Bizarre overeating epidemic sparks thrifty backlash – Chosun Ilbo (English edition) : Korea Daily

The bizarre social media frenzy over videos of baby-faced influencers consuming unusually large amounts of food — mukbang videos — is being countered by a new wave of people eating dainty little bites.

TV celebrity Park So-hyun, 51, has become one of the most popular guests on entertainment shows because of her bird-like appetite. She let us know that she only eats small bites for lunch or dinner, or has a vanilla latte.

Mukbang videos are one of the strangest phenomena on social media. It looks like a young, pretty person trained to eat large amounts of food at once.

But every fad must have a backlash. Comedian Ahn Young-mi is also a celebrity of small portions, eating plain bibimbap or rice mixed with meat and vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Model-turned-actor Joo Woo-jae eats one donut for breakfast, while hip-hop producer Cord Kunst only eats two bananas and sweet potatoes a day. Normally, there are worries about eating disorders, but just seeing the appearance of not eating much attracts fans.

The main reason seems to be an aversion to fads associated with shameless gluttony in cramped times. Instead, India’s perilous new influencer seems to symbolize a dedication to environmental awareness, climate change, and self-denial in the face of global challenges.

Some YouTubers have, understandably, been found to spit it all out again after finishing their “show,” to the dismay of fans who have fallen under a strange spell.

Media critic Ha Jae-geun said, “There is a growing awareness of the wastefulness of such programs, and a knee-jerk assessment of those who can live with almost nothing.”

The trend also reflects runaway consumer prices. Park says, “I think he spends about W10,000 a day on food,” while YouTuber Heebab reportedly spends W10 million a month on food. (1 USD = W1,303).

Did that drive you all crazy? His Kwak Geum-joo of Seoul National University says it’s all part of a larger pattern. “Societal trends are leaning toward tightening due to rising inflation,” she said. “Lower wages seem to be impacting the content people see.”

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