Aw, this episode is really about brothers and bromance, in various forms. And you know how I have a massive soft spot for that. I love that the ramyun shop isn’t just a convenient way to use the term family, in the way that people have work families and school families and such. The characters also find connections to each other in their shared experiences of lacking family, like the way our two leading men miss mom, and our supporting boys miss dad.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kim Tae-woo, Rain, JYP – “Brothers and Me” [ Download ]
EPISODE 11: “Can Love Be Translated?”
Chi-soo kisses Eun-bi (twice!)… and when the camera pulls back from that lengthy, open-mouthed kiss (thank you, cable), we see Kang-hyuk standing in the background, looking heartbroken.
Aw, if he’d still been dilly-dallying about his intentions, I’d say it serves him right for being too slow — but he’d already made his intentions known. The movie date! The hand-holding! The hairpin! Poor little giant-man.
Chi-soo takes Eun-bi to the river. You’d think he’d know better by now. It’s awkward and silent so she asks him to say something, and he blurts, still flustered, “I will, okay? I’ll say something, so just… wait.” I love this reversal, because now it’s her turn to ask, “Are you actually feeling an anger-like thing toward me?” She borrows his own words again to say that he’s acting like something out of an old fashioned drama.
Chi-soo says that yeah, because of her he’s turned into that old-fashioned guy who sees her everywhere he goes. Tapping his chest, “You wear that childish volleyball uniform and keep sending a spike here.” Oh, Chi-soo, to whom love is just a totality of physical symptoms. He says this all as backhanded compliment,: “This woman who’s less attractive than me keeps appearing in my eyes.” He concludes, “So stay by my side. Until I come to my senses.”
Eun-bi’s hardly flattered, and says that he must suppose this passes for a confession of his feelings. She reminds him that she was on a date, which she should really be getting back to. Chi-soo’s incredulous: “You’re going back to Onion?” (Ha at his use of the Japanese word, calling him Tamanegi.) He asks if she can’t see him standing there, eyes all flipped out because of her. She returns, “Then what about you? Do you not see me?” He’s all, Hello, I’ve just been ranting about seeing you everywhere, but she counters, “You only see yourself.”
Chi-soo looks floored and exclaims, “I just said I like you!” She thumps her chest, “But what can we do? Your confession didn’t make this part of me boil over in the least.”
Eun-bi returns to the cinema and finds Kang-hyuk lying on a bench out front, waiting for her. Over lunch, she starts to explain where she’d gone, but he just smiles at her and gives her an out, saying she must have gone to buy medicine and that she should take care of herself.
So-yi storms out of the theater after following Ba-wool there, pissy that he ran off to save his noona from Chi-soo’s clutches. Aw, is she actually jealous — and right after she’d assured Ba-wool that seeing him with another girl wouldn’t make her jealous at all? One step forward for princess.
So-yi bursts out, “You should only care about me! Why are you worrying over that intern teacher?” …aaaaand one step back.
So-yi points out that Eun-bi’s not even his blood noona, aka sister, and Ba-wool tries to explain, “Well, she’s a noona I like…” Ha, danger alert! Are we gonna have to explain this in terms of liking her, but not like-liking her? Ba-wool catches himself and corrects, “…er, a noona I know.”
This doesn’t fly with So-yi, even though she’d used that exact wording about her oppa. She retorts, “Just a noona you know? You have those kinds of noonas?” She denies being angry, slaps on a smile, and leaves.
Kang-hyuk and Eun-bi walk back to the store, and he teasingly asks for a kiss to cap off the date. She still feels guilty for ditching him mid-date and thanks him for waiting for her. He thanks her for coming back.
Up zooms Chi-soo on his bike, declaring that he’s here to confess properly: “I went to see my doctor. He says I’ve fallen for you.” Psh. How like him to only believe it when the Doc says so. But he won’t take off the helmet, because he has more embarrassing things to say: “Now that I’m like this, you’re going to fall for me soon, too.”
With that, he grabs Eun-bi’s wrist to pull her over to his side and tells Kang-hyuk not to go around touching “any old poop.” Why, because she’s your poop now? Your sense of romance is overwhelming.
Dong-joo is just as stunned by the news, and wonders what Chi-soo could possibly see in Eun-bi. Ah, friends. The funny thing is, she’s so materialistic that she means this all perfectly honestly, rather than jealously. You know. If we’re splitting judgy hairs.
Dong-joo points out that Eun-bi’s older, has no money, and “possesses nothing but strength.” At that, Coach bursts out of the fitting room — they’re in a men’s store, helping him choose a suit — and demands suspiciously, “You were talking about me, weren’t you?” Hee.
Dong-joo mulls this over and decides she knows what’s up with Chi-soo. Re-enactment time!
We’ve got our stand-in Chi-soo and Eun-bi again: Fake Chi-soo ogles hot women and throws out “You’re pretty” compliments left and right. Fake Eun-bi arrives wearing her uniform and tosses water in his face: “I’m just watering the flower” (boy). He grabs her and says, “Nobody’s ever done this to me,” and leans in for a face-smushing kiss.
Dong-joo concludes, “He didn’t fall for you [ban-hae], he’s pissed off [bun-hae] at you!” She wonders whether Eun-bi has feelings for Chi-soo, and Eun-bi stutters a denial.
That night, Kang-hyuk contemplates the hairpin he’d bought for Eun-bi and thinks back to the earlier confrontation, which we now see in flashback.
After Chi-soo had grabbed Eun-bi’s wrist and pulled her aside, Kang-hyuk had taken their hands in his (yay for hands, not wrists) and wished Chi-soo luck. “If it’s to a better man than myself, I’ll accept it.”
Awwww, are you actually challenging Chi-soo to be a better man? This brings unexpected tears to my eyes.
Chi-soo had chafed at the suggestion that he needs Kang-hyuk’s approval, but Kang-hyuk had told him that right now, he’s still Eun-bi’s protector and Chi-soo’s employer.
Now as Kang-hyuk lies in bed, he wonders at his conflicting feelings, “Whose heart should I be boiling?” He addresses a photo of his mother, saying that this scenario’s unfairly harsh on him.
Eun-bi, meanwhile, is back to her Post-Its of Confusion, wondering how Kang-hyuk could so easily give up on her. “Does he think I’m easy?!” Then she thinks of Chi-soo’s kiss and her reaction to it, deflating: “You are easy.”
Ba-wool presents his “scientific” analysis of this whole Chi-soo question, which turns out to be crayon scribbles (of “Dog Chwi-soo”) with words like “motorcycle” and “smells like bathroom” and “facial expression resembling me” scrawled as clues. He concludes that Chi-soo likes her, but it’s unnecessary since she already knows.
Ba-wool asks, “You really don’t have feelings for him, right?” He makes her pinky-swear it: “If you break this swear, you’ll fail the civil service exam, boil ramyun your whole life, and not get married till you’re thirty-five!” Lol. He may not be too far off the mark, there.
He perks up to get a call from So-yi, cheerily oblivious as he answers, “Where am I? I’m with noona. You want me to run out of here immediately? Okay!”
Chi-soo tells Dad that he was out with his girlfriend, who is no longer that “cute-like-a-puppy” So-yi, but the intern. Dad gapes, reminding him that Chi-soo’s caviar and Eun-bi’s plain rice and ramyun. Chi-soo says that he won’t eat junk like ramyun, so instead, “I’ll make her eat caviar.” Just don’t shove it down her throat.
Dad sighs when his secretary tells him, “I don’t think this is a disease Dr. Yoon can cure.” He wonders if it’s that other disease, “The one I caught when I met Chi-soo’s mother.”
Time for the ramyun-tasting. Hyun-woo goes first, and what better theme for a Crazy Chicken-inspired dish than chicken. The chicken breast represents “Ba-wool’s violent tendencies” and the red pepper his “rebelliousness.” Hee! There’s a sauce as well, which expresses Ba-wool’s love for So-yi: chocolate. Kang-hyuk chokes on his mouthful. Next!
Ba-wool’s ramyun represents Hyun-woo’s “oily and imbecilic” personality, and has, curiously, a huge piece of rice cake in it.
Eun-bi’s dish has a cheese base since Chi-soo likes cheese, which is meant to cut the saltiness. (There are also little pieces of egg cut into flower shapes, ha.) Her recipe wins big reactions from everyone…but Ba-wool tastes and exclaims, “Noona! Are you trying to kill us?!”
Chi-soo hasn’t prepared a dish, and now that he’s made his feelings for Eun-bi known, there’s no need to hide behind the ramyun as his excuse for being here anymore. He starts to pull Eun-bi outside, saying they’ve got better things to do, and Eun-bi protests — until she sees that Kang-hyuk has just turned away, not bothering to object. Hurt by that, she agrees to go and leaves the shop, with Chi-soo tossing back a smirk at Kang-hyuk.
After they leave, Kang-hyuk sighs in disappointment, perking up excitedly when the door squeaks open: “Wife?” But no, it’s Daddy Cha’s secretary, who takes him to meet his boss.
Daddy Cha proposes buying out the store, and Kang-hyuk readily declines. Daddy Cha tells him not to be hasty and think it over slowly, but Kang-hyuk answers that it’s not really his place. He means emotionally, like it’s not his to dispose of: “It’s not a place just for selling food, but for feeding children.” Daddy Cha doesn’t much see the semantic difference and tells him to consider the business value.
Kang-hyuk points out that the man’s son works with him, to which Daddy Cha requests that he fire Chi-soo, who must just be playing around in some extended joke. Kang-hyuk’s response: “We don’t just cut loose our shop’s family. After your son joined the shop, he became my kid.”
Chi-soo takes Eun-bi to a fancy restaurant to eat caviar, and when asked about So-yi, he says they’ll be friends now, and that he’ll give her up to Ba-wool since he’d rather date Eun-bi. Not inspiring words for the future: Eun-bi asks if he’ll just give her over to another man later and say they can be friends too. Chi-soo says they’ll have to see.
Eun-bi’s still feeling her way around this compatibility issue, and asks if Chi-soo knows who Shinhwa is. He thinks she means the word shinhwa (legend), not the pop idols, and she asks if he knows (deceased singer) Kim Kwang-seok. Heh, this brings to mind all the times older colleagues express incredulity (“You don’t know who [insert past-his-heyday star here] is?”) just as we’re probably going to be saying in ten years, “You don’t know Justin Bieber/Miley Cyrus/The Jonas Brothers?” (We can hope.) It’s always annoying to be on the receiving end of the question, but on the flipside sometimes it really is that confounding that younger people don’t know of certain things that happened before their time.
Eun-bi gets to the point: They’re six years apart, he’s a student, and “I have no time to play around with a high schooler.” She’s past the age of revolving-door dating and cup ramyun (mass-produced and instant): “Now I want to eat ramyun that one man has cooked just for me.” Nice way of tying in Chi-soo’s refusal to participate in the taste-off. She calls their interaction like an accident that’ll pass them by.
Chi-soo jerks forward and asks why she’s talking like an old fogey. Eun-bi: “I don’t want to admit it, but I already am one. Just because we held hands once and kissed once, it doesn’t mean my heart is boiling. So let’s not waste time.”
She walks away, leaving Chi-soo confused. He follows her out to insist it’s not time-wasting he’s doing, but that she’s the first person to make his heart feel strange and roiling. He insists he’s being earnest, but she tells him he’s always like this — he’s never asked how she feels, just acted on his own feelings. His interest in her is just pride and curiosity.
He’s genuinely baffled at her insistence that they can’t work out, and she finally declares that it’s because “You don’t know how to cook ramyun.” How can a man who doesn’t know how to boil ramyun boil her heart? Uh-oh, and ha. Chi-soo should just wear a sign, “Abandon metaphor, all ye who enter here.” She leaves him shouting after her, “What does ramyun have to do with dating?”
Eun-bi comes home still feeling put out that Kang-hyuk let her go so easily. He’s waiting for her out front, and she tells him flat-out that if he’s trying to play dating games — doing the hard-to-get, push-and-pull strategy — she doesn’t know how. All she knows is the straightforward attack: “So tell me if I should be blocking you, or if I should spike.”
He replies, “I think you’re the one doing the pushing and pulling.” Kang-hyuk points out that she took his hand the same day she kissed Chi-soo, and ate with him and then rode Chi-soo’s bike.
Chi-soo comes home to a dad who asks him, “You’re my son, right?” Aw, poor confused President Cha, with his never-ending daddy issues. If it’s not Pororo, it’s that ramyun chef. Dad says that Chi-soo’s been acting weird, and Chi-soo says that Pororo is “just a friend” and Intern is “just passing by.” Aw, he looks pretty upset to have to admit that, and Dad reminds him that the only thing to trust in this world is money, himself, and Dad.
Eun-bi feels sorry to know that Kang-hyuk saw the kiss after all, and as they talk outside, she asks why he didn’t let on. He says he was trying to look cool, and she says he’s plenty cool already, “Too cool for me.”
He asks what’s wrong with her, and she calls herself foolish for letting a high schooler pelt her with stones, and not being able to grab the handsome guy standing right here. He tells her she doesn’t have to work at grabbing him, “Since I’ll always be here, like a pillar.”
He explains that that’s why Dad gave him the shop — because she’d need a place to come home to. “He said that in those times, there needed to be one place in the world where he could boil up a pot of ramyun, without saying a word.”
Therefore, Eun-bi can push-and-pull as much as she wants since he’ll always be here. However, Kang-hyuk adds, “But I hope you won’t fool yourself. Don’t force yourself to push Cha Chi-soo away.”
She protests, but he tells her that the heart isn’t for thinking. It just boils on, on its own.
Inside the shop, Ba-wool and Hyun-woo clean out their ramyun pots. Ba-wool mocks his chocolate sauce, but Hyun-woo says at least he tried to understand Ba-wool, who didn’t do the same for him. Hyun-woo can’t even eat the kind of rice cake Ba-wool used, since his teeth are weak; his father used to cut up all his food for him because of that. Ba-wool calls him a prince, but Hyun-woo says that’s in the past: “Now I’d be happy being a beggar if I could live with Dad.”
Ba-wool hurriedly brushes aside his pang of sympathy and says Hyun-woo should’ve said so, so he could’ve cut up the rice cake before putting it in the ramyun. That suggestion seems like a good idea to Hyun-woo, because it’s like a version of sujebi (made with bits of dough, floating in soup). Ba-wool argues against it, since he hates sujebi — it’s the only thing his adoptive father knew how to make, but he was so busy feeding his adopted siblings — lost kids he’d picked up, “like me” — that Ba-wool never got to eat any.
Aw, and the uncomfortable sympathy pangs are returned! Boy bonding for the win.
Eun-bi ignores Chi-soo’s call that night, so he enters the shop looking for her and finds Kang-hyuk instead…and asks him to teach him how to make ramyun.
So begins the lesson, starting with a dish Kang-hyuk’s father was particularly good at making. He asks if Chi-soo’s father ever made him food, and Chi-soo answers that there’s no kitchen in his house, since they have all their meals delivered from a hotel: “My father hates the smell of food in the house.” What a weird aversion, although maybe it has to do with the wife he can’t get over.
At home, Daddy Cha looks at an old photo of said wife… while Eun-bi finds a photo of Kang-hyuk’s mother… who is the same woman. Wait, wut? Really? Is that where we’re going, drama?
The boys complete their bowls of ramyun, but Chi-soo complains that Kang-hyuk must have added ingredients to his, because it tastes different. Chi-soo starts describing the difference, not really sure what words to use but sensing that Kang-hyuk’s “tastes like the thing you put in kimchi.”
Kang-hyuk realizes that he’d fried garlic in that pot earlier, impressed with Chi-soo’s palate. He says, “I think you have perfect taste.” (He means it in the same way that perfect pitch is a talent for music and hearing.)
Chi-soo isn’t really concerned, wondering if that’s a good thing. Kang-hyuk is much more aware of how rare that talent is, and says that yes, it’s a good thing: “I have it too.”
Okay, admittedly, I’m a little nonplused about the Chi-soo-and-Kang-hyuk-may-be-half-brothers storyline, and my initial reaction was to groan. If we have to have it, though, I will suppose that it works with the characters and thematically ties in to the idea of lost (and found) families. It also allows Kang-hyuk to be the mentoring figure in Chi-soo’s life that he’d like to be, in the way that Eun-bi’s father was for him. I still think that could be achieved in a metaphorical sense without actual kinship ties, but this is a Korean drama, so who am I to complain about another birth secret? Maybe I should be more surprised that I was surprised.
In regards to Chi-soo’s bumbling courtship: How satisfying is it to have a heroine not take crap from the hero. In older dramas, an asshole hero might pull a neanderthal move — “in the name of romance!” — and we were just supposed to accept it as romantic. It’s what drove me nuts about Secret Garden, despite loving Hyun Bin’s performance trying to figure out courtship. But Eun-bi doesn’t put up with that, and I love that the larger context is telling us, the drama-watcher, that yes, intent is important, but so is delivery. You can have good intentions but if you can’t deliver that message in a decent way, then maybe you haven’t earned the heroine’s trust yet.
What I am actually excited about is Chi-soo’s discovery of a cooking talent, because it hadn’t occurred to me that they’d give him a calling. Now that kind of twist, I find satisfying. He’s aimless and bored, and has a father who loves him but, face it, is sort of ineffectual in the parenting sense. A lot of chaebol dramas give us the scenario of the rich man who wants for nothing but love, to be fixed by the heroine. Here, we’re getting a rich man who can find an outlet in a personal skill, which I find more rewarding. Especially since he IS still young to necessarily find his one lifelong True Love. True Calling, though? That works.
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 10
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 9
- Gong Hyo-jin cameos in Flower Boy Ramyun Shop
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 8
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 7
- Jung Il-woo sings a track for Ramyun Shop OST
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 6
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 5
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 4
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 3
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop scores high ratings
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 2
- Flower Boy Ramyun Shop: Episode 1