BY Julie Jones | Apr 10, 2015 11:07 AM EDT
Enjoying food in South Korea has earned some people a lot of money and a bevy of loyal fans. Live-streaming broadcasts known as Muk-Bang show people consuming a lot of food while talking to the audience. The more these Muk-Bang stars can eat, the better. And the prettier they are the more people are likely to watch them eat. Muk-Bang stars such as Park Seo Yeon, known as The Diva, can earn almost $10,000 a month wolfing down huge quantities of food.
Why is this even a trend? There are probably two chief reasons it took off.
Watching pretty girls eat a huge quantity of food can be a vicarious thrill for female fans that may feel pressured to diet.
And the programs may also be popular because eating alone is not as commonly done in Korea as it is in other countries. Many singles prefer to eat at home rather than venture into a restaurant alone. Some restaurants only serve dishes for two people or more.
Such shows are especially popular during dinnertime. So, a fan could eat his or her solitary meal and watch a Muk-Bang celebrity chow down while chatting with viewers.
While the enjoyment of delicious food is often featured in k-dramas the popularity of Muk-Bang shows has started to inspire plots twists in some k-dramas and the creation of others. In "Valid Love," Han Eu Ddeum played a former Muk-Bang celebrity. She gave up her online binges and lost weight, but a devoted fan recognized that she was none other than the infamous eating celebrity formerly named Strawberry Pig.
Then there is "Let's Eat." The original season of the show was about four single people who lived in an apartment building and were brought together by their love of food. It starred Lee Soo Kyung, Beast's Yoon Doo Joon, Shim Hyung Tak and Yoon So Hee.
The show inspired viewers to enjoy delicious meals and hunt them down in real life.
Now "Let's East" is back for a second season. In this season the romantic comedy focuses on a single guy who likes to browse food blogs as a way to relieve work-related stress. This season brings back Yoon Doo Joon as an insurance agent. Actress Seo Hyun Jin plays a freelance writer with strong opinions about food.
"This season will feature various characters with diverse jobs and backgrounds," said producer Park Jun Hwa. "Not only people living alone but also people living with their families will be portrayed. Dining together, they begin to develop harmonious relationships with each other, resonating with people who feel lonely."
"Let's Eat 2" airs on tvN.
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