Remember when you were thirteen and could put away an entire pizza like it was a single M&M and not gain any weight? Or when you were able to eat, like, seven meals a day with no consequences? Oh, to be young and perma-hungry.
In South Korea, it pays to be hungry, whether you’re a growing tween or young adult. For about two hours, people broadcast their huge dinners (consisting of a couple thousand calories) in a new trend called “mok-bang.” Strangely, people are paying to see these Internet personalities eat a s**t ton of food; they can pay $1-$50 to watch the videos. Some of these eaters make up to a couple thousand dollars a night.
I mean, I kind of get it. One of my guilty pleasures is to browse through food blogs and the food and drink section of Pinterest for fun. I love Food Network, and it takes great discipline to not buy all of the culinary magazines when I’m standing in line at the grocery store. And yes, I love cooking, but I don’t need over 500 pins and a new magazine every week. I don’t think I’m the only one obsessing, either; everyone is really into food lately. We like to see who’s eating what and how and why. Food is pretty. And fascinating. And delicious.
(Thai chicken nachos)
(really good broccoli)
(banana oatmeal breakfast cookies)
This whole “dinner porn” thing kind of reminds me of grocery shopping hauls. The idea of watching someone explain exactly what they bought at the grocery store sounds pointless, but once I start watching, I can’t stop.
For a better understanding of mok-bang, let me introduce The Diva. The Diva is pretty normal. She works a normal job at a consulting agency, but at night, she eats an entire table full of food in front of her computer. Between 8 and 9, The Diva eats all kinds of things: Korean food, pizza, pasta, steak, whatever. In an interview, she says she started doing this because she needed a hobby. A hobby that costs $3,000 a month and a total of 20 extra pounds.
So, besides a universal love for food, why is mok-bang a thing? Maybe it’s just a more entertaining form of a food-eating contest, but personal and kind of endearing. Maybe watching other people eat dinner makes you feel less lonely, especially if you don’t have a roommate. Maybe it’s just straight up hypnotic for no logical reason.
Perhaps the most important question we should ask ourselves, is whether this trend will last or make its way across the globe. It’s a little worrisome because, let’s be honest, the last thing the US needs a broadcasted binge-eating habit.
What do you guys think? Would you pay to watch someone eat a bunch of food?