Maithel Sampigat, 31, is a YouTube content creator.


Meet the Filipino Muslim mukbang YouTuber from Dubai


DUBAI – She has wolfed down a bucket of Chicking fried chicken, a one-kilo catfish cooked in soy sauce and other kinds of food that would make anyone drool. And there is no stopping Dubai-based YouTuber Maithel Sampigat, who is happy to take it “one big bite” at a time.

The star of the YouTube channel Maithel’s One Big Bite has slowly but steadily gained a following in the last three months since she has started doing mukbang, a Korean-inspired phenomenon where people film themselves eating large amounts of food. Sampigat is believed to be the first Filipino Muslim in Dubai to do a mukbang YouTube show.

“I always feel hungry while watching you,” one of her followers commented in her recent video, echoing similar sentiments from her global, food-loving fans.

Sampigat, a Muslim from Cotabato City in the Philippines, says she started doing mukbang videos as a way to escape boredom during her Sunday days off. The Filipina works as a nanny in Dubai.

In an exclusive interview, Sampigat said she flew to Dubai ten years ago to find greener pastures.

“The main goal was to earn money for my studies because I didn’t finish college,” she said, adding that she spent only two months in culinary school before dropping out because “it was too expensive”.

Life in cosmopolitan Dubai was a whole new world for Sampigat on her first year here, but her relatives here made her feel welcome. She has uncles, aunts and cousins in the emirate.

“My day off is every Sunday. My friends and relatives have their day off on Fridays so I am alone on Sundays. Because I am always alone I thought of doing mukbang,” she said.

“I really love food. I love cooking,” she said, explaining why mukbang is her perfect stress reliever.

The 31-year-old food lover says she cooks the food featured in her mukbang most of the time, but at times, she just buys them. Just like the bucket of chicken she bought at Chicking earlier in November.

“I came from the consulate to renew my passport. It was raining. I was so tired. I thought I didn’t have time to cook. On the Metro link, I saw Chicking. I bought the Dh30.75 bucket with 9 pieces of chicken,” she said, adding that she was worried that the chicken wouldn’t taste so good after she got stuck in a one-hour taxi ride due to the rain.

She was pleasantly surprised when she filmed her mukbang after arriving home. “At first bite I was very, very shocked because it was crispy and yummy,” she said.

Sampigat says she plans to grow her YouTube page, and also start studying again next year. She also wants to showcase the various regional food from the Philippines, particularly delicacies from the Muslim parts of Mindanao.

“I want to show people that Mindanao is not like what they think. There’s a lot of beautiful things that are happening in Mindanao. I want to promote the food, the people, the tradition of being Muslim and the Mindanao tradition,” she said.

First on her list is tinagtag, a delicacy from Maguindanao, which is made of ground rice and sugar. She also wants to feature dodol, a desert that is popular in Maranao province and is made from sticky rice flour, coconut milk and sugar, and cooked for six hours.

Sampigat believes she can definitely make all her plans happen. After all, she’s already begun doing it–one big bite at a time. ICA/Expat Media


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