Pop Culture

The Magical World of Tiny Food Videos

April 24, 2018

Less than a year ago, we mused on the sudden ubiquity of tiny food videos. Our social media timelines, it seemed, became digital receptacles for a whole new swath of viral content—tiny foods coming to life in tiny kitchens. What is this, we wondered, a kitchen for ants?! Perhaps.

Though somewhat strange, the style—which has roots in Japanese and Korean videos of a similar ilk—caught on. Since then, they’ve become an almost permanent fixture of my feed. It seems like they're here to stay. And thank goodness, because I love watching them.

Like any good cultural thing, a documentary is in order; in this case, a tiny documentary about tiny foods. Insider has graced us with How Tiny Food Videos Are Made: a peek into the world of itty bitty cooking. If you love the videos, then you’ll love learning more about their creators.

Insider talks to a cast of different content creators, most of whom got involved with tiny cooking videos around two to three years ago. Featured accounts include The Tiny Foods, which bills itself as “India's 1st Outdoor Tiny Food Cooking Youtube Channel,” and Wendy Mini City, who boasts upwards of 171,000 followers on Instagram. They both bring unique aesthetics to the practice, yet express a shared adoration for the form. As Walking With Giants, another creator, says about the genre: “It’s hilarious, it’s weird, it’s obnoxious, it’s silly, and that’s what it’s meant to be.”

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Getting to see some of the faces behind the hands—and tiny stoves!—is gratifying. It’s astounding, as well, to realize how much effort and craft goes into each video—hours of concentration for a few minutes of visual satisfaction. But there is a community for it. According to the piece, 131,000 people have hashtagged #miniaturefood, while some of the YouTube channels have view counts that teeter into the millions.

Do you have a favorite tiny food account? Share who you can't get enough of in the comments.

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Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.