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Muk-bang video.jpg
A thumbnail for a South Korean muk-bang YouTube video
Revised Romanization Meokbang
McCune–Reischauer Mŏkpang
IPA [mʌk̚.p͈aŋ]
Word origin
Hangul 먹는 방송
Hanja 먹는 放送
Revised Romanization Meogneun bangsong
McCune–Reischauer Mŏngnŭn pangsong
IPA [mʌŋ.nɯn.baŋ.soŋ]

Mukbang [mʌk̚.p͈aŋ] (or muk-bang) is an 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), mukbang became popular in South Korea in the 2010s.[1][2][3] 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).

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 word mukbang is a portmanteau of the Korean words for "eating" (먹는; meokneun) and "broadcast" (방송; bangsong).[4][5]


Other genres of mukbang include "cook-bang" (cooking and eating) shows. [6]

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.[7]


The mukbang Internet culture began on AfreecaTV in 2009.[8]

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.[9]

Kim-Hae Jin, Ph.D candidate from Chosun University, argued that one can vicariously satisfy the desire for the food. The hosts, who call themselves BJs (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.[10]

Adema 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, and sprinkles sexual innuendos in a venue traditionally associated with maternal security."[11]

Eventually mukbangs made their way onto ASMR channels with a close microphone emphasizing the slurping and chewing noises.[citation needed]

Other media platforms[edit]

The popularity of mukbang has inspired different variations and adaptions of the "Eating Broadcasting" concept. This trend has continued to gain viewers, create stars, and profit, catching the interest of mainstream media both domestically and internationally. In South Korea, there was a drama called Let's Eat (Hangul: 식사를 합시다; RR: Siksyareul Habsida) that focused on people who were brought together due to their love of food. In the drama, the characters explore various restaurants and after each episode, the featured foods became a hot topic among young adult viewers. Viewers sought out these restaurants.[12]

Broadcasting stations are looking to capitalize on this interest in other ways as well. Happy Together, a popular entertainment show in South Korea, has a segment where their celebrity guests will cook and then share their favorite dishes with the rest of the cast.[13] JTBC, a South Korean general cable TV network is also looking to jump on the bandwagon with a new variety show in the works. They are planning on a food-centric variety show called Girls Who Eat Well and are looking to cast girl group members from popular South Korean K-pop girl groups.[14] Popular South Korean variety series Infinite Challenge has also showcased the phenomenon.[15]

Mainstream media is not the only platform to showcase mukbang. For example, celebrities have done mukbang broadcasts as a CF to promote a food brand.[16]

Mukbang has also gained international interest as well. The popular YouTube series, Youtubers React, showed various YouTube stars reacting to the South Korean trend and ended with their own mini mukbang show.[citation needed]

Prominent broadcasters[edit]

BJ The Diva[edit]

Park Seo-yeon is known to have been the highest earning Broadcast Jockey to date. She earned an estimated $9,300 a month from her fans' and viewers' donations in 2014.[17] Her broadcast videos can be found on AfreecaTV and YouTube. A CNN segment featuring her drew more attention towards the South Korean phenomenon of mukbang.

BJ Fitness Fairy[edit]

BJ Fitness Fairy was a former physique builder who became interested in the phenomenon of sitting in front of a camera and eating, broadcasting to many people online. She streams on AfreecaTV and spends several hours eating and communicating with her fans and viewers, earning about $4000 a week. BJ Fitness Fairy spends several hours exercising to keep up her physique.[18]

BJ Hyo-Jjang[edit]

BJ Hyo-Jjang's real name is Kim Hyo Jin, and she is a broadcaster that is watched by over 100 viewers. Before she began this phenomenon of a mukbang, she was a translator. As she started recording herself eating, she decided to become a full-time mukbang star. She plans to continue broadcasting as long as she has captive viewers.[19]

BJ Patoo[edit]

BJ Patoo is a 14-year-old broadcaster who makes an estimated $1,500 a night.[20]

Yang Soobin[edit]

Yang Soobin (Hangul: 양수빈; born October 17, 1994) is a South Korean influencer known best for her food broadcast, Mukbang. She has 2.4M fans on her Facebook page. Her collaboration with KFC Thailand resulted in 4.9M views (and counting).[21] She received much popularity especially in South East Asian countries. Her Mukbang post weekly reach is 12M on average. She has also starred in a couple of TV series.[22]

Banzz (벤쯔)[edit]

A male mukbang broadcaster with more than a half billion views on YouTube.[23]


  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 Evans, Stephen (5 February 2014). "The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner". BBC. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  4. ^ 우리는 왜 '먹방'과의 사랑에 빠진 걸까? [I Wonder Why we Fell in Love with "Muk-Bang"?]. The Korea Herald (in Korean). 26 April 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Meok-Bang Trend In South Korea Turns Binge Eating Into Spectator Sport". The Huffington Post. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "TV를 삼킨 먹방 & 쿡방 열풍이 불편한 이유". 
  7. ^ "Why eating and gaming is a thing on Twitch". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "우리나라 최초의 '먹방'을 아세요?". 한국일보 (in Korean). Retrieved 26 April 2017. 
  9. ^ Why some Koreans make $10,000 a month to eat on camera,
  10. ^ 김혜진, 하위문화로서의 푸드 포르노 (Food Porn) 연구 - 아프리카TV의 인터넷 먹방을 중심으로 -
  11. ^ Adema, Pauline. "Vicarious consumption: Food, television and the ambiguity of modernity." The Journal of American Culture 23.3 (2000): 113.
  12. ^ (14 February 2014). ""Let's Eat" Drama Creates Appetizing Dining Trend Among Singles". 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Zertuche, K. (1 May 2016). "JTBC Announces A New Mukbang Show Featuring Girl Group Members". 
  15. ^ (10 November 2015). "'Infinite Challenge' Jung Joon Ha and Haha Develop A Muk-bang Tour". 
  16. ^ "KARA's Youngji has the cutest 'mukbang' show for 'Popeyes' -". 
  17. ^ Yu, Kaila. "Park Seo-Yeon The Diva │ Star of Food Binge Festicism in South Korea". smcontributer. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  19. ^ Choi, Jiwon. "South Korea's Passion for Watching Strangers Eat Goes Mainstream". abc News. 
  20. ^ "Top 8 Mukbang Online Streamers on AfreecaTV -". 
  21. ^ "Eat everything! We eat what we talk to 'Yang Subin' SNS star. "Eat everything until there is something delicious to eat."". 2017-02-14. 
  22. ^ "beauty plus". 
  23. ^ "This Korean Food Phenomenon Is Changing the Internet".