A Korean woman named Park Seo-yeon is a professional eater, but not in the vein of Takeru Kobayashi. Instead of scarfing down dozens of hotdogs in minutes, Park livecasts videos of herself sitting down to dinner and chewing through dishes like yukhoe, a Korean beef tartar.
Reuters reports that Park earns about $9,400 a month from audiences who send her digital tips. She once earned $1,000 for just a single sitting (no word on what the jackpot food was, unfortunately). Park broadcasts around three hours every day to a following that includes people who “enjoy the vicarious pleasure when they can’t eat this much or find that food at night or are on a diet,” she says.
Viewers have told Park that they recovered from anorexia thanks to her videos. Park herself suggests that her videos’ success is due to loneliness and the increasingly divided family lives of South Koreans.
There are over 3,500 food-eating shows in Korea, and some are even sponsored by restaurants. Perhaps the closest thing the U.S. has are ASMR eating videos, collections of which can be found on YouTube. These are supposed to induce “brain orgasms” but watching ignitedASMR’s clip of himself noisily chowing down on a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich plus zesty french fries is mostly just cringe-inducing.
Besides, we already have FoodTV, which these days is mostly just about watching Guy Fieri eat rather than actually cooking anything.