 바꿨다'" [Google, youtube acquisition 10 years, "changed video history."]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  24. ^ 현철, 박 (2018-08-18). "디지털세대 '양부모' 된 유튜브, 우린 '갓튜브 제국'에 산다" [Youtube, a digital generation 'sweet parents,' we live in 'God Tube Empire']. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  25. ^ "유튜브 한국 채널랭킹 정보" [YouTube Korea Channel Ranking Information]. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  26. ^ 반석, 채 (2017-02-17). "Kakao TV launches & Integrated" [카카오TV 출시 및 통합]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  27. ^ "카카오TV" [Kakao TV]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  28. ^ "[유튜버 파헤치기] '자기관리 甲' 먹방계의 유재석 '밴쯔'" [Best self-management BJ]. 데일리팝 (in Korean). 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  29. ^ "YouTube". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  30. ^ 경리, 서. "[톱클래스] 먹방 BJ 엠브로 이동현씨가 '대왕카스테라' 검증에 나선 이유" [[Top Class] Why BJ MBRO Dong Hyun is in the process of verifying 'Great King Castella']. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  31. ^ "Afreeca TV Mukbang rankings".
  32. ^ 입력 2017.10.26 21:19 (2017-10-26). "한국에서 가장 유명한 '먹방' TOP5" [TOP 5 Mukbang BJ in Korea]. 중앙일보 (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  33. ^ ASCII. "芸能事務所をやめてYouTuberになった理由 大食いタレント木下ゆうか" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2016-07-13.
  34. ^ 동희, 한 (2018-07-29). "해외선 'mukbang'(먹방)은 고유명사..'먹방 규제' 놓고 시끌" [The foreign line 'mukbang' (Yoobang) is a proper noun...]. (in Korean). Retrieved 2018-12-10.