Singer Sandara Park enjoys her food on the YouTube show “Unni pa orex” (YouTube)
Meokbang, also known as mukbang, in which broadcasters show themselves eating a large meal, has been a globally popular form of online content.
Now, some Korean viewers who are tired of seeing this content are turning their eyes to a new type of meokbang that features “sosikjwa,” referring to people who eat a surprisingly small portion of food.
Disbanded girl group 2NE1 member Sandara Park and actress Park So-hyun are leading the new trend with a YouTube show titled “Unni No Appetite” launched on July 11.
In the show, the two stars, who claim that they usually have no appetite, dine with famous food personalities. The show’s rule is that no one should force the two leads to eat more than they are willing to, showing how people with big and small appetites eat together in harmony. When the hosts are full, they say “I’m fine” and finish their meal.
Five episodes of the show have been released so far, each garnering nearly 2 million views with many positive reviews.
Co-host Park noted during the show that she is recognized on the street more by young people as a soshikjwa than as a former girl group member.
“When I walk down the street, people want a picture with me. (Millennial and Generation Z) people come to me,” Park said of people watching her YouTube show.
“This show has a positive impact. I usually swallow my food quickly, but after watching So-hyun chew her food for a really long time, I tried to eat like her. I feel like I have less digestive problems and I feel full faster,” said one commenter online about “Unni pa orex”.
“I watch this show regularly. It has a kind of calm and relaxed atmosphere that other meokbangs usually don’t have,” said another comment.
Model Joo Woo-jae eats a burger at a meokbang for his YouTube channel (YouTube)
Model Joo Woo-jae also regularly broadcasts a different meokbang style on his YouTube channel.
His viewers seem to love Joo’s meokbang because he eats a regular amount of delivery food extremely slowly and has good table manners.
“I’m a slow eater like him, so it’s nice to watch him eat while I’m eating. I feel like I’m having dinner with him. When I saw the meokbang, it seemed to me that they swallowed a large amount of food at once, barely chewing it. It felt like I was watching a show. But Woo-jae’s meokbang is different,” a viewer commented on one of his meokbang videos.
“In other meokbangs, they’re so focused on eating, eating, and eating, while Woo-jae makes small talk while slowly eating his food, which I really like,” commented another viewer.
This trend has also influenced popular TV shows such as “I Live Alone” which presents a day in the life of celebrities who live alone.
On the show, music producer Code Kunst surprised the panelists by eating just a small portion of the food before saying he was full.
“I think these types of people should appear on TV more often. People like me who take 30 minutes to eat a banana. I have been scolded so many times and treated like a stranger because I cannot eat a large portion. Watching it makes me feel good,” one online commenter said of the TV show.
Music producer Code Kunst eats a sweet potato during MBC TV show “I Live Alone” (MBC)
Culture critic Lee Taek-gwang suggests that the new trend is spreading because the meokbang market is a red ocean.
“Since the market is saturated, they are emerging as content for a niche market,” Lee said. “But I wouldn’t say that the existing meokbang trend of eating large portions has been replaced. It’s still popular.”
Lee also added that the two different trends may seem like they are showing opposite ways of consuming food, but they both have one element in common which is that they can scare viewers.
“The key to the success of this content is that it makes people think it’s incredible. They make people think ‘Is it possible that one person can eat so much food at once?’ or ‘Is it possible that a person can eat so little?’, added Lee.
By Song Seung-hyun ([email protected])