Your Guide to DC’s Eating TikTok Universe

Photos courtesy of Tiktok.

Meet Mukbang’s enthusiast, the high school chef and seven other personalities to find out.

The Suburbs

CK and Diana Nguyen | @hypefoodies


#manassasva #novacheck #manassasvirginia #grocerystore

♬ original sound – Hypefoodies

This Springfield pair has been posting videos of a TikTok-style vlog since 2019, giving a boost to sub-radar suburban eateries on the platform. Short clips filmed by iPhone featured locations like an Indian restaurant hidden inside a Vienna gas station or a strip mall dim sum location in Rockville. In addition to showing the food, the behavioral analyst (Diana) and filmmaker (CK) try to give some background on the dishes they are trying. “For my voiceovers, one of my biggest inspirations is Anthony Bourdain,” says CK. “I try to be informative and respect the culture of the food.”

The Whippersnapper

Milan Bhayana | @lilchefmil


Perfect paella #paella #spanishfood #shrimp #clams #rizo #foodtok #lilchefmil #milantok #yummy

♬ original sound – Milan Bhayana

Bethesda – Chevy Chase High School sophomore started at TikTok last November when Sister Malaika posted a video of her beef Wellington, asking for a reaction from Gordon Ramsay. Although the famous chef never responded, thousands of viewers did, launching Milan’s career as a culinary creator. (He now has more than 700,000 followers.) Malaika tells videos showing the 16-year-old’s delicate process, which involves whipping marshmallows from scratch and wielding a blowtorch to a char baked Alaska. Now he and mom Chandrani Ghosh are part of the cast this season Top Chef Family Style.

The Savior

Caroline Ponseti | @thethriftyspoon


nothing like a dupont circle view 🥂 #gifted #dcdrinks #dchotel #dchappyhour #dupontcircle


Underlining restaurants has been Ponseti’s trademark on Instagram since 2017, but Dupont Circle’s communications strategist began migrating his budget recommendations to TikTok in February. She scans through restaurant menus to find tips (the Wharf’s fish market offers affordable oysters) and tricks (go for a wine carafe instead of a bottle at Le Diplomate). Of course, happy hours are content-rich, with videos advertising drinks for when you only need a cocktail on Monday. . . or at sunset. . . or with food. . . or all night. . . .

The Comfort Food Mom

Angela Payton | @auntiebstay


Auntie’s Honey Garlic Shish Kabobs #honey #lay #meat #fyp #viral #gordonramsay #fun #easy recipes #memade #dc #dmv #eat #summer #bbq #vibes #fun

♬ original sound – All Favorite Aunt

She’s known as “every favorite aunt” at TikTok, but it was Payton’s teenage daughter who actually got her into the app in June 2020: “My daughter said,‘ Mom, you’re cooking and you’re fun— TikTok is the new wave. ‘”In fact, each video begins with a back-and-forth prank between the Southeast DC resident and her children. any grocery store.In September, the behavior technician post-day did it on real TV, teaching Jerry Springer how to make peanut butter ice cream.

The Jelpisto

Alex Schroeder | @alexeating


Or Old Ebbit Grill 😒 #WashingtonDC #DCTok

♬ Mario Kart Go Brrrr – Breye

Curious whether his experience as a Yelp reviewer will translate into video, this realtor jumped on TikTok last fall to document his positive experiences at restaurants. He trots around the city to discover new places, covering such topics as rendezvous ideas and outdoor dining. The most rewarding part? When companies get to thank him for bringing in new customers. Schroeder is also a founding member of DMV Besties, a collective of Washington-focused TikTokers organizing IRL meetings to explore the city.

The Mukbang Enthusiast

Gabby Eniclerico | @ slothgirl420

@ slothgirl420

BAGEL HEHE #fyp #mukbang #eatingshow #mukbangeatingshow #asmr #eatingshowmukbang #eatingshowasmr #mukbangs

♬ original sound – Gabby Eniclerico

The specialty of this 26-year-old is mukbangs, a genre of online video in which viewers tune in to watch a creator eat (heartily and noisily) at a camera. Eniclerico’s version often lights up local restaurants – slanting ramen from Bantam King or diving into Little Sesame’s hummus bowls – while chatting to the camera as if she were eating with a friend. The legal assistant’s soaring brand (and more than 919,000 followers) attracted the attention of advertisers, garnering sponsors from Thrive Market and Chipotle. But Eniclerico says it is as she eats that caught fans: “I don’t chew much. When I eat, I get so excited. I think that’s why I started going viral — people were just confused by my eating style. “

The Alton-Brown-in-Training

Jeremy Check | @scheckeats


I miss these nails tbh #carbonara #bucatiniallacarbonara #paste #rome #rome #italian #italianfood #guanciale

♬ Cookie – Jeff Kaale

The very popular Scheck learned to cook by watching YouTube videos. Now the 21-year-old Bethesda native is the one in front of the camera, teaching more than 2.1 million followers how to roll dough and roast a whole chicken. The college student turned to TikTok at the start of the pandemic, playing the pleasant host as he delivered his lessons on fried rice and cake. “I don’t want it to be just food stuff,” Scheck told us last year. “I want it to be ‘Why are we doing this?’ I like to understand science. ”

The Food Fanatic

Joel Haas | @fast food

@fast food

Old Ebbitt Grill #Takeout Dinner #washingondc #dmv #fast food #docueatery #burger #swordfish #salad

♬ original sound – Joel Haas

If you can’t catch a reservation at DC’s Michelin-starred restaurants, head to the Haas canal, where he invites the crowds into the city’s most exclusive dining rooms. The former radio presenter and comedy producer wears a reverse microphone to record voice transfers at each location with a Michelin star, speaking to viewers via tasting menus. (He films 60 to 90 minutes of video per meal.) “I’m a entertainer and performer first,” says Haas. “The restaurant is my stage, the food is my backing.” He found that the more extravagant the dish — tuna charred on a grill at Del Mar, nitrogen floating over dessert at El Cielo — the greater the social noise.

This article appears in the November 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

Assistant Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in August 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied journalism and digital culture.

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