From Korea to the World: The Odd Rise of Starch Toothpick Mukbang


Imagine this. Mukbang show of toothpicks made from starch is taking the internet by storm! Yes, you heard it right – toothpicks that people grab to clean their teeth after eating. But hold on, it gets crazier. Surprisingly, this trend has even spread beyond Korea and gained popularity worldwide.


So, why on earth are people eating this, and how did it become a trend?


What is Mukbang?


For the uninitiated, Mukbang is a global phenomenon where people create and enjoy content centered around eating – and Korea is at the forefront. Interestingly, the term “mukbang” itself also originated from the Korean language.

Korea has a variety of mukbangs that catch people’s attention. From consuming excessive amounts of food at once to eating peculiar dishes rarely consumed by people, there’s a wide range of mukbangs.


Toothpick Mukbang


In the meanwhile, a recent and controversial trend has emerged, showcasing mukbangs with toothpicks made from starch. Content creators take you through the entire process, from cooking and deep-frying these toothpicks to the final act of eating, often with added sauces for extra flavor. This unique trend, with toothpicks made from starch taking center stage, has transcended borders, captivating audiences worldwide. From the bustling media outlets in the United States and the UK to those beyond, the world couldn’t ignore the initial oddity of these starch toothpick Mukbangs. Reports indicate that this peculiar trend, with its algorithm-friendly oddity, quickly became viral, amassing high views and stirring curiosity across the globe. As a result, mukbang creators enthusiastically shared videos of themselves deep-frying and devouring these toothpicks.


Are starch toothpicks edible?

While it started as peculiar antics, the trend gradually gained momentum, with more people joining in. Unfortunately, some viewers, especially young teenagers, mistakenly believe that these starch toothpicks are safe to eat. This led to a growing concern as viewers started asking their parents to deep-fry these toothpicks, turning it into a potentially serious issue.

Now, the big question is, can you really eat these starch toothpicks?

In short, absolutely not. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Korea has clarified that these toothpicks were never classified as food, and safety verification has not been conducted. They strongly advise against the intake of starch toothpicks, emphasizing that the toothpicks were not intended for eating. Even the owner of the starch toothpick company has warned against excessive consumption, expressing concerns about the surge in sales.


Why people eat toothpicks?

So, why did people even consider eating toothpicks in the first place? Many speculate it might be due to packaging claiming the product is “harmless to the human body.” While the ingredients, including corn or sweet potato starch, sorbitol for sweetness, and coloring agents, are indeed harmless in reasonable amounts, consuming a whole toothpick as a snack is not advisable. Also, excessive intake of sorbitol can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal inflammation.

In response to the situation, authorities are taking a firm stance against consuming these toothpicks, underscoring the potential dangers involved.

However, unfortunately, this issue seems to be spreading even further. While Korean authorities actively discourage people from eating them, the trend has already crossed borders. Recently, Chinese authorities warned their citizens not to consume these starch toothpicks in any way anymore.

As mukbang creators continue to produce videos with guaranteed popularity and views, the trend keeps spreading.


Now, we want to hear from you. What do you think about this phenomenon? Is this just human curiosity at play, or are social media algorithms driving us down a toothpick-laden rabbit hole?

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