Teaching Students About The Meaning Of Mukbang

Mukbang, a unique fusion of the Korean words “muk-ja” (먹자; let’s eat) and “bang-song” (방송; broadcast), has gained popularity all around the world in recent years. This South Korean phenomenon initially started as a live-streaming trend but has transformed into a widespread cultural experience that can be found on numerous social media platforms. This article aims to explore the meaning and history of Mukbang and provide guidance on teaching students to understand and appreciate this fascinating trend.

History of Mukbang

Mukbang first originated in South Korea around 2010, emerging as a social response to the growing number of single-person households and people experiencing loneliness during meals. Viewers tuned into live-streams or recorded videos where hosts (called “broadcast jockeys” or BJs) shared stories while consuming large quantities of food. In time, these meals turned into culinary performances, bringing together virtual spaces for people seeking social interaction during their meals.

The Rise of Mukbang Globally

Social media platforms like YouTube facilitated the international expansion of Mukbang culture. The combination of eating large amounts of food, often presented in an artistic manner, and engaging hosts soon caught the attention of viewers across borders. As international YouTubers and influencers embraced Mukbang within their content, this phenomenon only continued to rise in popularity.

Teaching Students About Mukbang

1. Start with context – Introduce your students to the concept of Mukbang by providing background information about its origins in South Korea, its connection with societal changes, and its global expansion.

2. Emphasize cultural understanding – Invite discussions that encourage students to consider cultural differences and how such phenomena arise out of specific social contexts. This will not only deepen their understanding of Mukbang but also broaden their appreciation for diverse cultures.

3. Analyze the content – Watch various Mukbang videos with your students, actively engaging them to analyze the hosts, types of foods eaten, presentation, and how the phenomenon has diversified over time.

4. Discuss social issues – Use the topic of Mukbang as a starting point to explore broader issues related to food and society, such as loneliness during meals, mental health concerns, food waste, and body image.

5. Encourage critical thinking – Guide your students in considering the potential effects of consuming this type of content regularly. Discuss the concept of excessiveness and its implications on viewers and creators.

6. Hands-on learning – Organize a simple in-class Mukbang experience for your students to reinforce their understanding of this cultural phenomenon. Encourage open discussions and reflections afterwards.


Mukbang is an intriguing cultural phenomenon that offers a unique vantage point for fostering discussion about food culture, social behavior, and global trends among students. By teaching them about Mukbang’s origins and addressing relevant social issues surrounding it, instructors can provide an engaging and educational experience that will captivate their learners as well as enrich their understanding of our interconnected world.

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