|Revised Romanization||Meongneun bangsong|
Mukbang, muk-bang or meokbang (//; Korean: [mʌk̚.p͈aŋ] (listen)) is a live online audiovisual broadcast in which a host eats food while interacting with their audience. Usually done through a 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 online 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.
The word mukbang is a portmanteau of the Korean words for "eating" (먹는; meongneun) and "broadcast" (방송; bangsong). It can be morphologically compared to eatcast, if that word were to exist in English.
In Korean society, eating behavior goes beyond just survival, closely related to life and culture. Korea has formed a food culture based on traditional health discussions and strict etiquette. 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 service Afreeca TV in 2009, it 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 this form of programming is an emphasis on the attractiveness of the person who prepares food. 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.
In each broadcast, a host will interact with their viewers through online chat rooms. 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. The popularity of mukbang streams has spread outside of Korea with online streamers doing their own mukbang streams in other countries. Platforms like Twitch even introduced new categories like “social eating” to spotlight them.
In the British magazine The Economist, it was once said that Korean eating shows are popular because of widespread anxiety and unhappiness in Koreans due to the long-term economic slump. Such popularity has also been introduced in the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal. 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 widely adopted.
Reasons for popularity
Kim-Hae Jin, doctoral candidate from Chosun University, argued that one can vicariously satisfy the desire for food by viewing. The hosts, who are referred to as 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.
"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 [the] ambivalence toward cultural standards of body, consumption, and health, simultaneously perpetuates the stress of social expectations. "
Other genres of mukbang include "cook-bang" (cooking and eating) shows.
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 Twitch 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.
The typical eating show BJ on Afreeca TV are Bumfrica, Shuki, Mbro, Changhyun, Wangju, etc.
Typical streamers include Banzz, Shuki, Dorothy, Yang Soo Bin, and Fran.
Banzz currently has 3,080,000 YouTube subscribers and holds the number one spot among the mukbang streamers. 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 as his platform after the trouble with Afreeca TV. He has also received a larger 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 huge amounts of food during mukbangs, but he still shows a muscular figure in the videos, saying he exercises an average of eight hours a day for health. His mukbang show includes Hongdae monster Jajangmyeon, 10 hamburgers fast-eating, and Jajangmyeon mukbang.
MBRO, stands for Monster Brothers, and is working as a mukbang BJ on Afreeca 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 Afreeca TV and YouTube. The number of YouTube subscribers is now over 900,000, ranking second in the BJ popularity ranking in Afreeca TV a year after it started broadcasting, and it has emerged as a star of the mukbang industry with the Afreeca TV newcomer award.
Shugi broadcasts most nights of the week. Her trademark is rapidly eating up to four spicy rice cakes in a single mouthful. 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 second place in the rankings of Afreeca TV's eating shows.
DKD, consisting of the brothers DK and KD, is a channel with 2.89 million subscribers on YouTube. 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.
Yuka Kinoshita is a YouTuber who works in Japan with 5.15 million subscribers. Known as a "big eater" or "oogui", she uploads daily Muk-bang videos where she consumes large portions of food. She made her debut in the 2009 Japan Eating Contest, and since 2014 she has started her own Muk-bang on her YouTube channel.
Several American YouTubers have become popular with their version of mukbang. The concept is similar with an online audiovisual broadcast in which a host eats large amounts of food while interacting with their audience. However, the amounts of food are even larger than most of their Asian counterparts.
Nikocado Avocado and Stephanie Soo each have close to two million subscribers and there are other popular western mukbang channels on YouTube.
In July 2018, the South Korean government announced that it would create and regulate 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. The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced the measures. Criticisms were levied against the ministry: the Blue House petition board received about 40 petitions against mukbang regulations, which maintained arguments such as "there is no correlation between mukbang and binge eating" and "the government is infringing on individual freedom." 
- Cha, Frances (2 February 2014). "South Korea's online trend: Paying to watch a pretty girl eat". CNN. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Hu, Elise (24 March 2015). "Koreans Have An Insatiable Appetite For Watching Strangers Binge Eat". NPR. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Evans, Stephen (5 February 2014). "The Koreans who televise themselves eating dinner". BBC. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- 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.
- "[Culture & Biz] 대한민국 왜 '먹방'에 열광하나" [Why is Korea so crazy about eating show?]. www.economyinsight.co.kr. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- BOGLE, ARIEL (2016). "No vomiting allowed on Twitch's new social eating channel".
- Jones, Brad (2016). "Twitch Viewers Can Now Watch People Eat". Gamerant.
- "The food-show craze". The Economist. 27 June 2015. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- 종선, 함 (25 July 2018). "라면 먹방 연 수입 10억" [1 billion won in annual income of ramen noodles]. 중앙일보 (in Korean). Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- 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: 433–455. ISSN 1598-9259 – via RISS.
- Adema, Pauline. "Vicarious consumption: Food, television and the ambiguity of modernity." The Journal of American Culture 23.3 (2000): 113.
- 문종환 (November 2017). "TV를 삼킨 먹방 & 쿡방 열풍이 불편한 이유" [Why the A and B craze that swallowed TV is uncomfortable?]. 건강다이제스트.
- "Why eating and gaming is a thing on Twitch". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- "아프리카TV 먹방 BJ 랭킹" [Afreeca TV mukbang bj ranking]. Afreeca TV.
- 예린, 김. "게임 생방송 플랫폼 트위치서 '먹방' 채널 등장" [Game Live Platform Twitch updated 'Mukbang' Channel]. mk.co.kr (in Korean). Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "트위치 먹방 카테고리 순위" [Twitch mukbang Category Ranking]. Twitchmetrics.
- "유튜브 한국 채널랭킹 정보" [YouTube Korea Channel Ranking Information]. cchart.xyz. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "[유튜버 파헤치기] '자기관리 甲' 먹방계의 유재석 '밴쯔'" [Best self-management BJ]. 데일리팝 (in Korean). 7 August 2018. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- 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']. news.chosun.com (in Korean). Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "FoodTube: Why are people producing – and devouring – food broadcasts?". The Globe And Mail. NATALYA ANDERSON. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
- "Afreeca TV Mukbang rankings".
- 입력 2017.10.26 21:19 (26 October 2017). "한국에서 가장 유명한 '먹방' TOP5" [TOP 5 Mukbang BJ in Korea]. 중앙일보 (in Korean). Retrieved 12 December 2018.
- 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 13 July 2016.
- 동희, 한 (29 July 2018). "해외선 'mukbang'(먹방)은 고유명사..'먹방 규제' 놓고 시끌" [The foreign line 'mukbang' (Yoobang) is a proper noun...]. news.chosun.com (in Korean). Retrieved 10 December 2018.