‘Bite King’ redefines foodie viewing

Though many trends and fads have come and went, the mukbang isn’t dead and in food-loving Philippines, many people love a good restaurant recommendation or meal must-try suggestion. They even love watching people do something as seemingly simple as eat. For this, they turn to social media.

One content creator in particular is making sure that all the goodness of a delicious meal consumed with both the eyes and the mouth become accessible to as many people from as many walks of life in the country as possible.

‘Bite King’ is James Torres’ chosen moniker in creating his food-related content. With TikTok as his primary platform, the content creator understands that in this day and age, people truly eat with their eyes before anything else.

Torres makes sure to make food king. He speaks to his viewers and takes requests from them as to what food he’ll feature and eat next, from the easily accessible street food snack favorite to the most interestingly tummy-churning choices.

“Food wasn’t the content I wanted to do in the beginning,” Torres shares. “I actually wanted to be a comedian, but that niche was harder to get into.”

Instead the young food enthusiast infuses well-meaning jokes and punchlines in his video introductions, pairing them with sound effects and folly laughter.

“Instead, I just try to incorporate the jokes relative to their food requests, which I select myself,” he said of his simple comment-selection process for content inspiration. Post video. Select comment. Create another video. Repeat.

“I also never expected to gain the following I have now,” Bite King said. “I was just eating street food one day, and I mindlessly uploaded it into TikTok for fun. For some reason, that content went viral!”

This TikTok, posted last 19 February 2021, has 4.1 million plays on TikTok and it is deceptively easy to see why.

The content features Torres simply sitting in his car, eating different kinds of Filipino street food favorites in true ASMR-mukbang fashion. As he chows down on multiple ever-familiar sticks of chicken skin, fried chicken intestines, proben (chicken proventriculus), kwek kwek (quail eggs dipped in orange batter and fried to a crisp), fried tacos, cheese-flavoured potato twists, and washes it all down with ice-cold buko juice in its signature transparent plastic cup, the comments of nostalgia and envy pour in.

In that video alone, over 10,000 people expressed their desire to buy street food, their dismay for watching the video at an odd hour when street food isn’t accessible, or their confusion after mistaking chicken skin for a Dorito.

The content was simple, straightforward, relatable, envy-inducing — the ASMR crunches also lent beautifully to the craving. Call it a knack for salu-salo, but for the Filipino food lover, whenever they see someone else eating whether in real life or in videos, the urge to eat along with them is real. And so when it hit a couple million views, Torres went with it and ran.

“When it went viral, I just kept it going,” saidTorres.

Bite King’s TikTok is all videos of him chowing down on Filipino favorites, but he also loves doing content on different cuisines from all over the world — sometimes eating just that specific cuisine for the day.

In a way, Torres said that it allows him and his viewers to travel by taste. Although not authentically, the semblance of taking his followers on a journey is what he wants to highlight.

On his Instagram page, Torres continues his tirade of comedy by infusing his humor in his sponsored posts. For instance, with his latest air fryer purchase from Philipps, he thanks them because he’s now able to ‘fry air.’ Torres is also present on streaming platform Kumu, where he streams content like ‘Kumukbang’ under the For Your Entertainment channel.

One thing that truly stands out in James’ content is the fact that he uses Bisaya as a medium of communication in near equal measure to Tagalog and English. The proud Bisdak converses with his online followers in his native tongue as he would any friend IRL, which makes him extra endearing to a wider audience.

Some content even shows him going around cities like Cebu and Roxas, which feature foods that aren’t commonly found in the greater Metro Manila. If food brings people together, Bite King’s regional content helps bridge the gap between the Philippines’ islands even more.

“Filipino cuisine is really savory, delicious, and comforting. For me, nothing beats Filipino food, kahit anong ibang cuisine pa yung natitikman ko,” Torres relays. For him, presenting Filipino food in a simple, modern way can help keep it in the spotlight and keep it shining.

Another thing that stands out to anyone coming across his page — and this is something that his followers have pointed out multiple times — are his teeth. “It’s so funny and unusual, but many of the people who comment on my content complement my teeth. It’s actually quite flattering! They always point out how nice my teeth look,” he said.

“That, and they say that there’s a certain appeal to the way I chew. Nakakatakam daw akong ngumuya.”

And in true content creation fashion, James Torres continues to do what his viewers love seeing him do. Travel, eat, chew, and show his teeth so that his viewers will be enticed to go on a food adventure themselves.

Torres has only been creating content for a little shy of two years, mostly revolving around many food adventures and craving-inducing moments. As he continues his social media journey, the goal is to find a way to bring food and jokes together and create a way to bring joy to the less-fortunate.

“I’ve always loved cooking and eating. I’ve also loved vlogging mainly because I know I can help spread good vibes and happiness through simple content. Now, I want to help people,” Torres said.

“Many people in the country aren’t able to eat multiple meals a day; some may not have a place to sleep or live. Social media has a big impact on many things, and that’s how I want to use my platform. I’d like to be known as the Bite King who takes a bite out of cooking, eating, and helping. Hopefully, my content brings joy and positivity. When I tell them jokes or show me eating their favorite foods, I hope they feel less sad and alone,” he added.

Follow Bite King James Torres’ journey on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, @jamesboyyy.


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