If you get goosebumps on your arms and feel tingles across your scalp when someone whispers in your ear or turns the pages of a book, you're not alone. You're in the segment of the population that experiences ASMR (aka autonomous sensory meridian response), and luckily, there are countless places to get your kicks online. Every day, creators post hundreds of videos to YouTube full of quiet ASMR "triggers," in which they drag their fingers across felt, crinkle up pieces of foil, whisper while giving you a pretend dental exam, or rub a hairbrush across a microphone. ASMR videos have become a fascination, even for people who don't experience the giddy, warm, tingling sensation that apparently accompanies them.
ASMR videos run the gamut thematically, but one of the most intriguing genres—to me, at least—is food. Some food ASMR creators capture the sound of meals being prepared, with all the boiling, chopping, and whisking you'd expect. Others lay out spreads of crunchy, chewy, or gelatinous edibles and eat them next to a microphone. Warning: This latter category is not for people with misophonia, the term for a violent negative reaction to the sound of mouth-related noises. (For reference, if you have this, you're probably unable to withstand any scene set in a hot tub on The Bachelor. Are the mics directly inside their mouths?)
But if you're open to listening intently while a woman eats a bag of Takis, this odd genre of video can be intensely satisfying and fun. Whether you're a food ASMR newbie or a longtime listener, some of these should tickle—or tingle—your fancy.
On his absurdly popular feed, Zach Choi plows through heaping piles of junk food: Fried chicken sandwiches, onion rings, and waffle fries. The unhealthiness of the food isn’t entirely his fault—breading has a particular sonic texture that’s hard to replicate. I’m very partial to this clip, in which he and a friend plow through some ultra-crispy Korean mozzarella corn dogs.
Spirit Payton calls herself the “queen of ASMR,” and who are we to argue? (She’s a regular fixture in Twitter memes.) Unlike Zach, most of Spirit’s meals are fairly simple: Yes, sometimes she tapes herself eating a masssive plate of crab legs, but other times it’s an ordinary breakfast, like a vegetarian egg and cheese sandwich, with her whispering in between bites. The charm of Spirit’s videos is that they feel like sitting with a friend in her kitchen, and she’s keeping her voice down because everyone else in the house is napping.
Run by a “sourdough and panettone enthusiast” (relatable), this Malaysian account is devoted primarily to cutting through loaves of rustic, crusty bread. It’s a very elegant experience overall—I think Martha would approve. This clip, starring a sourdough with toasted seaweed and sesame seeds, has an especially nice resonance.
Naomi MacRae’s account has plenty of visual appeal: She favors monochromatic landscapes of jellies, gummies, and candies, with an eye for bright colors and lots of bouncy texture. Though it’s color-free, I’m partial to this video, since you can watch her teeth slide right through the clear gummies. (As you might have noticed, it’s really hard to describe these videos without sounding like a weirdo.)
Not all food ASMR is a celebration of trans fats: The lipsticked woman behind this account loves to do audio-packed eating fests involving massive fruit trays or whole vegetables. (But yes, there are some pizzas and cakes thrown in for good measure.) Here’s a video of her absolutely demolishing some green veggies—her mother must be so proud.
The @mrs_macarons account is a dream for anyone who loves food ASMR but is grossed out by chewing noises—this Korean creator focuses solely on the sounds of cooking and prepping. That means the crispness of a cleaver slicing through a raw onion, the sizzle of meat, and the bubble of a piping-hot broth. There’s even gentle classical music in the background to make things even more relaxing. This video has it all—the gentle rasp of a carrot being peeled, a cleaver thwacking a cutting board, and the sizzle of raw egg hitting a cast-iron pan.
The bulk of food ASMR videos revolve around the foods that college students love: Burgers, fries, pizza. And yes, @asmrfoodyofficial hits all those classics, but she differentiates herself by eating things that also don’t seem edible. Think a cake designed to look like a toy car, an edible Xbox controller, and what appears to be Christmas ornaments. (Don’t worry, they’re candy.)