[WARNING: This list contains footage some viewers may find disturbing, and all viewers will find disgusting.] If you’re not watching mukbang on YouTube, then you’re missing out. (Okay, not really–just hear us out.) Mukbangers eat on camera while talking to viewers. Simple as that. Most attempt to eat massive quantities of unhealthful foods, and it’s oddly difficult to look away.
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What do they talk about? Everything. And nothing. There is always at least some mention of the food. But there’s also plenty of chat about the mukbanger’s personal life: relationships, fashion, diets, weight loss goals, and–especially–other mukbangers.
It may sound ridiculous, but mukbang is actually a fascinating phenomenon. Kim-Hae Jin, a Ph.D. candidate from Chosun University, suggests that people watch mukbangs to vicariously satisfy their desire for food. Viewers may come for the food, but they stay for the drama. They love when their favorite mukbangers “collab” only to end up attacking each other. The YouTube stars are all about “spilling the tea” and exposing each other for their online crimes. It’s all about controversy, and the current mukbang climate can be summed up with one phrase: “cancel culture.”
Cancel culture has taken hold over the past few years as the public demands greater accountability from public figures. With mukbangers, it’s about calling each other out. And when a mukbanger has been called out, it leads fans to sever relationships with them. When mukbangers lose viewers, they lose revenue.
Merriam-Webster explains that there is a performative aspect to canceling. The offending party that has been “called out” paradoxically enjoys a temporary boost in popularity. The objective behind canceling is to deny attention, but it doesn’t typically work that way with YouTubers. “To cancel someone publicly often requires broadcasting the act,” writes the Merriam-Webster, “which then makes the target of one’s canceling a subject of attention.”
Let’s take a look at the most “problematic” mukbangers. We’re betting that you’ll want to click on each one to learn more.
10 Trisha Paytas: Identifies as a Chicken Nugget
Look up “controversial mukbanger” in the dictionary, and you’re sure to find a photo of this blonde bombshell. Trisha Paytas has been on YouTube since 2007 and has more than five million subscribers. She’s a real problem child who has been in dozens of public feuds with her fellow mukbangers.
Paytas can go from glam to gutted in one video: all too often, viewers find her on her kitchen floor broadcasting another emotional breakdown. The YouTuber has made some weird revelations over the years. She married a cardboard cutout of Brad Pitt. She claimed she was transgender (more specifically, a gay man with “penis envy” who dresses in drag and loves “glam” and “voluptuosness”). In one particularly memorable episode, Paytas explained all the reasons why she identifies as a chicken nugget. (And that chicken nugget video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times.)
Paytas has several YouTube channels and a net worth of about $8 million. Her main channel, Blndsundoll4mj, has accumulated more than 1.8 billion views. It’s estimated that her channel generates thousands per day from the advertisements that run on her videos. (And that’s not considering the millions she makes from paid subscribers on Patreon.)
But it’s not cash that Paytas is after. “I never cared about being rich or anything (still don’t),” she’s said. “I just had (have) this constant need for attention. Maybe that’s a bad thing, maybe not, but it’s how I thrive.”
In May 2019, mukbang sensation Nikocado Avocado (next item) called Paytas out for bad behavior. His viral video “Exposing Trisha Paytas With Receipts” has racked up nearly 3 million views. Perry, who was depending on Paytas to help him become famous, tearfully slams Paytas for ghosting and criticizing him. He published the video and, in true cancel culture style, made all of their DMs (direct messages) public. It’s exactly the kind of melodrama mukbang fans adore.
9 Nikocado Avocado: Food Can’t Ease His Emotional Breakdowns
Don’t be fooled: Nikocado Avocado (Nicholas Perry) may like to play the victim, but he is every bit as problematic as Paytas. (The two have since reconciled. And there’s a video of that, of course.)
The mukbanger has been posting food videos since 2014, when he was a slim 21-year-old vegan. He’s since become an overweight junk food junkie. (He decided the vegan lifestyle was detrimental to his health.) Perry, one of the first male mukbangers, now has three channels: Nikocado Avocado, Nikocado Avocado 2, and Nikocado Avocado 3. Perry posts almost daily, and each new video is as bizarre as the last.
Perry claims that his struggle to accept the fact that he was adopted led him to his current career. “I would just, like, always want attention,” he told Paytas during their collab. “I wanted the spotlight.” He gets that attention by devouring enormous piles of food and throwing temper tantrums on camera. He cries, yells, throws food, collapses to the ground. His trademark fits involve his smashing food with a broom. “They [fans] like when I’m upset, they like when I’m crying, they like when I’m hyper,” he admitted.
In December 2019, Perry collaborated with mukbangers Stephanie Soo and Zach Choi (Nos. 8 and 1 on our list). Days later, Soo posted, “Why I am Scared of Nikocado Avocado.” Detailing Perry’s “abusive” behavior, it has been viewed nearly 10 million times. Soo’s cancel video instigated a series of back-and-forth videos between the two mukbangers. Fans overwhelmingly sided with Soo against Perry.
Perry blamed the internet feud for his spiraling mental decline and for the end of his marriage. And there’s a Change.org petition, “Remove Nikocado Avocado from YouTube,” to formally cancel Perry’s online presence. Despite it all, Perry continues to deliver emotional new content regularly. He’s a trainwreck.
8 Stephanie Soo: Not Her Fault She Behaved Badly
From Stephanie Soo’s perspective, Perry is to blame for all of the mukbang drama. While collabing with Nikocado Avocado, Soo talked trash on friend and fellow mukbanker Veronica Wang (No. 3 on our list). Soo claimed that Perry pressured her into the verbal attacks; she hadn’t wanted to say anything bad about Wang. The regret she felt caused Soo to suffer a series of panic attacks that left her (so we’re to believe) unable to complete her scheduled collaboration with Perry. Soo and Perry attempted to cancel the other, and Soo definitely won the war. The most prominent mukbangers sided with her, and Perry is still trying to recover.
So, what’s the deal with Stephanie Soo? She’s one of the most successful mukbangers in the world. Originally from South Korea (where the phenomenon originated), the YouTuber now resides in a $2.29 million mansion in the San Fernando Valley. The desirable Sherman Oaks neighborhood is home to an array of rich social media celebrities and YouTube stars.
Soo has only been mukbanging for two years, but she has made her mark on the industry. Her 1.3 million subscribers have given her more than a quarter of a billion views (and that’s just on one of her channels). Hardly a “broke ass biss” (she wears “BISS” t-shirts), she’s driving around the LA hills in her $100,000 Tesla.
7 Hungry FatChick: Moans Orgasmically for Food and More
In her thesis “Watching Women Eat: A Critique of Magical Eating and Mukbang Videos,” Samantha Gillespie explores mukbang’s role in society’s thinness culture. Gillespie calls attention to famed mukbanger Hungry FatChick (aka Candy Godiva).
While Paytas and Perry are overweight, Godiva–155 cm (5’1”), 180 kg (396 lbs)–is morbidly obese. With hair and makeup perfectly in place, she devours gigantic portions of food. With each bite, Godiva exhibits the trademark lip smacking and moaning that viewers either love or hate. To her critics, she says, “This is an eating channel, not a weight loss channel, get it straight. If you’re not here to see a hungry fat chick eat food, then move along. This isn’t the channel for you.”
Godiva doesn’t have any major drama with other mukbangers, but she’s not without controversy. The YouTube star is also known for putting out (no pun intended) adult fetish content. “Candy Godiva & SSBBW”–that’s “Super-Sized Big Beautiful Woman” to the layperson–features Godiva in all her naked glory (along with more of the moaning and lip smacking that her fans so love).
6 Amberlynn Reid: Doubled in Size During Her Weight-Loss Journey
Like Godiva, Amberlynn Reid is a big girl. She’s young and sweet, but she’s ruffled some serious feathers with her “weight loss” mukbang videos. Reid has been doing these videos for five years. She’s gone through three online “eras” of girlfriends: Krystal Era, Destiny Era, and Becky Era.
Reid carefully counts calories, and she generally eats healthy foods on her videos. But fans (and haters) bemoan the fact that she seems to be letting her YouTube income take precedence over her health. She’s been documenting her weight-loss journey for years but has actually gained a considerable amount of weight (about 90 kg in five years). She now tips the scales at 259 kg (570 lbs).
Thousands have signed a Change.org petition to end Reid’s video log, saying that she is “receiving at least $1,000 monthly for doing nothing but deceiving her fans.” Will de-monitizing Reid help her get healthy once and for all?
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5 Foodie Beauty: Serves a Cheese Platter with a Side of Mass Suicide
Chantal “Foodie Beauty” Marie wants to “prove that mukbangs (social eating shows) do not have to be unhealthy.” Her YouTube channel features cooking, food reviews, wellness, and beauty. Sounds positive, right?
Most of the time it is. But the star crossed the line with a particularly controversial video (“**TRIGGER WARNING**HALLOWEEN CHEESE CEMETERY MUKBANG!”) that has since been taken down. Foodie Beauty shocked fans when she showed photos and video footage of the 1997 Heaven’s Gate mass suicide. While munching on cheese, she told her 60,000 subscribers about the cult’s tragic story. Fans were appalled.
Imagine sitting there, flashing pictures of dead bodies on the screen, while you stuff your face talking about the price of Nikes. This shit is fucking low even for Chantal. pic.twitter.com/JzSo1aXRle
— Dosè of Petty (@MichaelBePetty) October 22, 2019
“Imagine sitting there, flashing pictures of dead bodies on the screen, while you stuff your face talking about the price of Nikes,” complained one critic. (Nikes were a notable part of the Heaven’s Gate story). “She is literally sitting there talking about mass suicide and mid-sentence stops to give a review on how the cheese tastes. I am in f-ing awe.” Foodie Beauty shot back at the critic, calling him a hypocrite for fat shaming her.
4 Banzz: False Advertising? Sorry, Not Sorry
Banzz can eat. A lot. Like 100 McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets—not the Trisha Paytas kind—in one sitting. But the YouTuber also known as Jung Man-su had a rough go of things in 2019, when he used his online platform to promote his own brand of ‘weight loss” food products.
A district court in South Korea fined Banzz for false advertising. Prosecutors requested “six months of penal servitude.” But the defense team claimed that their client did not intend to scam viewers and that his illegal posted content was simply the result of inexperience. In the end, he was ordered to pay 5 million won ($4,100)—an affordable penalty for a guy who’s reportedly worth millions.
Banzz posted a tearful apology video. YouTube fans are big on video apologies because they can chime in with comments. Unfortunately, Banzz then made the mistake of deleting comments he didn’t like. Viewers were jacked and unsubscribed in droves—Banzz effectively created his own cancel culture.
Nevertheless, the YouTuber has enough followers to continue to make money. Because despite the fact that he inhales massive amounts of food on camera, Banzz is “ripped AF.”
3 Veronica Wang: Taking Legal Action Against the Little Guy
Yeah, they make serious money, but should mukbangers really be taken seriously? Veronica Wang thinks so. This big-name YouTuber took offense at a parody channel and threw all of her weight at it.
Shookbang takes beloved mukbang videos and turns them into parodies. Fans love it because what’s better than mukbang videos? More videos about mukbang videos! Shookbang featured Wang in some of its parodies, and she was not happy about it. (Translation: She didn’t make any money on the parodies.)
Wang, along with a few other mukbang originals, made illegal copyright strikes against Shookbang. The parody channel was forced to temporarily shut down to avoid further legal action and the possibility that its creators would be exposed.
The YouTube community railed back at Wang for unlawfully claiming copyright on the Shookbang videos. Shookbang was in line with the Fair Use Law that permits them to “transform” Wang’s content with its own music and edits. Wang’s copyright strike claim was false and illegal, and Shookbang is back up and running.
2 Ssoyoung: Eating Live Animals—Cultural or Purely Shock Value?
[WARNING: the video above contains footage of killing and eating live animals.] South Korean YouTuber Ssoyoung shocks the internet with her mukbangs. In fact, some of her videos are so disturbing that she was compelled to delete them. Luckily (or unluckily?), the clips are still fairly easy to find.
In some cultures, eating seafood that is alive—still moving!—is a thing. But Ssoyoung exaggerates the custom to garner a bigger fan following. She uses her saltshaker to send eels into seizures before she eats them. And she ate a whole live octopus on camera. (Thrilling for those who find pleasure in sucking sounds.)
But Ssoyoung really stirred the pot when she posted a video of herself eating a whole pig’s head. Before she started taking bites of the head, she warned viewers that the visual might make them “feel uncomfortable.” The mukbanger gnawed on that revolting thing for 15 minutes. The spectacle was grotesque, but the controversy was not about the pig.
Ssoyoung implied that that’s how Koreans eat pigs, but it is not. Critical comments flooded in and blamed the YouTuber for spreading false cultural information. “Which Korean eats a pig head whole like that? The foreigners watching are going to believe this is normal,” complained one viewer. “The meat from the pig head is usually cooked into thin slices. How is what you’re doing anything like that?” Another added, “You’re desperate for views.”
Ssoyoung apologized, but she still faces a rash of haters. Some have called for a more sincere apology for her antics in ruining the “Korean reputation.” Others want her to understand that an octopus does indeed feel pain.
1 Zach Choi: Chewing Loudly But Never Speaking
Zach Choi is a superstar among mukbangers. He’s the exception on this list as his reputation is that of a “good guy.” Choi combines his eating craft with another popular YouTube past time: ASMR. ASMR, autonomous sensory meridian response, is defined as a “calming, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation” (aka, a head orgasm). While the slurping noises mukbangers make falls into the ASMR category (yes, some people are soothed by the sounds of other people eating), ASMR videos on YouTube generally feature whispering into a microphone or in voice overs.
So on one hand, Choi can smack his lips and chew loudly and entertain his mukbang fans. (He never talks while he mukbangs.) On the other hand, he can whisper into a microphone to please his ASMR fans. The combined result: nearly 7 million followers and an estimated net worth of $11 million. Dude makes about a $1 million a month from his videos.
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