South Korean Food Trend

Do you like to eat? Do you have a camera? If you answered yes to both questions, you have what it takes to be famous in South Korea.

“Mukbang,” the South Korean phenomenon of people live-streaming videos of themselves eating copious amounts of food, is making people famous, even allowing some to make their entire living off of something they’d have to do anyway—eat.

CNBC recently spoke with a Mukbang celebrity named Park Seo-yeon, a young woman who was able to quit her day job after finding massive online success—in 2014, Park earned roughly $9,400 a month.

Park will eat four large pizzas and six pounds of beef over the course of one filming, which can last four to six hours per night.

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“A lot of my viewers are on diets, and they say the live vicariously through me, or they are hospital patients who only have access to hospital food so they also watch my broadcasts to see me eat,” Park told CNN last year. “My fans tell me that they really love watching me eat because I do so with so much gusto and make everything look so delicious.”

As for how food vlogging personalities stay so slim, there are a few strategies to keep in mind. “The secret is to eat once, and not eat the next day or eat really little. Some exercise as much as they have eaten,” says Gabie Kook, a Mukbang star who was a finalist on MasterChef Korea. “Mukbang is extremely unhealthy for the person who is doing it. But for the spectators, it mentally satisfies them and leave them mentally full; some claim that it helps them be on a diet. Some people say that when eating alone watching them, it feels like you have a companion.”

Watch one of Kook’s videos here:

—Maria Yagoda, @MariaYagoda