Season 10 Episode 6

The Weird and Wonderful World of Mukbanging (?!)

In a world rich in both food and media, is it really a surprise that watching people eat online has gained so much popularity? Today we take a look into the world of Mukbang, tune in to find out where on earth this bizarre phenomenon has come from and all the different benefits it might have. Mukbang has helped alleviate feelings of isolation and also can promote a healthy way of eating – should we all try and embrace the weird and wonderful craze, especially in the current climate?! Do you have any Mukbang experiences you want to share? Are you an avid Mukbanger or is the whole thing a mystery to you? Comment below so we can get chatting.

Best soundbite: “You’re not going to go upstairs and just Mukbang one out!!!” – Jamie Spafford

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Something to make you think...

Originating from South Korea as a means to help solo-diners feel more connected, Mukbang is a massive YouTube craze.

How do you feel about it? Is it actually strange? Or a natural outcome of where our digital world has led us?

What would you like to feast your ears on?
If you want to contribute ideas or want to hear us discuss a particular topic then email us at podcasts@sortedfood.com

20 Comments

  1. Simonheath8@gmail.com

    I cant believe you guys haven’t heard of Mukbang before, Ive known about it for quite a while and thought it was common knowledge. The comment ‘…go upstairs for a crafty Mukbang’ made me howl but my cleaner got quite embarrassed. I think this is your first R rated podcast. If it helps, I dont get Mukbang either….

    • Sorted

      Yup, probably an ‘R’ rated podcast 😂. Your poor cleaner!

  2. ch88

    I’ve never actually watched a mukbang video, as the thumb nails I come across really put me off: I often see pictures of thin women with a mountain of food in front of them, probably several days’ worth of calories. Surely, that can’t be healthy? I can see how those sorts of videos can foster very unhealthy eating habits, especially if someone already has a difficult relationship with food.

    I do see where the trend has come from though, and when I used to live abroad I would sometimes skype someone while I was eating, too, although mostly due to time differences rather than not wanting to eat alone. And rather than resulting to instant noodles or even just bread, when I would have dinner while talking on Skype I used to be more mindful of what I was eating because I knew someone was watching.

    So I absolutely see the positive side of it, especially in the cultural context that you guys provided, however I wonder if mukbang have been hijacked by other communities purely for entertainment purposes and maybe even shock value.

    And the slurping sounds… Probably not for me! I’ve never gone out of my way to listen to these things but I’m OK with that, haha.

  3. Amy

    Listening to this all I could think was “oh god no!” Personally I couldn’t think of anything worse than watching or hearing someone eat. I actively avoid sitting across from one of my friends who tends to eat with her mouth open, it really stresses me out! Even when it over Skype, during lockdown, I Looked away.
    Similarly I would hate to be on camera eating. It is a very odd concept to me.

    • Sorted

      It definitely isn’t for everyone, Mukbanging is a bit like Marmite.

  4. rinzaii973693

    I kinda understand why people watch mukbang although I’ve never watched one. Instead, whenever I’m eating alone at home, I always watch one of Sorted videos. And it would be perfect if what you guys are cooking matches what I am currently eating. It feels like I can really taste the food along with you guys (I know it’s silly) I used to watch netflix during meal time but I can never be sure if there’s gonna be some scenes that are inappropriate to eating or whether I’m gonna enjoy the episode. But with Sorted, I can be sure it’s gonna be enjoyable and revolve around delicious food for sure !

    • Sorted

      Not silly at all, eating what we’re eating is like a 4D experience 🤣

  5. SortedMemes

    Hi fellow peeps!

    New club member here! Hi!

    For me, Mukbangs have literally been the stuff of nightmares. As someone who has suffered from Misophonia my entire life the noise of chewing, slurping and even sharp breaths make me feel so equally angry and upset at the same time. No idea why, it’s like a switch just flips in my head. I have to wear headphones when I have dinner with family and it’s gotten to the point where “yummy noises” irritate the heck out of me.

    I know it sounds extreme, however it is just a part of me and I cant describe it.

    My family love Mukbangs and I do not understand at all why I am like this, however it is, and I’m trying to find different ways to combat this.

    Anyone else?

    • tjmarskbb

      You’re not weird. I know a lot of people that can’t stand to hear others chew….especially foods that are loud to eat like chips.

      • SortedMemes

        I can but if it were to ever get a bit much, at least I can turn you guys down 🤣💕

  6. Taheera

    I agree that listening to the sounds of eating are quite cringy.
    However, weirdly enough, when I am feeling nauseous or just sick with a cold or sore throat, I will watch cooking videos as a distraction while I eat, so that I am focusing on something else rather than the food that I’m trying to eat. So I wonder if there’s something in the psychology of that, in that one is either trying to fill a void that might have been filled with family/friends/partners/housemates or that one is trying to create a distraction from eating or not eating, or building a better relationship with food.

    • Sorted

      That’s a really interesting point, thanks for sharing with us. We get a lot of people who sit down to eat while watching our videos.

  7. Plutobenji623

    I’m from Hong Kong and it’s so normal to go into a tiny, hole in the wall, local restaurant to be seated with several other strangers at a very small, crowded table, so technically, you are literally having an intimate meal like a bowl of noodles or a piece of toast with a milk tea with some strangers sitting directly across you, and there’s no way you can’t watch them eat! A group of four friends and I went to eat at this super local dim sum place, we sat in a table with around 5 others senior citizens, and then they began guessing where we were from, how old we were, and it just turned into a lunch party, but we were all just strangers, eating lunch! It’s a very unique experience, and I’m curious to hear whether Ben or Mike experienced this when they went to Hong Kong!

    • Sorted

      What you’re experiencing is like real life Mukbanging!

  8. tjmarskbb

    For me, I understand why it started. 18 years ago when I lived in South Korea, I wish we had something like this that I could have done with my family and friends instead of just carefully timed (and rare bc cellphones were still a growing thing and a lot of people still didn’t have them) phone calls and emails. The idea that at 19, I could have still found a way to sit down with my parents who were in WI and my sister who was in Texas, and still have a meal would have been amazing.
    I think its great idea for wanting to keep in tough with friends, or if your separated from family, or partner to utilize Skype, FaceTime, zoom, etc… Maybe even a way to chat with new people while dinning alone —BUT—I think it’s only great if it involves two or more people interacting with each other while eating, because to me it’s about the interaction and connection between the people WHILE eating that the origins about….about not being alone and not eating alone Right?
    So….if you are watching MUKBANG videos, you aren’t interacting with that person, your literally just watching someone else eat. You lose the interaction, the socializing, the engagement with another human being. That, to me, would seem like that would have the opposite effect. I would wonder about the psychology of watching MUKBANG videos on social media because I feel like studies would show an increase in depression because your not really interacting with a person, its more like watching a neighborhood picnic–from your window, instead of joining in. ….but that is pure speculation on my part, and I have no sort psychology degree to base that off of, I just wonder, and I could be completely wrong.

    The ASMR food sounds just make me cringe.

    • Sorted

      You’re right, it is about the connection, conversation and interaction while eating. It’s a good way for loved ones and family to still have some sort of weekly meal together.

  9. Sunanda_K

    I don’t like to watch people eat (youtubers take it so far with vast amounts of food or giant versions of food which are gross, really) but our culture (Indian) is also based around eating as a mode of community-building and I 100% understand that eating alone is …. sad. I remember that I was working in city where I knew absolutely no one and I would either put my parents on call or put on a video on during dinnertime so as to not feel too lonely ( spoilers: it didn’t work, and I left that job after a year).
    I agree with Barry wholeheartedly though, there’s something borderline creepy about just watching strangers eat. As for those chewy noises that people make…..no thanksssssss. I get that some people might like it, but it’s cringe territory for me. In every Indian wedding, the photographer tries to get candid pictures of people eating and even that makes me hide.
    Thanks for building a conversation around food, because that actually feels like a community. Jamie’s right about that one. So much better than randomly broadcasting yourself eating!
    Your videos make me hungrier though. It’s a miracle that I haven’t gained weight since I subscribed. Who are these people who are satisfied by watching other people eat?!? And yes, the whole fasting and exercising excessively followed by eating excessively sounds horribly unhealthy. Thankfully, I am genuinely comfortable eating alone now, but a part of what Ben said is true – I did a waste inventory and I do waste more when I am on my own. (Trying to be better on that front).

    • Sorted

      Thanks for sharing your story with us, we’re glad you’re more comfortable eating alone now. There are some Youtubers who do take the giant mounds of food eating too far and it’s just so wasteful and gluttonous.

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