Where to Follow Hungry Fam
Over the past year, parents have adapted — sometimes beautifully, sometimes begrudgingly — to working from home with their children. For Julie and Sonsern Lin (aka Umma and Appa), the pandemic's mandatory stay-at-home orders presented a unique opportunity to grow their family's newfound fame on social media. Together with their 2-year-old daughter, Sarang, the Irvine, CA-based Lins are known as Hungry Fam, and their main TikTok channel boasts 1.6 million followers and nearly 40 million likes . . . and that's not even including the tens of thousands of followers on their individual accounts.
What's so compelling about Hungry Fam? Their videos feature Sarang eating various foods, from fast-food fries to A5 Wagyu steak — and she is stoked. While so many parents struggle with getting toddlers to eat, well, anything, Sarang can be seen chomping into fish eggs (just like "popping boba!" Sonsern tells her) and fermented soybean. OK, she was a bit hesitant about the octopus leg — she has her limits.
While the Hungry Fam account has been around since 2018, the unexpected time at home meant corporate lawyer Julie and stay-at-home dad Sonsern had more time to dedicate to building their following. "Because of the pandemic, I had to work from home for quite a bit of time, which allowed me to create more content and spend time with her and create memories," Julie told POPSUGAR. Sonsern added, "It allowed us to do a lot of indoor activities, which turned into great content."
"You would only want to give the best to your kids and something about us allowing our daughter to try different types of foods creates a deeper relationship for people who watch."
Hungry Fam take connecting with fans seriously, especially because so many of them reach out asking Sarang to try food that is important to them. "Our audience resonates with us because we're introducing different types of food to our daughter," Julie said. "You would only want to give the best to your kids and something about us allowing our daughter to try different types of foods creates a deeper relationship for people who watch because they feel, 'Oh, my culture's food is worthy enough for you to have your daughter try it.' For me being an immigrant, growing up in Korea, it was only Korean food because Korea was so poor at that time and not open to other countries coming in. Trying [other food] was a big deal. That's how I was able to connect with Mexican [culture], Vietnamese, Japanese, and everywhere. That sense of connection is what I see a lot of with our followers."
"There's something special about watching other people eat your culture's food," Sonsern said. "People really enjoy the act of eating and it allows us to connect with our following."
Social distancing has led fans to be particularly respectful of the family's space. When people do approach them — which happens "quite frequently," according to Julie — they are more hesitant. Still, Julie and Sonsern are prudent about protecting their family's privacy. "We love to capture these fun moments in a structured way, but we're not the type of people to Story whatever is happening in the moment then post it," Sonsern said. "We're always careful to hold off and never share our current location."
Both Julie and Sonsern have strong memories associated with food, though they are quite different! "I grew up in the very rural tip of South Korea," Julie said. "A guest came over and brought us Korean barbecue — grilled duck. It felt like heaven. I will never forget that moment, but now when I try grilled duck, it's not as good as I remember! During that time meat was so precious."
Meanwhile, Sonsern's most vivid food memory involved a school field trip to McDonald's: "I remember collecting everyone's leftover french fries after the meal and putting them in the big bag," he said. "I remember it being a very special moment to have unlimited fries for the whole trip." That love of french fries has definitely been passed on to Sarang. The Lins have been able to try amazing foods in Las Vegas and Hawaii thanks to their channels, but french fries are the delicacy that appears most!
As for the future, the Lins are hoping to make use of Sarang's annual Disneyland pass — she has developed an affinity for princesses. No big trips are on the horizon, as Julie is due with a baby brother for Sarang this summer! Until then, take a look at Julie and Sarang's favourite videos and find out where to follow them.