Juri Imao’s ‘dabog’-style reels a hit with viewers

Food content creator Juri Imao’s ‘dabog’-style reels a hit with viewers

/ 12:20 AM December 27, 2023

Juri Imao (left) with Japanese food content creator Bayashi

Juri Imao (left) with Japanese food content creator Bayashi —CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Get to know Juri Imao, the chef grandson of National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao, who doesn’t even have formal culinary training but has millions of followers and views for his minute-long reels.

Cooking demos have changed dramatically since Julia Child began teaching viewers everything from how to whip up a basic omelet—incidentally her first dish—to how to prepare a boozy beef bourguignon. “The French Chef,” the TV show she created and that ran for 10 years from 1963 to 1973, was a first of its kind.


In each half-hour long episode, Child presented a careful step-by-step process on how to cook French dishes that American viewers could replicate—or attempt to replicate—in their own homes. She would talk to the cameras while spatchcocking a chicken or making one of the famed butter-rich French sauces.


Fast-forward 50 years to 2023 where minute-long cooking reels on TikTok and Instagram now reach millions of viewers. The clips are then often shared thousands of times. Instead of explaining the recipe, these food content creators often just upload tightly edited clips that show them slicing and searing, frying and grilling.

It’s a method perfected by Chinese-Italian foodie Owen Han who has over 300 reels. On his Instagram account (@owen.han), his 1.5 million followers avidly await his sandwich-making skills.

Immediate gratification

Closer to home, Juri Imao (@jujumaoo)—grandson of National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao—is one of the more popular food content creators in the country with 2.5 million TikTok followers who have collectively liked his 115 reels close to 54 million times.

The 27-year-old graduate of Ateneo de Manila has always been interested in cooking, but admitted to having no culinary training. In college, he took up business management to please his parents, and later on was offered a job in real estate by one of his friends.

“In my line of work, I learned how to talk to different people. I think it helped make me feel more comfortable speaking in front of the camera,” he said.

He left his job during the pandemic and began casting around for work options. “I wanted to go back to the food industry, so I started sending applications to several restaurants. I didn’t hear back from any of them,” he said.


That’s when he thought to himself: why don’t I try my hand at TikTok and cook at the same time? The initial reception was immediate and gratifying. It certainly helped that Juri is easy on the eyes.

His first reel where he prepares “crablet okoy” (fritters) was uploaded in June 2022 and has since been viewed over 2 million times.

Juri Imao

Juri Imao

ASMR videos

Now, he makes it a point to upload a reel at least once a week. Just one? As it turns out, those minute-long videos take time to plan out and edit.

“I usually spend at least six hours on each video. I became known for this style of fast-paced cooking content. Some have even called it ‘dabog’ content where the cooking prep is aggressive,” he said.

His reels—like those of Owen Han and top Japanese food content creator Bayashi (@bayashi.tiktok) who has 53.8 million followers—are recorded in such a way that viewers can hear every single snap, crackle and pop. Even their sigh of contentment as they bite into their creation is designed to elicit ASMR or autonomous sensory meridian response.

ASMR is described as “a sensory phenomenon that occurs in response to low-volume audio stimuli” and can include a tingling in the scalp or neck along with a trance-like sense of relaxation.


Last May, Juri mustered the courage to reach out to Bayashi before a trip to Tokyo in Japan with fellow content creators.

“I asked him if he was willing to meet up and maybe make a video. He immediately agreed and we ended up collaborating on two videos, one for each of our TikTok accounts. In the one I uploaded, we made tuna sisig.”

Juri has since collaborated with two other Japanese content creators on TikTok, Kenty (@kenty_cook) and @omuraisupuro, who have millions of followers between them.

One of Juri’s more recent thrills came when South Korean singer Jungkook of BTS became one of his followers. “I think I’m only the second Filipino content creator Jungkook has followed back on TikTok.”

He may not have taken the traditional route in finding a job where he could use what he learned in school, but Juri is unbothered.

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“My parents have always been liberal and supportive of any artistic influence. Plus now they’re enjoying the benefits,” he quipped.

TAGS: content creator, Food

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