Janchi Guksu (잔치국수)
Noodles in Anchovy Broth
“Rather than vegetables, you should cook and eat the meat first to let the juices that come out of the meat, seep into the broth. Meat, vegetables, meat – in that order.”
Soo Kyung’s evening of “Walking Dead” with chicken and beer is interrupted by a dispute between her friend, Kyung Mi and her husband, Kyu Sik, who is also Soo Kyung’s co-worker. Soo Kyung ends up wandering the streets with her Pomeranian, Barassi, to allow the couple to work out their differences in her apartment. Her nose leads her to a food tent (포장마차) where she excitedly consumes Janchi Guksu, noodles in anchovy broth.
Soo Kyung’s neighbour, Dae Young arrives at the food tent just as she emerges from her feeding frenzy. Soo Kyung is instantly irritated by the affable insurance broker, and threatens physical violence before leaving in a huff.
Dae Young returns home to the sounds of Kyung Mi and Kyu Sik having make up sex in Soo Kyung’s apartment. However, Dae Young assumes that Soo Kyung is a participant, unaware that she is working out at an exercise park while grumbling about the need for insurance.
Soo Kyung’s frustration only grows when she returns to find all her chicken and beer consumed, and her home heating cranked up. Then, her other neighbour, Jin Yi comes looking for comfort during a thunderstorm. She scurries into bed with Soo Kyung, and fulfills her dream of talking about orgasms with an onni, regardless of Soo Kyung being too busy nodding off to respond.
At Soo Kyung’s workplace, it comes to light that Attorney Kim attended the same university as her. Attorney Kim claims he was not acquainted with Soo Kyung back then. However, in flashback, a dorky Attorney Kim stares longingly at Soo Kyung as other male students call her name with enthusiasm.
Dae Young meets with Attorney Kim about a business partnership. Attorney Kim is perturbed by Dae Young’s familiarity with Soo Kyung, but reassured when Dae Young claims that Soo Kyung doesn’t like him. This is backed up when Soo Kyung comes barrelling in, complaining of Dae Young’s harassment. Dae Young smoothly proposes that they continue discussions over dinner, his treat. When he suggests shabu shabu, Soo Kyung promptly cancels her plans to watch TV.
At dinner, Dae Young launches into a lesson on the best order to cook shabu shabu. Everyone becomes giggly and orgasmic from eating. When the steam clears, Soo Kyung and Dae Young are the only ones still scraping the bottom of the pan. Kyu Sik mischievously suggests they date, which annoys Soo Kyung. Attorney Kim appears alarmed by the idea, then horrified when Dae Young claims that he heard Soo Kyung with a boyfriend. Soo Kyung quickly realizes that Kyu Sik and Kyung Mi had makeup sex in her apartment. However, she directs her wrath at Dae Young for eavesdropping. When Dae Young accuses her of loud snoring, Soo Kyung abruptly leaves.
It has been a day of rejection for Jin Yi: Dae Young rebuffs her feelings for him, her credit cards are suspended, and her friends are too busy to attend her Christmas party. Through it all, Jin Yi looks on the bright side of the situation. When she catches Soo Kyung in the hallway, Jin Yi proposes reading mangas all night – another dream of hers. A peevish Soo Kyung coldly demands privacy, and Jin Yi’s face collapses only briefly before she takes this latest rejection as an etiquette lesson, and cheerfully thanks Soo Kyung. Once alone in her apartment, Jin Yi cries into her manga, and adds this heartbreak to her Independent Life Bucket List.
Back in her apartment, Soo Kyung is stuffing her face with snacks and beer in front of the TV. Perhaps not surprisingly, she starts to experience discomfort. Her moans of distress are heard by Dae Young, and he mistakes it for proof of a boyfriend. However, Barassi’s barking causes him to take the issue seriously. He manages to enter Soo Kyung’s apartment, and carries her directly to the hospital.
Soo Kyung, the hermit glutton, wakes up after appendicitis surgery with Jin Yi and Dae Young by her bedside. Soo Kyung is forced to admit to Dae Young that she lied about having insurance. Later, alone in the hospital, she cannot help, but smile at photos of Jin Yi and Dae Young taking care of Barassi. Kyung Mi encourages her to express her gratitude to her neighbours, and become closer with them.
Unfortunately, Soo Kyung returns to find Barassi wandering in a ridiculous outfit, and her neighbours laughing over a video of her snoring. When Dae Young brings up insurance again and Jin Yi reveals her dream of holding a hospital discharge party, Soo Kyung marches away in a huff, scoffing at the idea of getting close with either of them.
Epilogue: Soo Kyung discovers that her favourite blogger went to the same shabu shabu restaurant as her. Meanwhile, a college student is the latest victim of the “don’t ask” assailant.
There were many things I liked about this episode. The opening scene featuring the three main characters’ approaches to coming out of the bathroom nude demonstrated their differences perfectly. Soo Kyung’s no-nonsense response to Kyung Mi’s idealized view of singledom, and Jin Yi’s pluckiness in the face of difficulties were also positives. The worst part of this episode was the ongoing joke about Attorney Oh’s looks and self-delusion. I may have to simply avoid any reference to the character in future recaps.
They were skimpy on the featured dishes, though the food porn sequences were still very pretty.
Janchi Guksu (잔치국수)
I have hot pot regularly in the winter time, which can last up to six months of the year in Toronto. I must admit that I usually start cooking with vegetables, but I’ll take Dae Young’s advice next time. I have never tried finishing up with rice porridge, because I usually do not have any room left in my stomach.