Mukbang (吃播chībō: eating broadcasts) originated in South Korea and quickly gained popularity in China. Many famous Chinese mukbangers have built their fan bases by showing how much they can eat.
Some mukbangers also focus on eating bizarre food to make themselves popular among netizens (网民wǎngmín).
Why Are Young People Addicted to Mukbang?
It’s not hard to understand why so many young people in China like watching mukbangs. As they work in fast-paced environments on a daily basis, some watch mukbang videos to vent negative emotions accumulated at work.
In addition, many Chinese girls find mukbang entertaining because it helps them cope with hunger.
Mukbang fans are usually interested in “quantity” and “variety”. A rather slim female mukbang host is often able to finish a surprisingly large amount of food.
Meanwhile, mukbang fans are also excited to see mukbangers eat weird things that they’ve never tried before.
A Time-killing “Remedy”
Many Chinese people enjoy watching mukbangs after work. As young people in China spend most of their time working and acquiring additional skills, watching mukbang videos can help them alleviate their stress and feeling of loneliness.
Many Chinese girls are on diet (节食jiéshí), and it means they often can’t eat things which they “crave for”. Some of them believe that watching mukbangs would help them suppress their appetites.
On one hand, the huge variety of food shown in mukbang videos satisfies their desire to try mouth-watering delicacies. On the other hand, the excessive amount of food mukbangers eat during their live-streaming sessions helps “procrastinate” their obsession with food.
A Tragic Incident
“Paopaolong”, a famous mukbang host in China died after participating in a public welfare event in March this year, and it led to heated discussions among Chinese netizens.
Chinese Parents’ Opinions on Mukbang
While people are showing sympathy to his death, many parents think some mukbang hosts set very bad examples for teenagers.
Their videos are often associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and a serious waste of food. Therefore, it exerts a negative influence on young people’s daily lives.
Quite a few Chinese parents also hold the view that live-streamers should choose more educational and enlightening topics for their live-streaming sessions.
In China, nowadays even primary school pupils browse web pages and watch online videos regularly. Therefore, it’s important for live-streamers to also care about children’s future development.
The Future of Mukbang
After the tragic death of “Paopaolong”, the local authority introduced a ban on uploading mukbangs to Chinese online video channels. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that famous mukbang hosts are about to lose their popularity among Chinese netizens.
Some people suggest that it would be a good idea for mukbangers to focus more on introducing different types of food to netizens.
They also suggest they significantly reduce the amount of food they eat at the same time. This could diminish the negative influence of their videos on young people’s eating habits.