Sunday, 30 June 2013

K-drama review: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop ( 꽃미남 라면가게)

 Show: Flower Boy Ramyun Shop
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Lead Actors: Lee Chung Ah, Jung Il Woo and Lee Ki Woo

 Note: I do not own any of the pictures in this post.
It's time for another adorable, immensely cute and one of the funnest watches in the K-drama land. I will begin by saying that I absolutely loved watching Flower Boy Ramyun Shop. I'm telling ya, if you're at all the romantic-comedy types, watch this show without any further delay. And it'll make you laugh your head off. Before watching this show, I was just a wee bit hesistant because out of three leads in this show, I had only seen the work of Lee Ki Woo (and I had loved him). But Jung Il Woo and Lee Chung Ah were new to me. Of course, now two years later I have promptly fallen in love with all three of them and have since then watched everything with Jung Il Woo in it! :D
 So anyways, this particular show goes by multiple names like Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, Flower Boy Ramen Shop, Cool guys, hot ramen and 꽃미남 라면가게. It is a 2011 series with a total of 16 amazingly funny episodes, each one hour long. And here is the plot without giving away too much:

Yang Eun Bi
(played by Lee Chung Ah) is a 25 year old who is preparing for her civil services exam that will qualify her to become a high school teacher. That's all she wants: to have a steady goverment job, with steady goverment salary and eat rice. Her mom had died when she was just a child & now she is kinda estranged from her dad because he wanted her to take over his ramyun ("ramyun" is "ramen" in Korean) shop. It is said throughout the series that she used to be an amazing volleyball player in her high school days and had quite the temper. We see glimpses of the temper which Eun Bi tries to hold back because she has to make it big and secure in the demanding adult world.
Eun Bi and Dong Joo.
Her best friend, junior and roommate, Dong Joo, is the anti-thesis of Eun Bi. She is a year younger than our dear Eun Bi but is already a high school teacher at one of the best high schools in the country and has men falling at her feet. Eun Bi...not so much. Eun Bi has a boyfriend who doesn't respond as much to Eun Bi.

That aside, there is the very, very, very handsome (& aware of it) Cha Chi Soo (played by Jung Il Woo)
who is the sole heir to the Cha Industries. Incredibly charming and incredibly charming, he knows how to flirt and charm around anything...to the extent that he can even charm his way around his dad. Chi Soo is a high school student, in his final year who has just returned from USA.
 I was a bit worried that Cha Chi Soo might just be yet another Gu Jun Pyo but happily, he is not. Admittedly, they're both handsome and both very rich and both very aware of it...but Chi Soo is more of a flirt. Which I adore! Oh and the one million adorable facial expressions of Jung Il Woo = *swoon*
So anyways, Eun Bi and Chi Soo have a few random encounters that can only be so meangingful and funny in a good rom-com and Eun Bi end up thinking that Chi Soo is 6 years older than she is. There is a reason behind this: seeing Chi Soo so self-assured & suave, she asks him his zodiac sign (which is the Chinese zodiac, depending on the year of one's birth), and he tells her that he's a rooster. Now, Eun Bi is a rabbit which means, as per her calculations, that Chi Soo is either 6 years older or younger than her. It doesn't even occur to her that someone that much in control and self-possessed can be just a 19 year old high school kid. And then there is her shock that he looks very baby faced, assuming that he is 31!
As fate would have it, Eun Bi ends up calling Chi Soo "Oppa" in an attempt to flirt and asks him out, something he shamelessly laughs at...and the very same day she realises that the school she is interning at is (a) the school that Chi Soo is a student of, and (b) the school that the Cha empire owns.

Anyways, more confusions and hilarity later, Eun Bi's father dies, leaving her the ramyun shop (she has lost her job as the intern and is sad that there goes her chance of eating rice and has to, instead, do with ramyun). There she meets a half Korean-half Japanese & very, very, very handsome prodigy of her late dad's, the rooster who is 31 years old...Choi Kang Hyuk (played by Lee Ki Woo) who lives with her as her roommate above the ramyun shop and for some insane reason, takes care of her and insists on calling her his wife. 


More plot twists later, Eun Bi, Kang Hyuk, Chi Soo and two other guys open up and work in the ramyun shop and behave like a family. Of course.
Then we have both Chi Soo and Kang Hyuk fighting over Eun Bi. And that's when I want to be Eun Bi!


More reason to be super jealous of Eun Bi...
*distracted*

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop is a hilarious show! I love how it takes a cliched plot lines, using them and making it into something mindbogglingly funny.

I adore the part where Chi Soo, the I've-got-it-all prince that he is, is stuck in a railway platform without his cell phone or cash or warm clothes, in his pajamas (don't ask), shivering in cold where he starts asking a little girl for money who in turn wounds his pride by asking him if he's a beggar.
In the end, out of kindness, the little girl donates her Pororo blanket to him. I love how this Pororo blanket becomes a symbol of comfort and protection later on in the show to Chi Soo to the extent that his dad becomes jealous of Chi Soo's growing affection for the animated penguin!!

I won't say anything more in case I blurt out the entire story line before you watch it. But I'm telling you, if you're into food and romantic-comedies and two very hot men, do watch this show. Flower Boy Ramyun Shop is a yummylicious show!

My ratings for Flower Boy Ramyun Shop is a 9/10. Yes, this show is that funny.
Other K-drama reviews by me:

My review on the Korean film I love with Lee Ki Woo in it: The Classic.

Friday, 28 June 2013

K-drama review on Dae Jang Geum (대장금)

 Note: I do not own any of the pictures posted on this post.


I promised at least 4 K-drama review before June end and I shall do it, even if it has me reaching out to bag of chips and brewing coffee in the ungodly hours of late night. My previous review, actually, all of my perious reviews of any K-drama has been from the romantic-comedy genre, a genre which may or may not appeal to many. They do, however, make other genres in television shows in Korea and I do watch them. So here is one.

Dae Jang Geum is perhaps the first Korean drama that I have ever watched. It is an extremely popular show, has been aired in India dubbed into Hindi in Doordarshan as Ghar ka Chirag (in fact, it was this Hindi version that my mother had introduced me to...somebody had told us it was a Japanese show but then I googled it and watched the dubbed version with subtitles and discovered that it is very much Korean...and then I got hooked to watching K-dramas), in fact I remember seeing a version dubbed in Oriya as well. You'll find this show under many names like Dae Jang Geum, The Great Jang Geum, The Jewel in the Palace, 대장금 and so on.

This is a historical drama with political intrigue. I won't even attempt to go into the entire plot detail simply because it is so intricately woven and also because I don't wish to spoil the mystery for you. But I shall give you the basics...however, before I venture on to that, I should perhaps give you an extremely rough sketch of the Korean history. Now, I am just summarizing in my own breezy manner so don't go around the world quoting me. I am simply giving the jist, please feel free to Google the rest. During the reign of Joseon Dynasty (which should be around the 15th century) in Korea, was the King Seongjong who had ordered his already exiled wife Queen Jeheon (also known as Deposed Lady Queen Yun), mother of the Crowned Prince, drink poison and die. This he had done because apparently the Queen was very much the rebel, highly jealous of the King's concubines and had even scratch the King's face. The Crowned Prince, unaware of the punishment his mother was made to go through grows up believing himself to be the son of his father's next wife until one day, after his father's death, he takes over the throne and becomes King Yeonsangun. After he becomes king, he learnt the truth about his mother and well, pretty much "lost it" as they say these days. He was so disturbed after learning about how and why his mother died, that he had ordered to kill anyone who had anything at all to do with his mother's death, becoming perhaps the worst tyrant in the history of Korea. Now, Jang Guem was the first and only female Royal Physician during the Joseon Era. 

The story of this TV show begins with some royal gaurds getting and carrying out the king's orders to poison the Deposed Queen Lady Yun, after which she curses them all. Shortly afterwards, one of the royal gaurds, Seo Cheon Soo runs into a mysterious monk who predicts that three women will surround his life: one who he will be forced to kill, one who he will save and one who will the cause of his death. Sure enough, he realises (and so do we) that the prophecy has already started coming true. He had been forced to kill the Deposed Queen. He later on rescues, falls in love with and marries a gungnyeo who has fled the palce after an attempt on her life has been made (because she accidentally stumbled upon the workings of some dirty palace politics). They both live away from the village, keeping their identities a secret until one day their little daughter, Jang Geum (played by Lee Young Ae as the adult Jang Geum and Jo Jung Eun as the child Jang Geum)lets slip their true identity, causing the death of her parents. 

Thus begins the struggle of Jang Geum to make ends meet in the world. She becomes a gungnyeo like her late mother and works in the kicten. As time goes by, she becomes the Royal Physician, enraging many. That's all I am going to reveal of the story. I will tell you though that this show is an exciting one to watch. 

Dae Jang Geum first introduced me to the world of Korean food.

Since Jang Geum is a Palace Woman/Gungnyeo who works in the royal kitchen, a lot of yummy looking food is shown. In fact, I remember watching a documentary once on Korean food that credited Dae Jang Geum for promoting the Korean royal court cuisine in the rest of the world in today's age.

Watch this show if you are at all interested in historical dramas and narratives about the political power play. I really enjoyed this show.

My other K-drama reviews include:

K-drama review: Coffee Prince/ 커피프린스 1호점

Note: I do not own any of the pictures in this post.
 First of all, apologies for all those who care to read my blog for Korean drama reviews. I know I've been lagging behind with my reviews and there hasn't one up for months now and so, to make up for it, I will be coming up with at least four K-drama reviews that I think you may enjoy before June ends. Starting the list will be one of the most popular romantic-comedy (yes, again!) K-drama there is: Coffee Prince. This show goes by other names like Coffee Prince, The 1st Shop Coffee Prince and 커피프린스 1호점.

This 2007 show is spun over a total of 17 awesome episodes each one hour long. So far so good. Now as far as the basic plot goes, here it is without having to give much away:

Eun Chan & Han Gyul :)


Go Eun Chan
Go Eun Chan (played by Yoon Eun Hye) is an extremely hardworking 24 year old girl who is the sole earning member of her family of three (which is basically her mom, her younger sister Eun Sae and herself). She didn't get a chance to study a lot or dress up at all like a girl, preferring to be like a boy (we see in the very first episode that practically everyone mistakes her for a guy) as her father passed away when she was still very young & Eun Chan had to fend for her family doing an assortment of odd jobs all at once such as sewing eyes on soft toys, delivering milk early in the morning in her neighbourhood, delivering food, teaching taekwondo to kids and...warding off potential dates of our hero Choi Han Gyul (played by Gong Yoo) arranged by his grandmom by pretending to be his gay partner. Yes, as every romantic-comedy must begin with utter confusion/misunderstanding/misgiving of some sort, Han Gyul, a rich but pretty aimless in life (and handsome) 30 year old heir to a coffee shop empire mistakes her for a guy. Sick of the girls he is made to meet arranged by his imposing grandmom in order to take a wife, he hires Eun Chan, still thinking she is a guy, to act as his gay partner to shoo these women off.






Choi Han Gyul


As turns of events go, Han Gyul is made to run a coffee shop (or else he will be disinherited) on his own and Eun Chan, still keeping her gender a secret, works for him. And they fall in love, leading to a lot of confusion in terms of sexual preferences, one's own sexuality and whether the partner's gender even matters in cases of love. That's pretty much what the story is.

Except, oh wait.
 There has to be more than that if it ran for 17 whole episodes. One of the people whose house Eun Chan delivers milk to is the very charming and handsome Choi Han Seong (played by Lee Sun Kyun), Han Gyul's cousin who is the steady boyfriend of Han Gyul's unrequited love Han Yoo Joo (played by Chae Jung An). Confused? Yeah...but watch the series and it'll sort itself out. Eun Chan eventually has a thing for the understanding Han Seong which I liked but as an audience also abhorred because I know Han Gyul is our male lead. 
Han Seong
The show is called Coffee Prince because the coffee shop Han Gyul, Eun Chan and some others run is named "First Shop Coffee Prince". The term "prince" because, apparently "flower boys" are passe now (oh no, Gu Jun Pyo and Yoo Ji Hoo and Cha Chi Soo!) and it's time for coffee princes...handsome guys or princes who serve delicious coffee at this paradise shop. Which gives Eun Chan another reason to keep her gender a secret from her boss Han Gyul. Other coffee princes include: Min Yeop, Sun Ki and Ha Rim.  
 
Min Yeop

Min Yeop (played by the model Lee Eon) is a muscular guy who loves Eun Chan's sister Eun Sae (Han Yeh In) with a slave like devotion. Their side-story got mixed reaction from me. While I do fancy myself a feminist, yes, I do not, however, enjoy seeing any human being humiliated to the extent Min Yeop is by Eun Sae. Eun Sae is a little princess who must have Min Yeop running errands for her while she snubs him publically. And the fact that Min Yeop doesn't mind for most part doesn't sit too well with me. Other than that, Eun Sae's character is quite pleasant and she really cares for her sister. 
Eun Sae snubbing Min Yeop
Sun Ki!!!
Sun Ki (played by Kim Jae Wook) is a part Japanese, part Korean waffle chef at Coffee Prince. When the show began, I honestly hadn't like Sun Ki's character a lot. But by the time Coffee Prince ended, he was one of my favorite characters in the show. Sun Ki is one of the few sorted characters in the show (perhaps the only other being Coffee Prince's part owner Gae Shik). He has his own forlorn love background story but I won't get into that. I liked him because well, he doesn't see anything wrong with homosexuality but most importantly, doesn't butt in in other people's business...are you listening Ha Rim?

 Speaking of which, our last Coffee Prince: Ha Rim (played by Kim Dong Wook) 
Ha Rim
(you will recognise him as the one calling Eun Chan "My Chan"). He has known Han Gyul from before Coffee Prince opened up, is fun loving, a playboy and loves to meddle and pass his own sweet judgement. But he grows on you.

Eun Chan is pretty much the typical tough girl who needs to earn her living to support her family who has no times for the frills or the curls or the princes or the fancy balls. Han Gyul is the typical rich heir who flirts his way out of everything until he is forced to work under the age old threat of the K-drama world, aka, disinheritance. His cousin, Han Seong, is very much the Yoo Ji Hoo--the amazingly understanding guy friend who is always there for the female lead, recognizes that she is a girl (indicating that he really sees her), always understanding. So far this seems like a bit of the grown up version of Boys Before Flowers.
Han Seong & Eun Chan bonding.

However, Yoo Joo, Han Seong's girlfriend departs from the standard issue characters' norms.
Yoo Joo
She is obviously pretty, obviously flirts back a little with Han Gyul even though she clearly doesn't love him and so on. But she has character. She is independent, fiercely so. In a some ways, I find her a stronger character than Eun Chan. And despite what the first few episodes show, she isn't very much the bitch, no. She doesn't manipulate, doesn't scheme and doesn't make Eun Chan's life miserable and for this lack of female poison, I thank this drama.


Coffee Prince is an adorable show and I appreciates it not treating homosexuality as something abnormal. Watch it if you want the typical rom-com song and dance with a lot of laughter and cuteness and happy ending. 


Other K-drama reviews by me:

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

June so far...

Has not been too bad. Quite nice even. As you can all see from my header cover, and my previous post, the agenda for this month has been food. I've been eating like there's no tomorrow and now I shudder to go anywhere near the weighing scales.

Other than that, a lot of TV shows are being watched. I am presently hooked to Game of Thrones. My friend said something about this show which I found so true that I'm repeating it here. She said, "whenever you're upset or tired or irritated or something, you should watch the Game of Thrones because, well, it makes you realise that no matter what, at least your life isn't nearly half as fucked up as theirs." Word. GoT does put your life in a perspective. But it is so damn addictive. Apart from that, it's mainly been Korean dramas. Oh, which reminds me, a million reviews pending, waiting to be written and blogged about! Also, this month, twice I have had to endure the stupidity that is YJHD. I am shocked that people liked this film. Honest.

I'm hungry and will go hunt for food now. Bye!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Annoyed.

Initially I was going to write a post about a film, which will follow shortly, don't worry. But the recent turn of events have made it such that I cannot concentrate enough to write impassively about anything. For I am annoyed beyond anything. And it is taking great self control not to getting up, shoot scalding, stinging words from my mouth, throw things at someone and, finally, walk out.

My space has been taken away. My room, the one place on earth where I can sit peacefully with myself and my thoughts and stare into nothingness. I am being ridiculed and forced to blabber and blabber like an idiot whilst I listen to others' blabbering. I don't mind blabbering usually but I need the me-time. And I won't mind if you're there if you just shut the hell up and let me be for like fifteen minutes! I fight my tears as I write all this down...stupid tear glands.

Virginia Woolf was correct about having a room of one's own but I also hold dear to what Alice Walker said about having a lock and key to put on one's own room.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Updates and stuff

I'm a free bird! Okay, free-sih. Whatever. Better than what I was in May. Actually, May wasn't all that bad as I make it out to be, despite everything else. The last one week in particular was amazing to extent of making me giddy. And I'm hardly ever giddy. These last few days I've been indulging myself in food. So much food. And I don't even care that I'm expanding like the universe. Of the many, many, many things I ate are these:
Chillies is one of the happiest places for me! ^^
Sometimes I pretend to eat healthy!

I know what Popeye would eat if he ever considered Korean food.
Sweet tooth cravings unleashed (every once in a while).

Some amazing Korean food I had.


Dak Galbi

And even more Korean food.
The point being I ate a lot...far more than I bothered to click. ^^

But the best thing I ate has to be a burnt Maggi I had this Saturday. You'd think it sucked and would want to make every inch of you revolt, but it was far from it. I loved it! And that burnt Maggi made me happier than any amount of waffles and maple syrup do on a Sunday morning, say. True story.

Apart from that, I've begun watching the Korean dramas and reviews will follow shortly. Also, I cannot wait for the new Lee Min Ho show! So much excitement!

This is pretty much all that I can think of right now. See you soon.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Hello, freedom!

I'm sightly dramatic there as I didn't really slog in May but still...it's good not to feel guilty for being able to do things I like. So I will be back on my blog with more of my musings, fun and otherwise. Consider yourself warned.

With all the (considerably) free time at hand, I have made a to-do list for this month that pretty much involves a lot of K-dramas, novels that I bought earlier this year that have been piling on unread and films. I'm off to do one of those things now but I will be back soon.