During this time, I really miss travel. So bad it hurts my teeth. I want to go back to South Korea, I want to go to Thailand, to Italy, to New York, to really anywhere that is not here. I want to eat foods that I don’t have to make myself. Exotic foods I see on TV or foods that don’t involve a chicken. (I eat a lot of chicken.) So if I can’t visit it, I can’t eat it, I incessantly want to watch it.
Meet Strictly Dumpling.
If you haven’t met before, Strictly Dumpling and the secondary Mikey Chen are Youtube channels hosted by what appears to be the nicest person in the world, Mikey Chen. Essentially he goes all over the world, eating food and videoing himself eating food. I want to say this is not a mukbang, but the amount of food he can put away? It might as well be.
I was actually introduced to the channel mid pandemic by Youtube who said “We think you need to see this.” and YouTube was correct. Since that day, the first video I watched where he ate all of the mandu sold at HMart (the video was made during the pandemic where he couldn’t be so travel.), I’ve been hooked.
This might sound crazy but every morning, I get up on my stationary bike, peddle away and watch a couple Strictly Dumpling videos. Yes, I work out while watching someone else eat food. Let’s not judge.
He’s been doing the channel(channels, as he has a few), for a whole bunch of years so there’s a lot of content to get through. My favorite videos, of course, are the ones where he eats his way through South Korea. He’s gone to cities and towns I’ve been to like Busan.
Markets I’ve seen like Namdaemyun market.
He’s eaten Brazilian BBQ with Eric Nam.
He’s even taught me how to do hot pot out of a rice cooker.
Currently, Mike is in South Korea (although his last video said he’s leaving in a couple of days so he might be back). He’s actually been there a couple of months and through him, we got to experience South Korea’s quarantine hotels, hotels which are run by the government where you go when you arrive into the country and wait out your quarantine. $2100, two weeks, all foods delivered to you while you wait.
It actually made me stop and think… could I do that? I mean, I’m completely working from home, couldn’t I toss it all and just go and work from South Korea? Sure I’d have to work during night and sleep all day, but wouldn’t it be worth it? It was a sad moment when reality seeped back in and I realized that was just a pipe dream.
Like I said, Mike just seems like the nicest person and it’s rare for him not to like something, or if he doesn’t like it, he follows the comment up with something positive. It’s almost as if he holds firm to the idea”If you can’t say something nice….” Watching his videos is like a cozy, travel foodfest and I just want to be there. To have these amazing adventures, to eat these amazing foods.
I actually shared one of his videos in a group chat at work after he posted a video visiting one of our customer’s locations in Korea and I found out one of my coworkers also watches his channel! Now we end every meeting with a chat about whatever Mike is eating now.
I can’t stop! I’m not certain though why I need to. So if you hear me talking about the shows I’m watching, just remember, what I’m watching the most of? A couple of YouTube food channels.