Let’s Eat = Food Porn. I think that equation summarises my impression of ep1. (and possibly the whole series). Warning: do NOT watch this before meals, unless you wanna cover your laptop/phone in drool. (lol) The opening of ep1 starts off with some reaaaalllly yummily close shots of an expresso machine producing a cup of expresso. Believe me, it LOOKS better than what I’ve written.
- Lee Soo-kyung as herself (Lee Soo-kyung). (is it an “in” thing now to use real names in shows? The boarding house’s couple in 1994 also did that). A woman in her early 30s, who is also a divorcee, pretty nondescript OL in a law firm ran by her brother-in-law. Until you see her eat. I never knew sucking on crabs can be soooo erotic. (lol) Her obsession is (good) food and she not only hunts them down but also watches food channels on TV at home. She yearns for a like minded partner, not to marry, but to enter restaurants without feeling pressured/ embarrassed. Her neighbours are Dae-young and Jin-yi.
- Yoon Doo-joon as Koo Dae-young. He reminds me of Trash Oppa in 1994, or at least, his living habits remind me of him. His house is a mess, so much so that he changes into his business suits at the launderette (yeah, he washes them, and doesn’t collect them, so he can conveniently store more trash in his room) We don’t really know what he WORKS as (he claims to work in insurance, but something feels off), and he seems to be receiving calls from different women asking him where he is all the time. (could he be like Dokgo Ma-te in Pretty Man? someone who lives off women?) Despite his slob living habits, he is extremely discerning when it comes to food. However, he appears to be a little sinister…he seems to know the habits Soo-kyung and Jin-yi by heart.
- Yoon So-hee as Yoon Jin-yi. The daughter of a once-rich property landowner (who is now imprisoned), she still hasn’t got it into her pretty (air)head that she is POOR now. She continues to splurge on the most ridiculous stuff — like paying 70,000 won (about USD70) to get a courier to deliver nails and a hammer to her new studio (?!) To her, everything (even her current “poverty”) is a new experience and worth a mention on her Facebook to share with her like-minded girlfriends. She has a serious crush on Dae-young, which Soo-kyung warns her against (in Soo-kyung’s eyes, Dae-young is a con artist).
- Shim Hyung-tak as Kim Hak-moon. Soo-kyung’s colleague in the law firm. He is a lawyer (unlike Soo-kyung, who only performs underwriting and admin work) and possesses a super big inflated ego. He thinks Soo-kyung secretly likes him, but in fact he is the one who pays more attention to her. He gets upset and whiney when Soo-kyung doesn’t pays him compliments (which he thinks are due him). And he finds Soo-kyung’s eating habits sexually arousing. (lol) I think in ep3, we find out he had a crush on Soo-kyung since Uni days.
Since there are only 2 eps thus far, I won’t be giving a plot summary. Btw, Let’s Eat only airs once a week (for 16 eps/weeks). Using food as a theme and a plot mover excites the glutton in me. (lol) The other show which I’ve
suffered through watched and used a similar theme is Feast of Gods. Feast dealt with upclass traditional Korean court cuisine (interesting) and kitchen politics (yuk). Let’s Eat brings down the gourmet level to common class and mixes in rom-com plus a mini mystery into its ingredients list.
Food is used adroitly here to depict relationships, thereby bringing in the romance angle to the story. Typically, Asian food is hardly served singly. Traditionally, Asian cuisine is meant to be shared, and usually a whole table of friends/family will dip their utensils/ fingers into a single large plate/bowl of food. Not really the most hygenic, but definitely communal. Added to this is our disgust for people who waste food (and the concept of take-aways is not always present), it makes it doubly hard for a single patron to enter a restaurant and sit at a large table without getting weird looks.
Thus, I totally sympathise with Soo-kyung’s longing (and lips smacking) gaze at the huge plate of seafood noodles — from outside the restaurant. And when she finally finds a table mate (who is allergic to seafood, of all people) to dine with her, she indulges in that plate of noodles with so much gusto that it borders on an erotic orgy. The show does this slow-mo and close up takes on food and the actors/actresses eating them. It is funny, but extremely hunger provoking. (that’s why i said not to watch if you are hungry) AND it makes me really wish I am one of the actresses in the show…the food looks really good.
The mini-mystery bit comes from Soo-kyung’s deceased neighbour, who died from choking on a live octopus (yeah, those slimy things Koreans are fond of..which are actually dangerously yummy. i tried). In the epilogue of ep1 though, we see a camera footage of Dae-young entering Studio 804 an hour before the body was discovered. And in ep2, a man dressed in black (like Dae-young) assaults a woman in the night. I’m not sure how the who-dunnit angle will work out, but it does give Dae-young an air of (sinister) mystery. Cos although he lives like a slob, he doesn’t seem poor. Plus, where does he get all those info on the girls from??
I have pretty high hopes for this series, after watching the 2 eps. Even if the rom-com and who-dunnit angle turn sour, this show is still worth a try. For the food, if nothing else. 🙂
3.5 – 4/5 stars