South Korea's newest trend: watching hot chicks overeat

While South Korea is generally only viewed as the slightly quirky younger sibling of super weird Japan -- in terms of Asian eccentricities, at least -- a new trend has taken ahold of the country that surprised even the food-porn vets here at Thrillist: People have started paying to watch pretty girls consume outrageous amounts of food online. But no, they’re fully dressed, and yes, they actually do eat the food.

Called "muk-bang", which translates to “eating broadcasts”, the sensation has seen locals tuned to live streams of ladies eating enormous portions of food, all the while chatting with viewers. It's like BLTBDSM voyeurism, or something like that.

One of the most successful pro eaters is a girl named Park Seo-Yeon, aka The Diva, who is hot and skinny and nothing like what you’d imagine from a woman who eats for a living and is nicknamed The Diva. Every evening, The Diva destroys more food than all of Ethiopia sees in a week, all before an audience of thousands.

Like, four large pizzas, 6 pounds of beef, three bowls of kimchi stew, and troughs of chicken wings. For dinner. No leftovers.


Park told CNN, "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”.

How they enjoy all the lip smacking and chomping remains unclear.

Part of the appeal allegedly comes from viewers eating vicariously through the gluttonous star. But muk bang also taps into Koreans' increasingly fractured family lives, as young people now live more solitary lives than in past generations.

"Loneliness is another crucial factor," Park told Reuters. "The show is addictive as you can communicate with thousands of people at home."

Also, she apparently makes more than $9,000 a month from her live stream, in donations.

We don't know whether to be horny, or hungry, or both. It's a problem George Costanza can relate to.

Sophie-Claire Hoeller is Thrillist's über-efficient German associate travel editor, and this is literally her dream job. Except she'd be massive. Follow her eating in moderation @Sohostyle