Mukbang Culture in the West

On arrival in the west, mukbangs were more commonly known as the “Mukbang challenge”. This initially saw hosts consume mostly Asian orientated food such as spicy packet noodles in ridiculous amounts.

With mukbang being a foreign word, many westerners just pronounce it as it looks: “muck-bang”Sacasas 2019

The hosts of western mukbangs are simply called Youtubers, this title is given due to the content being presented on the video sharing platform YouTube. Unlike Afreeca TV, videos cannot be live-streamed, so vloggers often send out a tweet asking their followers to comment questions they’d like them to answer in the video. It is a very cross-platform process in creating a mukbang. The real-time follower engagement is all done before the actual video is filmed.

Pereira, Sung & Lee (2019, P. 78) found that “Caucasians watch such shows due to host attractiveness, perceived novelty and social normative influence”.

Content
The western adaption of mukbangs is definitely less wholesome to the original Korean version. The videos are very self-centred and focus on the individual’s life rather than the food in front of them. This can be put down to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. Korea has a collectivist culture whereas most countries in the west. Encouraging debate and expression of people’s own ideas is very common in western videos but hosts in Korean videos usually suppress feelings and emotions that may endanger harmony (Hofstede, 2019).

The vloggers rarely ever cook or even pick up the food themselves, it is often delivered through food delivery services such as Uber Eats or Post Mates. Unlike Korea dishes and their high vegetable content and visually obvious ingredients, most food eaten in western mukbangs is very unhealthy and processed. Food from chains such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut are the most commonly used in videos.

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