There is this unusual social media trend going on these days called ‘mukbang’ wherein people take videos of themselves eating inordinate amounts of food in a single sitting. Of course, a lot of people add some substance and flair to these videos by talking about whatever they want to the camera as they devour the food in front of them.
There are many people who are actually making a fortune online as a result of this fad. Some YouTubers are reported to be earning as much as $10,000 a month from such content.
A couple of Australian women have joined in on the social media craze and are really raking in the big bucks because of their mukbang videos. Tannar Eacott, a 23-year-old Australian woman, has already racked up more than half a million views on a 20-minute video of her eating various fast food items such as burgers, chicken nuggets, French fries, and more.
‘Is it weird to say food turns me on?’ she asked in the middle of her YouTube video.
Eacott, who daytimes as a photographer, now has 300,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel. Over the course of her popular video, she talks about herself and her love for food.
‘Food is everything,’ she proudly exclaims.
But it’s not all just fun and games. Tannar, a native of Gosford in New South Wales, showed substantial difficulty in trying to finish her humungous plate of food.
‘I feel like for a small person, I’ve done okay,’ defended Eacott.
‘This food isn’t going to waste, I’m putting it in the fridge, I’m eating it at dinner… I just want to apologize to the girls at KFC, I’ve given it my best go, I don’t know how much more I can fit in. I’m feeling very defeated. I’ve had three nuggets, a whole thing of popcorn chicken, a few chips, a few bites of drumstick, half a burger, one tender. Girl is full… I regret nothing.’
Tannar is only one of the hundreds of thousands of people on the internet who have taken part in the trend. It might seem like such an unusual activity for a lot of people who are only starting to be exposed to it. But it really is a growing craze and it shows no signs of stopping.
The word ‘mukbang’ actually got its roots from the South Korean word ‘meok-bang’ which roughly translates to ‘broadcast eating’.
In these videos, the subjects usually spend multiple hours just stationed in front of a camera that is broadcasting their dining experience – often depicting large amounts of food that could feed an entire family.
The money that these people earn from their videos is usually coming from advertisements, sponsorships, and donations from admirers and fans.
There are no limitations as to why kind of food people might be eating in a mukbang video. They can range from delicious comfort food from famous fast-food chains to plain home-cooked meals.
Back in 2013, a woman from Seoul in Korea named Park Seo-yeon quit her day job just so that she could devote all of her time and effort on her mukbang videos. As a result, she was earning more than $10,000 a month from advertising and donations. It turns out that she knew exactly what she was doing.
In 2016, a Korean woman who goes by the name of BJ Fitness Fairy, was earning up to $4,000 a week for her mukbang broadcasts. She had talked about having to exercise around five hours a day just so she could maintain her trim figure.
A recent investigation by Dateline showed that the trend wasn’t just simply a mode for making money, but rather, it might also be a symptom of loneliness.
A mukbang enthusiast named Champ Yang has said that a rapid economic decline and increase in unemployment has rendered many Koreans to settle for eating and cooking alone.
‘In single homes, single households, they have to cook by themselves, so they feel lonely sometimes,’ he mentioned to Dateline in 2015.
‘When they watch cookbang and mukbang, they feel comforted. Food is a kind of escape from real life. That food is healing for us.’