Mokbangs: Korean Foodies Unleashed
I know for a fact that Korea always has this quirky side. From K-pop idols whose fashion in some ways transcends Lady Gaga’s Meat dress but always directs a clean image. To weird places as noted by one of the articles. There are so many strange things that you can find about this country. Culture-wise, they have lived centuries and while under the influence of neighboring Asian countries, therefore in some ways Japan, China and of course Korea has this enamoring way that sometimes you don’t know if you’ll love or hate it.
Aside from watching Korean dramas, where I can always study the Korean culture, I stumbled om to one of this characters unusual habit in the drama. She was pretty and she was funny but then she always stays up in the attic in front of her computer eating a box of spicy chicken feet, all to herself. At first I thought she might have been so engrossed with a movie she just doesn’t wanna move her ass of her seat.
However, a few seconds later, you can see her position the web camera and talk in front of the computer then you find out she is one of those Mokbang DJs being portrayed in the drama.
So what is Mokbang? Mok, which is Mokda (먹다) or to eat in Korean and Bang, which is short for Bangsong or live broadcast. Recently, Koreans have this fetish with people who eat tons or just heaps of food and just watch them. Well, if you’re thinking of fat guys in dropping pants, holding a spoon and dogging his way through a gallon of ice cream, while doing some horrendously stupid acts then you might just be thinking of those toilet jokes in comical movies. However, these people are the opposite. Some of them like one who is called, the Diva, is so beautiful, you won’t even imagine that she can finish 6 pizza and a bucket of chicken all by herself while keeping her great figure.
Korean Mokbang DJs are actually just average people whose love for eating made them famous on online streaming sites, like Afreeca TV. In contrast to the idea that watching it would be fun and hilarious, some do it for the love of food and for the benefit of entertaining the increasing number of depressed Koreans who stay at home. In an interview done by CNN with “the Diva”, she mentioned that she was able to suppress people’s depression by acting as their food buddy, even if it’s just on a computer screen. Moreover, she was able to help battle anorexia among teens, whose social pressure has caused many not to eat. Some Koreans have also changed their mindsets among big Korean girls and their eating habit, as they found eating with gusto an attractive factor among women.
What’s more surprising is that these Mokbang DJs earn money. Yes, they apparently receive donations called star stamps and can actually exchange it to cash. For the more popular ones, they have earned a lot of money and have actually turned it into a living. It’s not a cheap hobby either, as you have to buy 4 or 5 servings of food every broadcast and you have to show variety amongst the food you eat as well. Also, food servings in Korea are not as cheap as you think. You won’t get star stamps if you just eat 10 cups of ramyeon and tell it’s delicious every day. The fact is some have really made a living out of these bizarre occurrences.
I’ve tried watching one and it lasts from 30 minutes to anything up to an hour depending on how fast the DJ eats. They would just normally eat what was in front of them and talk back to the live comments alongside their broadcasts. Normally, the DJs reactions are the main reasons why they get famous. Naturally the funnier ones get most of the attention as their reactions bring out laughter. While pretty, slim or handsome DJs are just watched for the curiosity of why they don’t gain any weight. One thing is certain, their passion for eating anything delicious yet the bizarre quantity is helping towards a good cause.
Then what can you say about this exaggerated voyeurism called Mokbang DJs ? Would you lose or gain an appetite? Or would you never eat again after watching?
The point here is though they practice gluttony, their cause has made Mokbangs an interesting online Korean community.
Let’s try, if you feel like eating. Here’s a recorded Mokbang video for you.