I’m not sure why, but some of the strangest trends seem to emerge from South Korea. The latest one is dinner porn – people watching other people stuffing themselves with food. The Korean term for it is ‘mok-bang’, which roughly translates as ‘dinner broadcast’.
The dinner porn stars of South Korea film themselves eating copious amounts of food. They also provide moaning noises and a running commentary of their meals. The entire event is live-streamed and the protagonists end up making serious money.
Mok-bang isn’t about people eating a plate or two of food. We’re talking about humongous portions here. Like this one ‘broadcast jockey’ who calls herself The Diva. Consultant by day and food-porn star by night, this beautiful glutton wolfs down two medium pizzas, or 30 fried eggs and a box of crab legs, or five packets of instant noodles in one go. One night, she ate 12 beef patties, 12 fried eggs, three servings of spicy pork kimchi soup and a salad.
The Diva’s live videos begin between 8pm and 9pm, and go on for hours. In case you’re wondering, she says that she has no eating disorders, is perfectly healthy, and does not regurgitate her meals.
Although she spends about $3,000 a month on food, she covers it up comfortably by making thousands of dollars from her broadcasts. She’s even put on 21 pounds with her new profession, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Others in the same profession make about 30 times the average salary. One of the most popular broadcast jockeys is reported to have earned $1,000 from a single video.
Another star, BJ Lebi, consumes large plates of food while answering questions from her fans – about how much she can eat and how often she uses the toilet.
Fans of dinner porn tune into Afreeca TV, a live-streaming site, each night. They reward their favorite stars with virtual currency called Star Balloons for a good show, which can be exchanged for real South Korean Wons. The Diva says she signed up for the program because she was bored and needed a hobby.
It’s unclear why these videos displaying pure gluttony are so popular. Some attribute it to the fact that people do not want to eat alone. It could also be because people love food and chatting. Or maybe it’s just plain funny.
If you’re curious, the videos are now available on YouTube. I’m not sure I want to watch them. I think the experience will put me off eating for a long time.