Friday Feature: Food, glorious food

What makes a meal memorable? Sometimes it’s the people at the table, sometimes it’s what happens while you eat, and sometimes it’s even the food. Let’s commemorate my constant hunger by taking a look at our favourite K-drama meals.

Let’s Eat

dae young eats eel
“Let’s Eat” breaks new ground in the food drama genre, in that no one on the show cooks (Lee Soo Kyung’s mother excepted). Instead, it’s about nothing but enjoying glorious meals, like the glorious crabs marinated in soy sauce, or the glorious eel barbecue, or the glorious budae jjigae, or the glorious jokbal, or the glorious seafood stew from the first episode. Nothing much happens, but who cares? Our attention is riveted to the extended meal scenes, where each character eats with a gusto normally reserved for a different type of activity. If you think it’s weird that JK and I tracked down and ate some of the foods we’ve seen on the show, consider that in Korea, it’s now a legitimate craze. If you want to try doing the same, check out our “Let’s Eat” checklist and food gallery. – Only 만

School 2013

When Heung Soo (Kim Woo Bin) first arrives at Nam Soon’s (Lee Jong Suk) high school, everyone thinks that the silently menacing Heung Soo is the new top dog, because Nam Soon buys him snacks and gives him his lunch. What follows is lots of fighting and crying between the two frenemies, but we know that they are well on their way to becoming besties again when they relent to having ramen together. The snapshot Nam Soon and Heung Soo take of this historic moment is supposedly for their teacher who forced them to eat together, but it’s also the perfect photo to accompany a fitting Facebook status update: It’s Complicated (see Tumblr). – Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다

My Love from the Stars

Cheon Song Yi chicken
As an actress, Cheon Song Yi (Gianna Jun) has a highly restricted diet, so when her career goes down the tubes, she takes the opportunity to eat all the foods she missed out on over the years. Her number one comfort food? Chi-maek, fried chicken and beer. She not only eats fried chicken when she loses her part in a drama, but she also demands it when she’s locked up in Do Min Joon’s (Kim Soo Hyun) house, and even gets her dad to deliver it to her in the hospital. Do Min Joon may be the love of her life, but it’s chi-maek she reaches for when the going gets tough.

Thanks to her enthusiasm, love of chi-maek has reached fever pitch in China, where people are lining up for hours at Korean fried chicken restaurants. And in case your hometown chicken and beer spots don’t cut it, visit Daegu in South Korea this summer to hit up the Daegu Chicken and Beer Festival. –

The Heirs

Young Do enjoys ramen
You can always count on chaebol high school bully, Young Do (Kim Woo Bin) to liven up any meal. In the school lunchroom, he reserves a special seat for his victim of choice who is pelted with food and insults as he or she eats. While dining with his future stepmom and stepsister, Young Do recounts his father’s many ex-girlfriends, then later invites one to the family portrait session.

However, ramen is Young Do’s downfall. He is inexplicably drawn to a housekeeper’s weepy daughter (Park Shin Hye) while eating instant ramen at the neighbourhood convenience store. He later gives up Weepy to his rival Kim Tan over a meal of ramen. Most regrettably, Young Do missed a final meeting with his absent mother at a ramen restaurant. On the plus side, Young Do can blame the ramen for his puffy, tear stained face. – 중국어 캐나다

I Hear Your Voice

ihyv dog food
Not one of the most appetizing meals on the list but, one of the more memorable. Despite being the mascot of her mother’s fried chicken restaurant, Jang Hye Sung (Lee Bo Young) can’t, or won’t, cook, and eats “creative” combinations of prepared foods. This meal, thrown together from the dregs of Park Soo Ha’s (Lee Jong Suk) fridge, consisted of packaged rice, canned tuna, gochujang (Korean chili paste) and sesame oil. He calls it dog food, she calls it dinner. – 만

First Shop of Coffee Prince

When Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) challenges her sister, Eun Sae’s suitor, Min Yup to a jjajangmyun eating contest, Min Yup the Gorilla could never have guessed how stacked the odds were against him. Min Yup starts with relish whereas Eun Chan is slow and steady in shovelling the noodles into her mouth. Three bowls in, Min Yup is already breaking out into fear sweat. Eun Sae clearly has her sister’s back when she pours fruit yogurt into Min Yup’s noodles under the guise of helping him. Eun Chan makes liberal use of the yogurt in her own food, and Min Yup runs crying for the washroom. With this introduction to jjajangmyun, along with an earlier scene in which Eun Chan delivers the black bean noodles to a post-shower Han Gyul (Gong Yoo), how could I not want some? – 중국어 캐나다

City Hunter

lee min ho eats
Kidnapped by family friend and revenge seeker Lee Jin Pyo (Kim Sang Joong) at birth, and taken off to Thailand, Lee Yoon Seong (Lee Min Ho) finally tastes Korean food for the first time when Bae Shik Joong (Kim Sang Ho) cooks a meal in exchange for his life. The taste of home proves too much for the soon-to-be City Hunter, who waxes rhapsodic while shovelling jjampong and kimchi and rice into his face at an alarming rate. It’s a question of love over table manners. – 만

Readers: what is the most memorable dish you’ve seen in a K-drama?

Describe something delicious in the Comments below, then list the sad reality in your fridge.

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