Mukbang is a mix of the Korean words ‘Mukja’ which translates to ‘let’s eat’ and ‘Bang Song’ translating as ‘broadcast’. In a mukbang, people eat various amounts of food in either pre-recorded videos or in live streams where they will interact with their audience. This trend has grown to the point where Korean mukbang-ers are able to earn a living on livestreaming platforms such as AfreecaTV thanks to the donations that viewers often give to show their support.
The mukbang trend originates from the social aspect of Korean eating culture. In Korean culture, the meals generally include one big communal dish for all to tuck in. In addition to the large communal dish, meals in Korean restaurants are unique because they also include ‘banchan’ (side dishes), which are complimentary. This is because meals in Korea are based on sharing everything on the table as opposed to having your own plate of food.
Because eating is valued as a largely social practice in Korea, it is not common for people to go out for a meal alone. As a result, mukbang became popularized as a way to have someone to eat with when you’re by yourself but still want to be social. This allows people to enjoy the company of another person as they eat food while chatting to the mukbang-er, if the latter is live streaming.
Nowadays, mukbang is a phenomenon that people around the world are partaking in. These videos have become incredibly popular on platforms such as Youtube and Twitch. Additionally, because of its Korean roots, foreign mukbangers are even creating content revolving around eating Korean food, introducing the cuisine and culture to people who might not have known about it otherwise!
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