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What Is Mukbang and ASMR? Effects Of This Social Media Trend

In the vast realm of internet culture, new terms and trends emerge regularly, reshaping how we interact and share content online. If you aren’t someone who spends a lot of time online, and on social media in particular, you may be surprised to learn how many new words have joined the common lexicon, due to their explosion of popularity on the social media scene.

One such fascinating term is "mukbang," a phenomenon that has taken the digital world by storm. In this blog, we'll explore what mukbang is - its origins, its popularity, who uses it, and whether there are any negative connotations associated with it.

What is mukbang? Mukbang meaning

Mukbang is a term that originated in South Korea and is a portmanteau of two Korean words: "mukja" (eating) and "bangsong" (broadcast). It refers to a form of online content where individuals, often referred to as "broadcasters" or "streamers," eat copious amounts of food while interacting with their audience through live streaming or pre-recorded videos.

The trend began gaining traction around the early 2010s. Its popularity can be attributed to a combination of factors, including the rise of internet connectivity, the allure of communal dining experiences, and the growth of social media platforms. But the concept goes beyond mere eating - it's a performance that centers around sharing a meal with viewers, fostering a sense of connection and companionship.

Who invented mukbang?

The exact originator of the term "mukbang" is not known, but its popularity has grown organically as people worldwide have embraced this concept and started creating their own mukbang content. Over time, mukbang has expanded beyond South Korea's borders and gained international recognition through various online platforms.

What is a mukbang video?

Mukbang has gained immense popularity across various social media platforms, particularly on video-sharing sites like YouTube, Twitch, and platforms that support live streaming. Creators engage with their audience in real-time, responding to comments, questions, and suggestions while enjoying their meals. The content has evolved to include a range of foods, from traditional to exotic, and even challenges like attempting to eat enormous food quantities, or a certain amount of food within a particular time frame.

The concept of mukbang is used by a diverse group of individuals. Content creators include people from different walks of life, such as food enthusiasts, social media influencers, chefs, and ordinary individuals who have a passion for eating and sharing their dining experiences. The content appeals to audiences of all ages, from those seeking entertainment to those intrigued by various cuisines and eating habits.

Is mukbang dangerous? The pros and cons of mukbang

Mukbang has both positive and negative connotations associated with it. The positive aspects include:

  • Community building: Mukbang creates a sense of community as viewers join the broadcaster in a virtual meal, fostering connections across geographical boundaries.
  • Cultural exploration: Viewers can experience a diverse range of cuisines and cultural eating habits they might not encounter in their own lives.
  • Entertainment: The performative nature of mukbang, combined with interactions between broadcasters and viewers, offers a unique and entertaining form of content.

However, the mukbang concept has also come in for some negative attention:

  • Overeating and health concerns: Some critics express concerns about encouraging excessive eating and unhealthy consumption patterns, potentially contributing to issues like obesity.
  • Waste and excess: Mukbang videos might involve large quantities of food, leading to wastage in a world where food scarcity is a concern.
  • Detachment from real meals: Consuming meals solely as a form of entertainment might contribute to a disconnect between eating for sustenance and eating for enjoyment.

Why is mukbang so popular?

There’s been a rise in mukbang-style shows - most notably, Heart Attack Grill, Beard Meets Food, and Supersize Me. These shows have indeed been praised for their entertainment value, but can also be nausea-inducing, based on the large amounts of often unhealthy food that is consumed - bringing into question whether the idea of mukbang-style ‘movies’ or documentaries promotes a healthy relationship with food or not, especially when the audience is often impressionable young people.

Mukbang's popularity can be attributed to a combination of cultural, social, psychological, and technological factors that make it appealing to a wide audience. Mukbang taps into the idea of turning eating into a form of entertainment, merging the pleasure of dining with the entertainment value of online content.

  • Virtual Social Interaction: In an increasingly digital world, mukbang offers a sense of companionship and community. The live interaction can make viewers feel like they're sharing a meal with the broadcaster, creating a sense of participation, even if they're eating alone in reality. This virtual interaction taps into the basic human need for social connection and belonging.
  • Escapism and entertainment: Mukbang provides a form of entertainment that allows viewers to escape their daily routines and experience something different. The combination of food, which is a source of engagement and fascination as it appeals to the senses and tastebuds, as well as conversation and playful interactions with the audience, offers a unique and engaging form of content.
  • Cultural exploration: Mukbang allows viewers to explore a variety of cuisines and eating habits from around the world. It's like a virtual culinary adventure, giving people the opportunity to learn about different foods and food cultures that they might not have encountered otherwise - and the variety of exotic and indulgent treats appeals to a diverse audience.
  • No judgments or social pressures: Viewers can watch mukbang videos without worrying about judgments related to eating habits, portion sizes, or table manners. This lack of social pressure can be liberating for those who might feel self-conscious about their eating choices in real life.
  • Connection to creators: Mukbang creators often share personal stories, experiences, and anecdotes during their videos. This personal touch fosters a connection between the creator and the audience, making viewers feel more invested in the content.
  • Visual and auditory stimulation: The colorful and visually appealing presentation of food in mukbang videos, combined with the sounds of eating, can stimulate the senses and trigger a pleasurable response in viewers.

ASMR mukbang: What is mukbang ASMR?

Another reason mukbang content has become popular is due to its ASMR potential. The mukbang and ASMR popular internet trends have come together to combine the elements of mukbang videos with the sensory triggers used in ASMR content.

ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It's a term used to describe a tingling sensation that some people experience on their skin, often on the scalp, neck, or spine, in response to certain auditory or visual triggers. ASMR content is created to evoke these sensations and typically includes soft-spoken or whispered voices, gentle sounds like tapping or crinkling, and visual stimuli.

Mukbang ASMR meaning: In mukbang ASMR videos, creators focus not only on the sounds of eating but also on enhancing those sounds to create a more immersive and relaxing experience for the viewers. For example, a mukbang ASMR video might feature:

  • Close-up shots: The camera might focus on the food being eaten, showing details like the texture, colors, and steam rising from the dishes.
  • Whispered commentary: Creators might softly speak about the food they're eating, sharing their thoughts and experiences in a soothing and calming manner.
  • Enhanced eating sounds: The sounds of chewing, slurping, and sipping might be amplified to trigger ASMR sensations in the audience.
  • Tapping and crinkling: In addition to eating sounds, creators might include gentle tapping on objects or scrunching of packaging to add auditory variety.

The goal of mukbang ASMR is to provide viewers with a relaxing and sensory-rich experience. The combination of food-related content and ASMR triggers can create a unique form of online content that appeals to individuals seeking both visual and auditory stimulation, as well as a sense of connection through shared experiences.

While mukbang ASMR can be enjoyable for many, individual responses to ASMR triggers can vary widely. Some people might find these videos deeply relaxing and satisfying, while others might not experience ASMR sensations at all. Some viewers may even find the sound effects like chewing, slurping, and other mastication noises distasteful.

Mukbang has taken the digital world by storm and can bring people together through virtual dining experiences by offering a unique form of entertainment. Mukbang's ability to provide a unique combination of social interaction, entertainment, cultural exploration, and sensory stimulation taps into human psychology and the desire for connection, novelty, and enjoyment, making it a captivating trend in the world of online content - but it also raises important discussions about consumption patterns, health implications, and cultural shifts in our relationship with food.

As with any internet trend, mukbang's impact depends on how creators and viewers approach it, considering both its positive aspects and potential drawbacks. As far as young viewers and appropriate screen viewing are concerned, it’s important for parents to be aware of the types of content their children are seeing online, and how it may impact them.

For more information on appropriate content and screen time issues, visit

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