Mukbang: Social Eating

A man sits for lunch and takes out six hamburgers, 30 onion rings, 20 chicken nuggets, and 6 servings of french fries from the McDonald’s bag. He begins eating, but what’s even odder about this scenario is that anyone can watch him eat this vast amount of food online. He shares his broadcasts on a Korean website called ‘African TV’ or Youtube.  

While enjoying the meal, the man, Mansu Jung, informs his viewers what kind of menu he chose, and the reason for his decision. He also replies to the questions being commented on in his video. It actually looks like he’s Skyping with his friends.

Be that as it may, Mansu Jung is a part of a new ‘social eating’ online phenomenon known as mukbang. This is when individuals share recordings of themselves consuming large amounts of food on camera and just basically talk about their life. Mukbang began in South Korea, where the word means “eating broadcasts”. This peculiar trend started in 2014, but since then, it has spread around the world.  By doing something different, like eating a great amount food or trying special menus that others wouldn’t attempt to, would definitely attract more viewers, or ‘online friends’ they can talk to. For example, Mansu Jung has once tried eating a whole pig’s foot. This episode had a total of 1,180,335 views, which is marked as his highest record.

This form of social eating appears as individuals interface with each other during busy times. Today, we live in a society where it’s really hard to make time to sit with somebody and enjoy a nice meal together. However, mukbang allows people to have someone to talk to while having  breakfast, lunch or dinner. It reduces the loneliness and silence one would sadly have.

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