By now, most people with access to a computer should be familiar with the term mukbang, an internet sensation that has spread like wildfire in recent years. If for some reason you haven’t heard the phrase, mukbang is a Korean word that translates to “eating broadcast.” Quite naturally then, people began filming themselves while eating and conversing at the same time.
When mukbang videos first began circulating the web, there was a lot of confusion and mixed feelings about them. The mixed feelings still remain, but people have generally come to the conclusion that they enjoy watching people eating and spilling the tea because it feels like they are a part of the experience too. The videos feel more like an intimate gathering of friends sharing a meal, rather than a viral video with millions of views.
And while OG mukbangs haven’t lost any of their steam, an interesting new niche has arisen. The concept has long featured categories, mostly centered around the type of food the the host is consuming. Search the term on YouTube and you’ll find pizza mukbangs, chicken finger mukbangs, taco mukbangs and all other variety of gluttony-centered content. The newest iteration of the trend though, the binging of monstrous sea creatures, feels different.
I first stumbled upon this new sub-genre of mukbangs while catching up on YouTuber’s Ethan and Hila Klein of h3h3Productions. The Kleins are known for reviewing and analyzing the strangest of content, and when I saw the video thumbnail “The Sea Monster’s of YouTube,” I couldn’t resist. Their video then led me down a rabbit hole to all of the videos that fall into this strange subcategory of mukbangs.
My jaw literally dropped to the floor and stayed there as I watched a woman in the most beautiful makeup and gorgeous hair devour a gigantic crusty crab that she vigorously tore apart limb by limb. In fact, more often than not, the creators in these videos are females, commonly dressed for a night on the town. Some of the videos are strictly mukbangs, while others dabble in the realm of ASMR.
What’s more interesting is that there seems to be some sort of unspoken rule about the necessity for dipping sauces, which for me was the most shocking aspect of the whole ordeal. It’s obviously standard to dunk seafood into warm garlic butter, but these ladies are quite literally getting lost in the sauce. Indeed, the hosts use vats deeper than the Mariana Trench to immerse their large chunks of meat in before gluttonously gorging their mouths with the decadent fare.
Astoundingly enough, the videos in this very specific niche are reaching upwards of millions of views. A darker part of me assumed that it was some kind of fetish, especially due to the exorbitant amount of sauce and questionable moans of satisfaction.
Yet to my surprise, as I explored the comments in an attempt to understand this distinct niche, I found that most of the viewers were not perverted at all, but rather hungry. Women in particular seemed to enjoy watching the videos, treating them like a cheat meal or something.
Initially, I found this unusual and gross. I find the excessive lip smacking, loud chewing and obnoxious slurping to be repulsive. Additionally, it’s a shame that they ruin their well-done makeup with the dribbling of juices. My obsessive compulsiveness would highly encourage the use of a moist toilette to mop up the mess. On the other hand, the audible crunching and cracking of the hefty edibles reluctantly activates my salivary glands and leaves me wanting an admiral’s feast of my own.
I can see the appeal. There is a certain kind of delight that comes from watching and hearing the crackling of a lobster shell as it comes undone with the help of carving scissors. I also understand that living vicariously through someone as they eat an extravagant meal has its own kind of satisfaction.
If I had to compare it to anything, I’d compare it to the pimple-popping videos. It’s disgusting, but so satisfying to watch the extraction process and see just how much a person can get out, whether it be pus or crab meat.
If you are someone who gets joy out of watching others eat or you’re a fan of ASMR then I would highly recommend checking sea creature mukbangs out. However, if you are someone who is squeamish with sounds and messy eaters, then this may not be the thing for you. I am hesitant and interested to see what sort of internet oddity will surface next.