Yes, you read it right! We just recently found out that there is a pretty popular “mukbanger” living right here in Cheonan. We were excited to have the chance to meet him and get to know the person behind the videos that he uploads on Youtube via his channel called Yasigi (ya-shi-gi.)
Now if you haven’t “lived” online in the last decade or so, mukbang is a portmanteau for the Korean words meok (먹어) or to eat and bangsong (방송) broadcast. This is a trend which originated in Korea that features someone who eats while the online world watches. And it’s not just eating casually as it usually involves an insane amount of food that a regular person wouldn’t really consume in one sitting. It started with the simple act of eating in front of a live audience online. A lot of Koreans seemed to enjoy watching it and it became popular. This is usually broadcasted live online (like Afreeca TV, Youtube etc.) and people, lots of them, actually watch it.
But as it turned out, watching someone binge eat is not only interesting for Koreans. This trend has already crossed international boundaries through online channels. Imagine, you get to eat a lot of food and somehow earn while you’re at it. There’s been quite a lot of personalities who got famous and turned this into their daytime job.
So how does one actually get into this? We wanted to know right from someone who actually does that. We didn’t have to go far as he’s been living for the past couple of year right here in Cheonan City. His videos would show him eating bowls of Korean black noodles (jajangmyeon), bibimbap, sushi, pizza, ramyeons, blood sausages, dumplings and more. He sometimes tries to challenge himself to eat with a timer or try how many plates or bowls he can eat until full. He also tries to feature places with unlimited refills or good value for the price on certain events. Take for example a sushi place where he eats 50 plates of sushi for 20 minutes. But he didn’t stop there. He continued to eat up to a hundred plates!
How does he choose his food? And how does he manage to eat that MUCH amount of food? These and a few more questions are the things that we wanted to ask Yasigi as we waited for him at a cafe around his neighborhood. Coming in wearing a cap and mask (it was a little bit chilly that day), the lady barista immediately recognized him from his Youtube channel and admitted that she is a fan. Honestly, it was all pretty new to us as reporter/bloggers and we awkwardly started asking him questions after a brief introduction.
Here’s some part of the interview that we managed to translate, non-verbatim.
(FiC = Fun in Cheonan, Y = Yashigi)
FiC: How long have you lived in Cheonan?
Y: I moved here about two years ago, after getting married.
FiC: Why or how did you start these videos?
Y: I saw other people doing it and I thought that I can also do that. It did took me while to really start it but at end, I thought why not just try it! I tried and I actually enjoy doing it.
FiC: How often do you upload videos?
Y: Nowadays, I usually do one every other day. So maybe 2 or 3 videos a week.
FiC: How do you choose the food?
Y: I usually eat whatever I want to eat. Sometimes, I get recommendations from viewers or invitations from restaurant owners.
FiC: What’s the usual food that you eat if you are not doing your videos?
Y: Nothing special. Just the usual food that my wife prepares but I only eat a bit especially the day after shooting my mukbang video.
FiC: What’s it like after shooting a video? How do you feel and what do you do?
Y: Depending on what I ate, I might feel tired a bit. I don’t usually eat a lot or not at all the next day. Sometimes, I will just try a spoonful or a bite during family mealtime.
FiC: Do you do any regular exercise or something like that?
Y: I work out a bit when I can but not regularly. Just playing with my daughter can sometimes be enough. She’s a toddler and she has a lot of energy.
FiC: As a child, what was your childhood dream job?
I’m pretty sure it hasn’t anything to do with Youtube or eating for people to watch, right? ^^
Y: Well, of course as a kid, I thought about typical ones like lawyer, assemblyman, president and the likes. When I got to university, I even considered being a reporter but I thought teaching history can also be interesting.
(Which he did for a few years in an academy and even has a few videos up on his channel.)
FiC: In your opinion, what are some milestones that you’ve accomplished so far in doing mukbang? For example, like hitting the 100 subscribers in your youtube channel.
Y: Well, nothing really. Maybe when I realized that I am earning something here. But basically, I just go day by day and enjoy the food while sharing it with other people to watch.
FiC: What can you say about younger people who seem to be fascinated and also thinks about being a content creator one day? Would you recommend for them to still do school or university?
Y: Everyone is unique. In a classroom of 20 kids, each one will have his own interests and talents. We cannot just educate them through a single way. There might be actually 20 ways.
FiC: What other plans for your show do you have in the future? Any special food in mind?
Y: No special food at the moment. I’ll just keep eating and sharing videos because I enjoy doing it and I hope that other people enjoy watching it too.
So there you go! He’s done videos of different places to eat in Korea but since he currently lives in Cheonan City, you will definitely see local food on his playlist. Find out where he has been shooting videos around Cheonan and you might just bump into him one day. He features Western food like pizza and chicken, Korean dishes in restaurants and even noodles just around the street corner. But wait, here’s a little heads-up. Make sure that you’re not hungry before you take a peek of Yasigi’s channel.