Japanese Food TikToker Bayashi On ASMR And The Joys Of Deep-Frying - Exclusive Interview

The second you see one of Bayashi's TikToks, you want to know more about him. Who is this mysterious man with the wide, almost Joker-like smile making ASMR cooking videos? How is he so fit-looking when all of his videos feature him making and eating deep-fried foods with copious amounts of pork, melted cheese, and eggs? How did he amass 38 million followers and counting by making such niche content?

We encountered Bayashi when he was featured as one of the foodies on TikTok's 2022 Discover List. The list highlights creators who are doing something novel with the platform, and Bayashi definitely qualifies; we've never seen anything quite like his videos before. For people in the English-speaking world, Bayashi is doubly mysterious — because until now, there has been very little information about him published in English. That's why we were so happy to be able to conduct an exclusive interview with him. We learned a lot about what makes Bayashi tick, but this personal trainer turned low-carb ASMR mukbang influencer retains his air of mystery.

Bayashi's origin story and favorite foods

As a former personal trainer, how did you end up cooking such indulgent food?

I have been restricting carbohydrates in my diet since becoming a personal trainer. A few years ago, moku-ban (mukbang) started to become popular, but I had not seen anyone doing a moku-ban on the theme of carbohydrate restriction. I took advantage of this opportunity and relied on meat, cheese, and eggs, which contain almost no carbohydrates, so I used them lavishly — which inspired my current cooking style.

Certain ingredients show up over and over in your videos, including cheese, natto, and runny egg yolks. How did you pick these ingredients?

These are ingredients that are low in carbohydrates and enjoyed by the audience. It is very common in Japan to eat raw egg yolks, but it is surprising for people overseas who are not used to them. The comments section generates both pros and cons of the ingredients, which leads to a buzz.

What's your favorite egg recipe?

Egg sandwiches.

What's your favorite way to cook with cheese?

I like combining fried food and cheese.

You do a lot of deep-frying in your videos. Do you have any tips for deep-frying at home?

The trick to doing it well is to pay attention to the numbers. Deep-frying takes practice. I make fried food every week, and I'm getting better at it.

How he chose his aesthetic

How did you become a content creator? Did you think you'd be able to do it full-time?

I decided to become a content creator after I lost my job as a personal trainer since the company I was working for was going through bankruptcy. While I was a personal trainer, I also created YouTube videos for the company by filming and editing content. Since I had the basic fundamentals of content creation, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to create my own content — I never dreamed that I would be able to do it full-time.

Did it surprise you how quickly you became popular?

I have been posting on TikTok with the sole intention of getting a lot of buzz. However, since buzz is synonymous with popularity, I'm not sure when I first became popular.

What drew you to the ASMR video genre? Do you feel the effects of watching ASMR videos yourself?

The reason I was drawn to ASMR in the first place was because I knew I could do it. I had just lost my job as a personal trainer and was looking for a genre that I could contribute to. I never really liked ASMR, but I watched it often. I asked myself, "What's so good about ASMR? Why is it so popular?" After watching a lot of these videos, I began incorporating ASMR into my content. Now I like watching short ASMR videos for research purposes.

Do you view your videos as educational recipe content in addition to their ASMR value?

I like to consider my content as "food entertainment." I create content that I enjoy making and something that my audience can enjoy as well.

His cookbook and his hopes for the future

Did you take culinary classes, or are you self-taught?

I am self-taught. I will often look up to other cooks for inspiration.

What's the name of your cookbook? Twitter translated the title to "The ultimate meal that makes you hungry even though it's a meal terrorism, Bayashi's ultra-low sugar recipe," which doesn't seem right.

"The ultimate meal that makes you hungry even though it's extreme. Bayashi's ultra low-carb recipes."

Would you ever consider opening a restaurant?

I would like to create a restaurant delivery service where people can eat dishes that I create.

You always have a distinctive wide smile on your face in your videos. How did you figure out your video presentation and style?

At first, I was shy and reserved. However, viewers commented on my videos, saying, "I like how you smile when you eat!" This allowed me to open up and make my expressions more dynamic. As for video presentations, I value the basics, considering the camera positioning, lighting, etc. To make short, informative, and easy-to-watch videos, I rely on my expression and presentation to make the content enjoyable and fun for the audience.

Follow Bayashi on TikTok to stay up-to-date with his content. You can also visit his website to learn more.

This interview has been edited for clarity.