A young, petite South Korean woman known as “The Diva” earns her income without ever leaving her dining room table. She, along with several others, have plunged belly first into the recent Internet sensation, “meok-bang.”
The fad, which combines the Korean words for eating (meok-guh) and broadcast (bang song), allows viewers to turn on their computers and monitor people indulging in tremendous portions of food.
The trend may appear to be voyeuristic as spectators receive a gratification in watching others eat excessive, elaborate meals. The craze seems to take food porn to extremes by substituting carefully, curated Instagram photos with gorges of delicacies being eaten in real time.
Beneath the palatable surface of food, the trend reveals a possible attempt at combating loneliness. A table for one is now easily transformed as single-eaters can simply log onto a peer-to-peer video network to instantly find themselves in the company of others.
Partaking in “meok-bang” is like inserting that extension in your dinning room table to accommodate for hundreds more without hassle.
For the main star of the show, this virtual table is more than just a way to pass the time. The service is actually providing The Diva with a feast for her stomach as well as her wallet.
The streaming site allows fans to pay eaters with a digital currency known as “balloons”, which can be exchanged for real capital. And these types of gluttonous endeavors prove to be expensive.
According to Kotaku, an Asian gaming website, The Diva spends approximately $3,000 a month on food for her live-stream binges, but luckily, her viewers are reimbursing her with up to thousands for each broadcast.
Although the lonesome are benefitting from “meok-bang,” many wonder how this excessive consumption of food affects the health of those at the center of the act. The Diva spends two hours each night ingesting meals portioned for competitive eaters.
“Sometimes in an evening, The Diva will scarf down two medium pizzas,” reported Kotaku. “Other nights, it’s thirty fried eggs and a box of crab legs or five packets of instant noodles.”
Afterwards, The Diva continues to chat with her devoted admirers via webcam as she digests the colossal calories devoured. For the time being, this gesture has been enough to dismiss most questions concerning her purging.
At the end of the night, The Diva sits with the satisfaction that—although she may have gained a few pounds—she has also gained a few dollars and a few friends.
Now, if only they would help her clean the dishes.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.