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AroundMeBD’s extravagant and oddly satisfying videos have created a lucrative cooking empire

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  1. skybrian
    From the article: [...] [...]

    From the article:

    The videos, depicting a community kitchen in Shimulia producing gargantuan quantities of food, are extravagant: meals include 14 full goat intestines, 50 country ducks, a 185-pound vanilla cake, or a 650-pound water buffalo.

    The channel behind this operation is called AroundMeBD, and its success has created a whole new economy in Shimulia, which has since been dubbed the YouTube village of Bangladesh.

    The YouTube village is a prominent example of a niche but is also part of a growing online trend across South Asia: As the internet reaches villages, rural societies are finding ways to showcase and monetize their unique food cultures to audiences across the world, using platforms like YouTube and Facebook. In India, Village Cooking Channel, which posts videos of large-scale traditional cooking, has over 15 million subscribers. In Pakistan, Village Food Secrets has 3.5 million subscribers. Villagers who previously had little presence in media are now using these platforms to take ownership of the way their culture is portrayed — and building businesses that support dozens, and occasionally hundreds, of individuals.


    The huge size of the dishes is not about the unrestrained indulgence one sees in South Korea’s mukbang eating challenges, but an act of philanthropy. “All villagers — irrespective of their financial condition, creeds, religions — can come here and eat the food [that’s cooked for the videos],” Hussain said.


    “My telephone number is given to several markets in Dhaka; they call me if there is any special fish,” Khan said. Fishmongers often call him on IMO or WhatsApp when they’ve found particularly large specimens. “When the price is right, they send it over,” Khan said. He settles up through Bkash, a near-ubiquitous mobile money service in Bangladesh.

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