Word of the day: mok-bang
Kotaku just posted some GIFs of a Japanese cutie chowing down on an absurd amount of food. However, this is in fact part of a larger mok-bang trend that's taking place in South Korea. “Mok-bang” is a Korean portmanteau of 먹다 (muk-dah, meaning “to eat") and 방송 (bang-song, meaning "TV or broadcast.)" If you've ever watched a Korean soap-opera, you might be familiar with how much food is intimately tied to Korean daily life, so much so that there's even dramas dedicated to just eating (while still finding love along the way).
Afreeca TV is a YouTube like platform that streams most of mok-bang’s heavy hitters. Early examples of the trend first appeared on the site in 2008, but the phenomenon really took off last year, after the media got wind of it. Afreeca TV is powered by a “gift economy,” where jockeys can can receive “gifts” in the form of crypto-currency Star Balloons, which cost approximately ten cents each, and can be cashed into actual currency, most of which is then funneled into food used for future broadcasts, like a delicious, gluttonous ouroboros.
Korean site Dailian posits that the popularity of broadcast jockeys lie in their ability to provide interaction over a virtual dinner table. Or to simply offset the loneliness of dining alone. For those of you who can't read Korean and are having difficulties navigating Afreeca TV, you catch The Diva (one of mok-bang's biggest celebrities) on YouTube here.