Rating:
Average user rating 4.1
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Let’s Eat: Series review

Cable network tvN’s fluffy foodie rom-com Let’s Eat* just wrapped this past week, so it seemed like a good time to weigh in on the series as a whole and hear everyone’s thoughts on the show. The 16-episode Thursday drama was one of the network’s recent experiments with one-episode-a-week scheduling, which did make it easy to watch on the side, given a full drama-watching slate (that is, if you’re crazy and you’re me). But it made for a strangely paced story at times, and then when I found myself getting invested in the characters, suddenly one episode a week wasn’t enough.

Overall I’d call it a light, frothy watch that was at its core endearing and character-driven, despite the outward trappings of slo-mo food porn. It does need to be said that there was way too much screen time devoted to extended shots of people eating (it veered on voyeuristic, I swear), but if you were prepared with a bowl of food of your own or were blessed with the willpower of a thousand steely monks, then you’d eventually be able to look past the food to the heart of the show.

If you don’t want to be spoiled, stick to the Introduction portion and skip the rest; the Review section below that will discuss story points, though none of it will explicitly tell you how the show ends.

[*The title of the show is a funny pronunciation of the phrase “Let’s Eat,” that the PD adopted after hearing baseball commentator Heo Gu-yeon pronounce it that way in his regional accent. He later cameos on the show as the hero’s father, which ties together the show title and the hero’s blog, and doubles as some meta fun.]

 
SONG OF THE DAY

K Jun – “식사를 합시다” (Let’s Eat) for the OST [ Download ]

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INTRODUCTION

The drama focuses on the home and work life of our heroine LEE SOO-KYUNG (Lee Soo-kyung), a divorced woman in her early thirties who is content to live alone. The one thing she can’t quite reconcile is her abiding love of delicious food, and her inability to eat out alone.

She’s a foodie who enjoys trying every new restaurant under the sun, and avidly follows food blogs to feed her ever-growing appetite. Her favorite is a strange blog called Let’s Eat that only uploads photos of empty dishes—a sign that a place has to be scrape-your-plate-clean delicious in order to be worthy of a post.

Soo-kyung works as a paralegal in mostly a secretarial capacity, though she’s got a litigious personality to match her area of work. She’s highly distrustful of other people and keeps a rather tight rein on her hermit life, and only has one best friend she confides in. She’s a great bestie though; Lee Soo-kyung always seems to be blessed with great female friendships in dramas.

The heroine is a relatable everywoman, which is exactly in Lee Soo-kyung’s wheelhouse (the actress, since she uses her real name). She portrays the character with an eye for comedy—openly neurotic, uptight, hapless but proud—but grounded in realistic emotion. But then, I’ve always liked her and found her characters easy to root for.

Her next-door neighbor to the left is GU DAE-YOUNG (Yoon Doo-joon), a smooth-talking man in his late twenties who schleps around in sweats most of the time, and can be overheard telling a different girl each day that he’s two minutes away from wherever he’s supposed to meet her, even though he’s still standing in his hallway. Basically, Soo-kyung’s first impression of him is that he’s a liar and a playboy.

But the more we see of him, we find out that he’s mostly an oddball. He owns no furniture and has the bizarre habit of keeping all his clothes at the dry cleaners, and goes there to change every morning, ostensibly to save himself the trip to drop off dirty laundry. I totally admit to thinking this was a genius idea, and wished I lived close enough to a dry cleaner to try it.

The show purposely keeps his occupation a mystery at the start, but Soo-kyung eventually learns that he’s an insurance salesman. What she doesn’t find out for a very long time is that he’s also the author of her favorite food blog. He’s possibly the only person in the world more obsessed with food than she is—though he’s the connoisseur and she’s the rabid eater—they don’t mess around when it comes to the art of eating.

I was pleasantly surprised by Yoon Doo-joon in this role. I think it helps that Dae-young is a quirky character, and a guy with a sunny disposition and a quippy comeback for everything. He really has a lot of fun with the Angry Foodie segments—basically once every episode, someone fails to see the awesomeness of whatever dish they’re about to eat, and he looks into the camera and launches into this over-the-top lecture about why this food is the best food ever created, until your eyes roll into the back of your head. (Of course Soo-kyung is always well into her third bite before he ever finishes.) He totally goes for the comedy, which made me like him.

Soo-kyung gets a new neighbor to the right when a woman dies in the apartment next door (while eating alone, natch), and a bright-eyed bushy-tailed girl in her early twenties moves in. YOON JIN-YI (Yoon So-hee)—or Park Shi-yeon’s clone if you’re like me and couldn’t ever shake the resemblance—is a former rich girl who suddenly found herself penniless when Dad was sent to prison for corrupt business dealings.

This is her first apartment and she’s so new to life that everything from getting a utility bill to having neighbors is exciting to her. She’s so out of touch that it’s actually amusing, and despite the character sounding inane on paper, she’s played with such ebullience that you can’t help but wish her well (and cringe for the harsh lessons that lie ahead for her).

Jin-yi is the bridge between Soo-kyung and Dae-young, because she’s dead set on being friendly with her neighbors. She immediately develops a crush on Dae-young because he’s nice to her, though she has to whittle away slowly at Soo-kyung to have the unni-next-door friendship she’s always dreamed of. Soo-kyung reluctantly warms to Jin-yi in tiny steps, but remains as disdainful of Dae-young as ever.

Jin-yi desperately wants unni and oppa to get along, and finds the common ground—food—it’s the one thing Soo-kyung can’t say no to, no matter how much she dislikes Dae-young. So at Jin-yi’s request, they start eating out together and thus get involved in each other’s lives.

The rest of the players are people at Soo-kyung’s law firm, including Lawyer Kim (Shim Hyung-tak), a vain and petty boss who drives Soo-kyung absolutely crazy with menial tasks that send her reaching for emergency candy bars on a daily basis, just to stay calm and get through her day.

What she doesn’t know is that he’s getting his stupid petty revenge for the fact that she rejected him back in law school and can’t remember who he is, and has basically liked her for ten years from afar. He’s also really into the way Soo-kyung eats (her eating noises are vaguely sexual), and his crush veers into fetishistic territory, but he’s earnest and sincere enough that it doesn’t seem to be why he likes her. I hope.

Don’t get me wrong—he’s freaking hysterical, because we’re meant to laugh at his folly. He’s a funny sad sack. He’s just got a chronic case of foot-in-mouth, worsened by debilitating insecurity, and capped off with the emotional intelligence of a first-grader. But he’s played with this indescribable cheesiness that kills me, and does eventually show some depth that’s moving.

The other law firm characters are mostly around for comic relief, though I like that they have some layers and feel like people who have complicated lives of their own. The show also employs a great deal of cameos in exchange for having such a small core cast. The list is too long to name everyone, but a few favorites were Lee Sang-woo, who visits the law firm to ask about divorcing his wife while shooting his drama Warm Words, and Philip Choi as one of Lee Soo-kyung’s ex-boyfriends, because he played her boyfriend in Soulmate.

Last but certainly not least, Soo-kyung has a dog that she named after Che Guevara, though she calls him by the hilariously formal Vara-sshi (as if Gue Va-ra were a Korean name). The sole reason for the name is a pun—the way Guevara is pronounced in Korean is ge-ba-ra, or “look at the dog.” Dae-young teases the dog for what he thinks is a funny name, which Soo-kyung finds so insulting.

Because our heroine lives alone, she often talks more to her dog than anyone else, so he feels like an actual character with a personality all his own. My favorite thing is that she treats him like a little person, and when they fight, the dog runs to his cage and slams his door to show that he’s angry. Sometimes she even asks the dog for relationship advice, which might explain why she’s bad at romance.

 
REVIEW

You could mostly call Let’s Eat a slice-of-life drama about our heroine, and by extension the three neighbors who share a hallway. You could also call the show a commercial in drama clothing, though I’d only call it that if it forgot to tell a story wholesale.

The food sequences that were featured in every episode were highly indulgent (in story time, not calorie count, though it was that too), and often felt like we were taking a legitimate commercial break. I can see why CJ Entertainment wanted to experiment with this hybrid PPL sequence embedded into the show itself (CJ Group is a food company, so you just know they’re making a boatload in cross-promotion for something like this).

As commercials they were certainly effective, but I’d much rather have a clear separation between drama and commercial. Setting your drama at your home shopping network a la I Need Romance 3 is about as much brand promotion I can swallow without it taking me out of the story world entirely.

Let’s Eat regularly pulled me out of the narrative when we stopped to ogle at food, for what I eventually came to understand would be long enough to get up, take a bathroom break, and root around in the fridge. I like for my dramas to be able to pay their actors, but this show certainly walked a fine line between a commercial with a story and a drama with lots of commercials.

What keeps it, then, from becoming an extended food commercial is a thoughtful tone and an earnest portrayal of characters who are consistent and well-rounded. I found that despite feeling my brain disengage every time we broke for eating sequences, it reengaged when we got back to the story.

What helps connect all this is the way food is used as a language in the show—the writer makes as much use of this as possible, which I appreciate on a thematic level because it keeps the food relevant. Our heroine is someone whose emotional development is tied to food, whether it’s stress-eating or feeling inadequate to eat a meal designed for two all by herself. When she’s feeling downtrodden, she can barely muster the energy to buy a kimbap roll on the way home; when she and Dae-young keep getting their wires crossed, they both get plain triangle kimbap from the convenience store and eat it alone in their apartments—even in angst, their expression through food is the same.

It isn’t a particularly fast-paced show, and the single-episode format adds to the more languorous feel of the story. Overall it didn’t bother me too much, though it certainly keeps the show from being the first thing you reach for on your to-watch list. I felt that the romance was slow to start, and disliked almost everything about the neighborhood serial killer storyline, where the show decided to keep the lingering threat of a murderer overhead, while failing to develop it in any way.

Perhaps if the thriller element were executed better, I’d have forgiven the story thread for being such a glaring sore thumb. But it was a weird fit for a show like this, and for most of the drama it was such an afterthought that it was literally shoehorned into the epilogues as the credits rolled, to serve as a creepy reminder: Don’t forget, the serial killer is still around! We’ll get to it…someday! It was so badly integrated into the central story that I could never take it seriously.

Obviously there are romantic uses for the killer plot, in that Soo-kyung’s suspicious nature gets her into dicey waters when she jumps to conclusions about Dae-young, and then later when Dae-young worries about her being a potential victim. I do love how focused he is on her safety that he doesn’t even know he’s bleeding from a broken arm until she points it out. It’s a great moment in their story, but altogether it could have been achieved with a story device that was a more organic fit. The same goes for the mystery segment in Jin-yi’s story, which I could’ve done without.

The romance wasn’t one that had scorching chemistry or even a great deal of development, but it was squarely in cute and fun territory. I enjoyed the friendly neighborly bickering, and adored Soo-kyung’s fangirling when she discovers that Dae-young is the blogger whose taste buds she worships. Her sudden change in attitude is hilariously confusing for him, because he doesn’t see at all why she’d care.

Dae-young is an unconventional character, but that’s the main reason I liked him. He has this funny recurring bit where he invents a super dramatic backstory about waiting for his first love based on movie and drama posters in whatever café he happens to be in at the time, and feeds any new woman he meets that sob story in order to keep her at arm’s length. He doesn’t need to do this with Soo-kyung, of course, because she dislikes him already.

But when Soo-kyung calls him out on being too nice to all women and being the cause of all the broken hearts around her, he actually takes it to heart and starts drawing clear boundaries. He even roots for Lawyer Kim to confess his feelings for her, which prompts some of this:

Sometimes it’s nice to come across a romance that’s relatively angst-free, where the cute far outweighs the pain, and everybody in the love square (hexagon?) is likable or relatable in his or her own way.

What drew me to the story was its focus on singledom—not as a dating status, but as a way of life—living for one in a studio apartment, wondering what to eat every night, and the mundane concerns like what to buy at the grocery store that won’t go bad before you can eat it all. I liked that our characters were all middle class average people (or new to it, like Jin-yi), who had to worry about how to scrimp and save to keep the bills down.

What’s nice is that there’s a spectrum between all the characters, so that it’s not a blanket statement about living alone being lonely. In fact, our heroine never once regrets getting divorced and loves the freedom she has to do whatever she wants, as opposed to her best friend who’s married with kids and tied to her responsibilities. She enjoys single living, but her loneliness is real, and she thinks that she can stave it off by not relying on anyone ever.

Her new neighbor Jin-yi is at the opposite end of the spectrum, and is always a little afraid of being alone so much that she’s constantly trying to form new attachments to any warm body around. She’s naïvely trusting where Soo-kyung is deeply suspicious, which makes for a funny dynamic between the two girls. Dae-young is a happy middle ground, though his problem is more that he forms so many surface-level attachments that none are lasting.

The drama isn’t light or frivolous when it comes to that central theme, which is why I ultimately enjoyed the series for being more than its extended sequences of eating. It has a contemplative tone when exploring the characters’ loneliness and isolation, and is less about romance than it is about three neighbors looking out for each other and forming a family in their own way.

Little by little, they begin to lean on each other for small favors, then big emergencies, until they suddenly have people who worry about them when they’re not around. That familial neighborly love was more compelling to me than the romance was (despite enjoying the romance the whole way through), and the one moment that nearly brought me to tears was Soo-kyung’s best friend crying after her run-in with the killer because she was so worried that something could’ve happened to her. And Soo-kyung in turn learns to be a shoulder for Jin-yi to cry on and becomes a genuine friend to someone who needs her.

I really love that the triumph for our main characters is to form real attachments to people. It takes the common idea that family is just people you share a table with, and makes it literal by bringing three isolated people together over their shared love of food. It never mattered what they ate (sacrilege, I know!)—long after plates were emptied and meals were forgotten, friendships had already taken root and love had already wormed its way into guarded hearts.

 
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Well hello you cute little drama,
yes you are, yes you are.

I enjoyed so much watching this drama. I'm glad GF did review.
Barassi's acting was superb!

Nice drama with a little twist and lotsa love to offer!

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Very light drama with not a lot of plot but great characters, Doo-Joon is surprisingly good in this role as well. Great food shots, makes you seriously crave whatever they're eating, and a super cute and fun drama.

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My mom doubt the food is really that delicious (dramatic expression) but I tell her the food is really good!

**thumb up**

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I loved this show.
I must be in the minority, but while I watched the whole series while having dinner, never once did I crave the food they were eating. I kept thinking:

That must be unhealthy in so many ways;
That must be millions of calories;
That isn't gluten-free;
That must gum up your arteries, etc.

So perhaps I qualify as a health-nut, and have lost my love-affair w food already!

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I had to cook every time before I watched an episode because I knew I couldn't handle all the orgasmic eating expressions. Soo Kyung looked so good eating the first few times I kept rewatching those parts. Besides Soo Kyung, I don't know about the acting..but I think the best part about the show was the camera guy.

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Korean food must be healthy. Although Korea has it's share of overweight people, seem to have a lot of skinny (thin) people. At least that is how it appears in the news, shows, dramas, etc. Probably an exaggeration but the standard attire for girls seems to be either short shorts, mini skirts and high heels. Need the body to pull off that look successfully. Probably a lot less calories than a 1lb steak for American diet. Gluten free is over-rated (unless you have an actual wheat allergy). I think most people requesting gluten free food (pain in the *ss) don't have an actual allergy and just THINK it is healthier. Korean food has less fat and cholesteral than average American diet. Must use high quality, well marbled meat for BBQ. Just eat in moderation. Wish I could find a Korean restaurant(s) like those featured in the drama. Most only give you red leaf lettuce for making wraps. Portion size in American Korean restaurants also lacking. Even the pizza featured in the drama looks more delicious than pizza typically find at Round Table, Pizza Hut, etc. My dream would be to learn Korean and spend a couple of months in Korea travelling and sampling all the great looking food.

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korean cuisine is supposed to be one of the healthiest in the world. They use a lot of vegetables, beans and grains and prefer broths over fried dishes so they tend to use very little oil. plus kimchi is supposed to be great for digestion and stuff.

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Loved Doo Joon in this. He didn't Act like an idol at all.

This show proves that sometimes you don't need a lot of drama in a drama, none of that face-scratching, hair-pulling name calling stuff as in EC; no severed legs and tragic past as in S&S again. Just plain simple folks going thru life, well, with a dose of silliness as in carrying a torch for sb for 10 years and not being able to express it, a bigger one of comedy and a love for food already made it entertaining and likable enough to be missed when it's over.

Well done, show!

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Lmao, "Act like an idol". That should be a thing. When someone's bad at acting: "Wow, he acts like an idol."

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"No severed legs"
HHAHAHAHA

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Finished this in around 2 days. Loved this so much! Always love Lee Soo kyung and this is the first time I see Doo Joon. I love his voice (adding him to the list of THE VOICE with Lee Sun Gyun and Sung Joon)! His acting is quite okay too. Better than most idols I'd say. Barasshi is awesome.

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Late response, but it's hilarious that you added Doo Joon in your favourite voices list with the names of Lee Sun Gyun, because Doo Joon is quite popular doing voice impersonations of him, hahaha.

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I love Lee Soo-kyung, even watching her eat is a treat.

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Great post, review, and analysis of a fun, sweet, cute, funny story! Thanks for sharing :)

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IMO, GF is best when she writes about shows she likes.
On 2nd thought, maybe most recappers would be, huh.
I've always wondered why anyone would bother to recap a show that they despise. It'd be painful, wouldn't it?

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And I always felt sorry for Heads, as she seemed to encounter shows that started out ok, but ended up being lousy, more often than most. But she soldiered on bravely, bless her heart! Can't imagine the pain of that drudgery. I'd plain quit that particular task/show.

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I keep thinking she should change her screen name to 'Job'.

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Wonderful. So gonna miss this little drama gem.
So sad that I didn't find any recap on it, but thank you so much for the review, girlfriday.

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I'm on the same boat!
I can't help but ask...does anyonw know if there is a list of all the dishes they tried during the series? I think I need to try them, the food porn had a strong effect on me :O Internet, please make this happen!

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Randomly started this show and towards the end would wait for the episodes to be subbed. Doo-joon did REALLY well in this.

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Nods unnie!

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Yes! He did a great job. It was first time seeing him and really, the whole cast was great...Barasshi, included!

I kept wishing they had two episodes weekly instead of just the one.

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I didn't get tired of the food scenes or the poorly implemented mystery plots until the last couple of episodes. The character development was so well written and acted. It was refreshing, down to earth, and I haven't seen any other drama like it. Also, I think this will be with me forever.

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Do you have gif when DaeYoung gives SooKyung a part of his cast at eps 16 and then he giggles shyly at eps 16? I can't get enough of his facial expression kkk~

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Agree. I thought the first eps were slow, and only watched because Doojoon was so good in it -- his acting choices were surprising and really funny (maybe it was the director?). I think around the episode where Sookyoung goes to the hospital, it picked up for me and I LOVED the rest of the series.

(I admit I'm a pretty hardcore B2ST fan, but I think I'm still objective -- I tried my best, but nothing could make me sit through an episode of IRIS 2, even Doojoon looking pretty in a suit.)

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binmom!! hey did you buy the beast figurines that were on sale at soompi?? limited edition ones??

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Lol, no, I thought about it, but I didn't think I could explain them to my visiting friends/family so I refrained. I assume you got them? Enjoy them for me!

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haha I have no shame. not only did I get them, I created scenes of them at dinner and other situations and took pics of it :). inc the gym. I made junhyung exercise with gikwang. it's so funny. at least to me and some of my friends.

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HAHAHAHA, those are hilarious. You're my hero!

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my fave of course is one where dujun and junhyung fought over me. stop boys!! i love you both!! hahahah deluded much?

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Me too, for want of something to watch during weekends.

Quiet surprise, that was enjoyable. Though some of those eating moments were overkill for me, esp the few moments of the last episode.

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Oh, yay!! Thanks, girlfriday. I'm so happy to see Let's Eat getting some love on here. I still need to watch the final episode (seriously, I've been in denial that this show is over) so I'm sure I'll have more to say once I've watched that, but for now: food porn, happy friendships, adorable dogs, characters so warm and lovely that you can root for pretty much every one of 'em, and did I mention food porn? Such a lovely, breezy, entertaining watch.

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I watched the final episode and am still ind enial that it is over. I reread comments on the soompi thread just to pretend!!!!

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I just finished it, and the last episode WRECKED me! What a beautiful homage to found family. I totally teared up during that rice-poem-thingie at the end. This wasn't a heart-stopping drama, nor was it trying to be. It was a slow burn all the way, and just subtly worked its way into my heart so fully that I am actually mourning the fact that it's over.

I agree with girlfriday that it was not a perfect drama, mostly because of the bizarre serial killer subplot, but I was almost happy at how it was constructed such that most of the major angst/conflict was concentrated on the serial killer subplot (random as it was), and outside of the central relationships. It touched the characters and helped catalyze their growth & deepen their relationships, but it never overtook them. Even the love triangle sadness was delivered in a very real, understated way, and resolved super quickly.

And I for one loved the food porn. The way to my heart is through my stomach, so I am most likely the prime target audience for 5-minute long superfluous food shots. I will say that I think the long (some would say "excessive," while others *like myself* would say "generous") food scenes helped set the pace and tone of the drama as a leisurely show that is willing to really dedicate its time to exploring happy, pleasurable things. I've seen a lot of plot and angst-heavy shows recently, and I quite appreciated the change of pace of a show focused on small, enjoyable moments & slow relationship building.

Let's Eat was a breath of fresh air in a long, cold winter. I'm really sad it's over. it felt sort of like cute overload in show form. Also? That Barassi food porn scene was quite possibly the GREATEST thing I've ever seen in my entire life. So well-earned, so hilarious, so perfect.

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rearwindow, totally agree with you on that barassi food porn scene - STROKE OF GENIUS!!!

love the show sooo much

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Barassi=greatest kdrama pet ever?

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I also loved all the eating scenes. I really got the sense of the peace and solace she found in eating.

I love that Barassi (and the hallway and the food) were like their own characters in the sow. And that even the tertiary characters, like her best friend, felt like they had full lives of their own. It hasn't even been a week yet and I really miss this show.

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Yeah, even though the show didn't delve that far into the side characters, I always felt like they were three-dimensional. Even her mom was interesting & complex. & the bff's kids too! Everyone was painted in shades of grey...except the psychopath, but that's another story. :)

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Haha, yeah, the poor little boy who was jealous that Barassi got more hugs n kisses from Jin Yi than he did!

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Loved the rice-poem too! I think it tied everything perfectly in the end. Great way to end the series. =)

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I fell in love with this show about 3 episodes in. But somewhere along the way, I get tired of the way the serial killer case gets played. It's like Reply 1994 all over again.
"Oh hey, the killer is... Gu Daeyoung! Were' you surprised? No? Cliched? Well, you're in for a real surprise now because it's really not him! Na-na-na-na-naa! We tricked you! Or did we...? *eyebrow wiggle*"
It's just a bizarre storyline with annoying push-and-pulls.
But I guess the writers and whatever decided to add some 'mystery' into the story, because otherwise, like GF said, it'll totally be a food CF disguised into the drama.
That being said, I don't totally hate the 'mystery' either. I just roll my eyes whenever it appears, just like I did with Reply. This drama, its characters, their relationships, food & GAEBARA-SHIII! owns a special place in my heart.
BTW does anybody know where I can watch the special behind the scenes episode? Episode 17?

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Thought the food scenes were genius. Beautifully shot, and the audio! Really worked for understanding the characters and nice touch of eroticism.

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totally agree!!! I'm still in denial that the show ended and my weekly anxiousness every Thursday to find the raw cut at 1am of the show is gone now (then awaits for the translated version by friday evening)... and oogling over Dujun sharp looks in every scene is just too much for now... I'm not Korean and lusting over Korean dish has gotten severe after learning so much about k-food in Let's Eat!

Thumbs up for all the cast and unpretentious characters which is so grounded and realistic... love love love love!

(+ im a sucker for winter dramas... this is perfect!)

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Thank you for the review =)

I loved this show so much and the one episode per week thing was actually really great. I was so desperately waiting for the subs every week because after YFAS I really needed this light, fluffy drama :)

I just made the mistake that I didn't eat before watching the drama for the first 3-4 episodes^^ But I learned my lesson and was fully prepared for the rest of the drama^^

I loved the bond that developed between the characters though some were really over the top^^

I really liked Doo Joon in this role and thought that he did a good job which makes the fangirl in me pretty happy xD

I will miss this bunch of weirdos (because in their own way they all were) and the food and of course Bara-sshi who was by far the coolest dog I've ever seen in a drama/movie :D

I would actually appreciate to have a similar kind of drama - nothing too special but light and fluffy and easy to watch - with the same 1 episode per week schedule because it makes for a great diversion from so many other - more/mostly angsty - dramas.

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For something similar, sweet and funny and touching- I heartily recommend "Shut Up Family". It has a wonderful quirky main character whose grandma is brilliantly played by the mother of the main character in "Let's Eat". Seriously, that ajumma deserves an Oscar for her role in "Shut Up Family". Underrated, lovely drama with great writing and acting, just like "Let's Eat". Enjoy!!!

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This drama is a true gem, and my favorite drama of 2014 so far. I enjoyed it immensely and had no issue with the food porn scenes. The characters were delightful and the friendships inspiring. I also really appreciated the divorced female living on her own with no regrets. We do not see that much, and not one single moment of ex showing up. LOVE. I loved the singleton theme and that the smug married Bridget Jones types did not really exist in this universe. It was really interesting to see the married friends struggle with the married life instead of being portrayed as a glowing example of the ultimate goal of all singles. Great cast and great fun, what a joy to watch.

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Initially, I was expecting and hoping for us to get more of an explanation of what went wrong in Soo-kyung's marriage. I expected Let's Eat to be a sort of post-divorce coming-of-age story. Now, having been with the show for a couple of months, I am SO grateful that the show didn't touch her past relationship at all. Her divorce was just a part of who she is, like her hair color or her appetite. Nobody belittled her for it or treated her like a leper because of it. It's probably the most subversive handling of divorce I've seen on a kdrama--giving the lead that backstory, but not letting it define her or her character.

It actually kinda treated the age difference between the leads similarly, come to think of it. It was acknowledged in jest, but when romantic feelings started emerging between the leads, it was just completely a non-issue. No major unnecessary drama there.

So much love for this show!!

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I also really loved how the romance wasn't, like, THE GREATEST love story ever told. She and Dae Young just liked each other and that was it. So cute, and so refreshing!

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Totally! It was a really nice change of pace to see two good people slowly work their way towards each other, without any major hiccups or pressure on them. It felt so realistic to me. I didn't need them to be OMG SOULMATES, it was nice to see two compatible people actually get to know each other, then develop feelings for each other and act on them.

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Agreed! This was such a cute, down-to-earth show. So glad girlfriday did this recap!

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Yes! Everything you said!

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Loved the drama. Never has a drama made me so hungry since Dae Jang Geum. A great underrated cast with a warm story line. I highly recommend it!

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Oh yeah! Avoiding to read the entire review since I'm only on episode 5 but it is such a fun, quirky drama. I'm actually enjoying the close up shots of the actors eating the food, you really do get hungry everytime they eat! Thank you for the quick recap and I will get back to your thoughts once I finished the series.

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I loved all of it. Since I was always slow recognizing product placement I enjoyed the food sequences. I dont have a clue about how korean food tastes. So everything was again more like a whole advertisement of culture than a food commercial of one huge food business.

I really liked this one. Of course tje serial killer segment was low but it never was that kind of drama to begin with so I didnt care either. I guess I am just really doting to this little project.

The only thing that really sucked was the fact that the main actress got a brotox injecting in the middle of the series. I just couldnt stop starring at her face. why did she have to do that. shes so pretty without a puffed up face.

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Awww, GF, this was such a light and fluffy show... Totally lots of food porn! I soo loved Soo Kyung and Do Joon in this! I couldn't believe how I enjoyed all the long moments of people just enjoying eating food! The comfort and healing aspect of food was such a big part of this drama... While everyone was watching The Heirs this was my drama! Once a week every Thursday and now it's done but, it's one of those dramas that when I think about it I'll always have a silly grin! There were lots of laughs and our Barassi, I'll miss him.. He was such an awesome part of this drama...

GF thanks for recapping this, I didn't think a lot of people would like this, but it's highly recommended for being light and just SIMPLE fun! I'll keep going back to this drama for the laughs and fun if it!

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This show is like a massage for your brain and a feast for your eye!! A pain for your stomache though!

Also, Barassi, I love you!! ;___;

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I couldn't finish this drama because the obsessed way they were eating ruined it for me .

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Those of us who obsess over food found that part pretty enjoyable. :) I agree the food scenes were too long and I would have preferred more food shots than eating shots, but still.

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the food I loved, it's the eating it like you're having sex with it that bothered me . and that annoying fake gulping sounds .
eating scene are fun in kdramas , so I thought this being about food would be even more fun , but no !

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Just fast forward those bits, about 2 - 3 mins long. Helps if you are marathon-ing the series. I did that and still love the overall story.

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I will later when I have time

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"It has a contemplative tone when exploring the characters’ loneliness and isolation, and is less about romance than it is about three neighbors looking out for each other and forming a family in their own way." <-- This.
I find that this kind of plot line based on forming sincere relationships is not always done in a realistic, convincing way in 16-20 episode dramas, because they have to make room for the birth secrets, revenge, eviiiiil corporate scheming, cinderella makeovers, long lost parents, gangster debt collectors, etc.

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So true! That's also one of the reasons i stayed tuned, along with all the food porn which i gained a few pounds over for.
I liked the atmosphere and i liked the set up of neighbors bonding and looking out for each other. I don't always mind the mundane everyday things if it's done realistically with some heart.

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Over-the-top rags-to-riches plots may have gotten me into K-dramas in the first place, but I gotta say, once in a while, it's nice to have a drama without a single chaebol in it! :)

I liked that it didn't pretend too hard to be anything extraordinary. Just a simple story about what people do every day of their lives, but very satisfying, like comfort food!

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Ha, I also was freaked out by Yoon So-hee's resemblance to Park Shi-yeon. I am still watching this and enjoying it. I agree about the food, I make sure I am having dinner at the same time as watching. Am enjoying having these series review to find out what everyone thinks about the shows that are not recapped, thanks GF!

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Does anyone else think the main guy also resemble Lee Chun Hee?

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The actor who played Lawyer Kim was wonderful in this show. In the final episode he brought me to tears. I loved all the characters and really felt this show was a gem. I am happy to see Girlfriday giving it some love.

The food porn was amazing. I would have to stop watching mid-episode and get something to eat on more than one occasion. I wonder if the cast gained weight shooting this show.

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I have to say I was on the Lawyer Kim ship for a bunch of this show because he was so good--both sweet and hilarious. He did make me cry in that episode--slow tears at first that changed to out loud bawling with that dumb hiccupy thing to boot. he really gave her up "cooly" like he wanted to. I liked him (even though I found his character annoying) in Can We Love as well. I hope some casting director notices and gives him a lead role where he gets the girl next time.

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It would have been a deeper and more touching drama, and not light and fluffy, if the screenwriters let her fall in love with the lawyer. I still feel of twinge for them. The actor is only really awkward around her, and you could tell it's a temporary thing that would go away once they became a couple. Why did they cast such a personable and persuasive second lead if only to disappoint us? I think his acting brought this character to life, even more than the screenwriter originally intended. I don't think the screenwriter intended for half the audience to fall in love with the lawyer and root for him. At least, I hope the actor who plays the lawyer will be able to star as lead actor in future dramas based on his work in Let's Eat. He's clearly lead material.

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I don't necessarily agree that the lawyer's behavior would have changed, the fact that he's such a dork was really endearing to the audience but he really didn't have the emotional maturity to have a relationship with someone like Soo-kyung. He still has her up on a pedestal and is so willing to cater to her every perceived need (ex: pretending to like dogs) that there'd be no way for the relationship to last. He'd burn himself out trying to be her perfect man. I agree that the actor needs to star in something, he was great in this show!

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i am with ame on this. i liked him too but not for soo kyung. i felt very sorry for him not only for being in love/ crushing on her for so long but being so unable to read her at all!! he was clueless about her and she was really awkward about receiving his attentions after having thought of him as a thorn before.

she and dae young are a much better fit.

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im hungry!!!

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This series review makes my heart all warm and fuzzy, gf. :)

I was only disappointed in the serial killer "development" because I thought there was such a great juxtaposition between the central storyline of warmth and fluff, then cutting to a bone-chilling epilogue of someone creepin' in the hallway...and then it just felt like it went nowhere? Oh the potential.

Other than that, I was invested in all of the characters and 1 episode per week was satisfying for me.

Definitely learned my lesson pretty quick about eating before/during the episode to minimize hunger pains. Probably the only drama I've ever "prepared" for.

Also the only thing I've seen Doojoon in. To be honest, I didn't even recognize that it was him when I started watching! Loved his portrayal of Daeyoung.

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I learned really quickly to eat before watching,, too. I remember after watching one episode I went and made pizza dough, marinara sauce, potato soup with homemade stock from a Ham bone, and baked a chicken--all in one day. My family was in love, but I knew I would not be able to keep this up!

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Thanks for the review, GF!

Agreed with the killer mystery, Mish! The tonal shifts were a little bit jarring at times, and I kept waiting for some sort of further development or twist on that but nope. "Just" a random psycho.

All in all, I ADORED this drama and all the characters, and it was my fun, fluffy, heartwarming hour for 16 weeks. It was a story of normal people getting to know, trust, and support each other that succeeded in the small, everyday moments. I'm missing it already :(

As a foodie myself, the extended food porn was a delight, and I wish I had a group of friends to go and explore restaurants like the people in the drama :P

PS: Before this I didn't even know who Dojoon was, but now I'm looking forward to his next projects.

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I enjoyed the eating scenes :--)

I also enjoyed Yoon Doojoon (What? He is not an actor? He is from BEAST???) and attorney Oh Do Yun (soo funny!!).

Well, I actually enjoyed all characters :--)

I would prefer though if the story more focused on the 3 friends than some revenge mini-arch towards the end... and I hoped Attorney Kim would end up with Jin Yi - he would so much appreciate her admiration :--)

All in all a nice pleasant show I definitely don't regret watching.

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Although I care for food only to the extent that I eat healty food to live, I enjoyed this drama a whole lot. While I didn't pay attention to what was eaten in each episode, I found it endearing that the characters were having such a good time tasting and chewing.

I appreciate the real-life characterizations, refreshing humour and the friendly tone.
Even if some plot points didn't quite convince, there was a light suspense in the air, enough to intrigue but by no means to stress the viewer out. And the relationships - getting to know another person, being friends, being colleagues - all those were interesting to look at and gave me some food for thought. For example not to give up on airheaded, silly young girls. Usually they make me furious, but JinYi was portrayed with nuance and sympathy, so I was able to see the human inside.

Another character I rooted for was Attorney Oh - a woman who lived her life rather oblivious to the way others percieved her. It is such a novelty to me to see a girl really not pretty in a conventional way, instead of seeing a Song Hye Kyo and hear that she is plain or something. I wonder what was the respone of the Korean viewers - were they as merciless when it comes to beauty or were they able to see that even a girl without a stunning face does have feelings and has the right to look for somebody to love her.

And my favourite - Barassi! I think it was the best use of a pet in a drama I have ever seen. He wasn't just a cute accessory (what small dogs usually become in entertainment) but served some plot points and was really hilarious, he was given some personality. I will never forget the scenes when he went into his cage and closed the little door to repent. If only he had a different name... I mean given for any other reason than to honour Che Guevara which made me uneasy given the context of this particular drama :|.

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Agree on all your points..
Oh barassi..him climbing back into his cage was the funniest/cutest thing ever. My first time watching i was eating and i spat out some food, and had to rewind to make sure my eyes did not deceive me. So much personality for a small dog like him!

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Oh, I too am such a Barassi fan! The first time that little dog got mad and went into his cage and slammed the door, I just was laughing so hard!

I have not finished the drama yet, mostly because I am having trouble with the Viki reception- I always have a lag in the streaming, and I just get tired waiting for it to pick up. No such problem with other sites. Anyway - lots of nice things about this drama.

I have to say I occasionally would get confused with Lawyer Kim's character with the one he played in Can We Love. I guess the station wants to get its money's worth from the actors they hire and stick them into multiple shows.

I will enjoy watching it too the end. Friendships always have a special place in my heart.

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Yes, I thought I would find Jin Yi becoming very annoying very quickly - but that was totally not the case! She was an absolute sweetie, and such a hoot!

Likewise, I was a little uncomfortable at how they might treat the Attorney Oh Do-yeon character stereotype of the non-attractive girl, but she also subverted that very nicely. Still wish she could've found a companion or close friend, though... And yes, I also wondered about the reaction of the Korean audiences!

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I thought about it and I guess JinYi is likable and relatable because she adapts to her circumstances. I had expected a bratty, thoughtless and lazy princess who expects the whole world to dance in front of her, but thankfully she was able to understand that she needs to take care of herself.
Another thing I feared I would see was when she sold her handbags - the average princess would bemoan her loss as if she lost a friend or a family member, JY was maybe a bit sorry to give them up, but not to an irrational extent. Having means to live is the most important thing and definitely more necessary than owning luxury items.
And finally a girl from a rich household who was happy to work! That is such a rarity! But then again, it wasn't an in-your-face Candy girl glad to wash the dishes, but she found herself a truly satisfying job she was good at earning not only money but also respect and confidence. Really, a nice character development.

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I found the drama to be charming, though there were many parts that I would have rather not existed. Lawyer Oh drove me nuts, and I'm glad Jin Yi calmed down the "jang jang man" towards the end. There were scenes that were filmed to touch our hearts and then bam - comedy and I thought that was a little too overplayed (Lawyer Kim crying at Soo Kyung's desk).

I loved the main cast so much I didn't want it to end - I wanted to see how Soo Kyung and Dae Young progressed, I thought they were an awesome paring. The whole Jin Yi and what's his face storyline really threw me for a loop. First it was - okay, he's the serial killer, oh wait...he's not. Now he's a killer...oh wait, he's not. There was no need for the creepy, if you're going to give her a "friend/love" line towards the end, then make it real and not some creepy stalker thing with possible serial killer tendencies. The whole serial killer storyline should have ended at episode 5, but they dragged it on and really killed the story at some point.

I would watch it again, armed with food for every episode, and never without the fast-forward button, because really - if Lawyer Oh expounds on how wonderful and beautiful she is one more time, I might just throw something at my TV.

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Regarding Attorney Oh - let me tell you that even a person with looks below the average has a need to feel accepted and to like herself/himself. Even despite the fact that the society makes you think that you ought to despise yourself for not being the way it wants you to be. Is it so bad that she said it aloud?

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It's not that she's ugly or average where it drove me nuts, it's her need to continually voice it, to the point where every guy was in love with her, in her mind. Maybe I still believe in some form of modesty, but her delusion was set up as comedic relief but it drove me bonkers.

It drove me nuts in attorney kim too, I was just able to tolerate it because with him, he didn't think that he was gods gift and every woman was in love with him.

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I love this show so much sad thing tht the little cutie who was the delivery boy was evil hahahahahaha I love this show soooo much ? I'm definitely gonna miss it

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but he is not really evil. he just got crazy when he heard that Jin-yi's dad might get out of prison, top that with being jealous of Doo-joon. But that was not really shown in the last 2 episodes, though i saw it in the trailer. He became sort of a stalker inside her house. May be they decided to edit it.

I love Feeldog. I think he is a good actor.

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I really loved this show, everything from the food-eating shots (which I guiltily admit to actually really enjoying, especially between classes while starving...such torture!) to the interesting characters and the leisurely pacing. It almost reminded me of one of the better kinds of J-dramas at times, at least in terms of having far less melodrama than some kdramas seem to. I thought that Yoon Doo-joon did a really great job and didn't seem like an "idol-actor" at all...I think he should stick to this type of genre (just like as far as I'm concerned, Rain was at his best in the quirky I'm a cyborg but that's okay). And then there was Lee Soo-kyung. In all honestly, she made everything look delicious. This drama made me smile more than pretty much anything else I've ever watched, and on that account alone, I'd call it a victory.

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I love this show so much sad thing tht the little cutie who was the delivery boy was evil hahahahahaha I love this show soooo much ? I'm definitely gonna miss it alot

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Overall didn't think the show was particularly well done for the reasons discussed (shoe horned story lines, parodies of characters like the female lawyer, slowness) but agree that I just generally liked them and it was really nice to see some relatively normal people (as in not chaebols, evil MILs and desperately poor heroines). I liked the food focus and the shots of the food itself but didn't love the length of the food scenes or particularly the extended closeups of them eating. Once was enough for us to get the idea. I did love how Lawyer Kim stared at her while she was eating - I would marry the man who thought my enjoyment of food was sexy.

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His eyes!
His eyes when he watches her eat!
How does he make them so sparkly like that? I keep replaying him watching her eat just so I can see the hearts he shoots at her. So. Adorable.

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Any other korean food-centric shows out there?

I watched Kimchi Family (aka Fermentation Family) which wasn't great but I enjoyed the shots of the different kinds of kimchi and other dishes.

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Same here, I've been looking for good food dramas. I think Let's Eat is the most engaging Korean food drama so far. There's a few that are really good in J-drama too, if you don't mind. I can suggest Kuitan (food-loving detective) and Kodoku no Gurume (food-loving art consultant). Both are funny in their own way and quirky and a joy to watch.

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Gourmet is really good! Has a pretty standard story, but Kim Rae Won plays the hero and he's very charismatic and fun to watch. It's also nice because you see more of the cooking side of things.

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I enjoyed this show and was sad to see it go. I must confess, that I started to fast forward past the food shots though. LOL
I greatly enjoyed the characters and as someone above mentioned, it was great to avoid the makjang elements and have have the characters mostly grounded in reality (y'all know that Jin-yi was kind of in la la land).

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ps. thanks for the recap and is there a possibility of having one for "can we love?". that's definitely one of my faves this year and it would be great if y'all could weigh in!

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I really enjoyed the eating scenes, actually.

This drama was great. It was light, but fun. Sometimes it's hard to pull that combination off.

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Re; 'YOON JIN-YI (Yoon So-hee)—or Park Shi-yeon’s clone if you’re like me and couldn’t ever shake the resemblance'

Wow! I was thinking the same! I know that Park Shi Yeon's was under the knife,,,

If I have to pick up the best scene in this drama, Lawyer Kim and Doe Young holding hands tight and staring at each other warmly is the best scene! I laughed so hard.

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my LOL was the scene where lawyer kim finally realised he loved soo kyung and went back to the office and in an overwrought moment yelled "SOO KYUNG AH!!!!" with his voice breaking.

i really bursted out laughing coz it was so unexpected. and then the bit when he discovered that siri-like application on his phone too.

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Hahahah, me too me too!! He was asking it the most ridiculous questions!

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i started this drama, not knowing what to expect, mainly for doo joon and my love for b2st. at a time when i was watching about 8 dramas, an all time high, this became the one that i would want to check out first when it got subbed.

i just love every character there, except for the psychopath killer. i loved how three very different characters, with very different life view points, came together and found friendship and love. there was a scene at the first few episodes of LE, where each had woken up in the morning and then went to the window and all had different reactions and then it panned out to the building, to show all three different windows and their reaction.

its not just the characters but also how the stories were told. in the end, i really didnt want to say goodbye.

i shall miss it so. love your review. thanks, girlfriday.

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Wow, girlfriday! What a jjang-jjang recap:)

I was wondering about the spelling in the title. My Korean reading skills are weak and I just couldn't understand the spelling. Thank you for pointing that out.

I loved the title song. I saw a few of this singer's other videos, and they're pretty great!

Reading every line you wrote, I was nodding my head in agreement.

I found myself laughing in a lot of the scenes where Lawyer Oh appears, but then after, I would sort of feel bad because I felt I was laughing "at" her because she's not a conventionally pretty actress.

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I love it,the plot,the romance and not to mention the FOOD is all good,n I'm with u that go dae young is such an oddball ?

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I liked this drama. I love food. So I avidly looked forward to the reasons scenes each week.

The mystery plot still didn't resolve totally for me.

Ending poem
"To you that eat a lot of rice because you are lonely.
To you who sleep a lot because you are bored.
to you who cry a lot because you are sad.
I write this down.
Chew on your feelings that are cornered like you would chew on rice.
Anyway, life is something that you need to digest."

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(Eating not reasons)

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Thanks for writing this out! I loved that ending poem. Perfect ending for an enjoyable show.

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LOVE the ending poem <3 <3 <3

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I agree. I couldn't shake off the park shi yeon clone either.

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....and has the bizarre habit of keeping all his clothes at the dry cleaners, and goes there to change every morning...

Show, for this alone, you had me .....

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I have so much love for this show, their unconventional family, the quirkiness of the characters, Goo Dae Young's food lectures and that hilsrious song they play during the eating sequences!

So surprised by Yoon Doo Joon! This was the first time I saw him act, and was surprised he was an Idol, can't wait to see more from him.

It's been a while since I would look forward to the next episode for any show.

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Living singledom now. It's totally like that. Lol.

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Thanks for the series recap GF! It was spot on.

Enjoyed the series very much n this drama was the first i looked for on Thurs nights followed by Miss Korea n then finally YWCFAS.

First time was following 3 dramas in 1 night - kept me very busy n the episode where they featured fried chicken had me n my Korean friend heading to the newly opened korean chicken join nearby for some Crazy Spicy chicken wings!

Watched for Kim Soo Kyung but fell in love with the whole cast including the dog n kids. That little boy's crush on Jin Hi was the cutest thing next to the adults love story!

Will miss this series n looking forward to the special this Thurs.

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The best part of the series was the mukbang scenes. Other than that, I wasn't really into the main love-line because it seemed that the feelings were forced between LSK and Doojoon. Doojoon's acting was alright, but it seemed like I was watching a makjang or Jdorama due to his overacting and reactions. LSK and that other idol...the one from Big Star, were the best in their roles. I could totally understand the feelings of the heroine, as a foodie who loves good eats but can't get her busy friends to go with her lol

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i love this drama, and have no issues with the slo-mo takes on the food (heh, cos i love food porn, and it gives me a good chance to mark out what to try on my next trip to seoul)

but i do agree the one-ep-a-week pacing is horribly slowwwww. it'd work if they cut on the episode numbers (maybe have it at 10 instead of 16), cos it feels draggy after a while.

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I didn't even know Doo Joon was an idol when I watched this until I looked him up because of how much I loved him in this ! I'm now also a fan of BEAST thanks to him ^^

This will definitely be one the (best) underrated shows of 2014, it was such a delight watching this every week. Everyone was just perfect, no on made me want to punch the comp screen. At first I thought Jin-Yi would be the typical annoying second female lead but my god she is so adorable, I really liked her ! The female lawyer was hilarious but that scene where she was crying and eating really got to me aswell. Would really recommend this !

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I'm a foodie myself and the main point of the drama : THE FOODS was quite the trigger. I watched 2 episodes(or was it 3?) but gave up afterwards: the food looked so delicious but the gulping down was just too outrageous. And that scene where the 3 neighbours have their first meal together(the grilled meat) really looked like they were having a threesome (wait... am I allowed to use this word on here?)

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Love this show, and I actually really enjoy the extended food porn shots even though they make me drool all over my keyboard. I think the mystery killer story line is unnecessary, because the characters are wonderful enough to carry the show. Wish they'd spend more time on the romance instead, those sexy eyes Dae Young use to look at Soo Kyung nuna need more outlet than one stolen kiss!

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Doo Joon was amazing. Never heard of him before, but will def watch any future dramas he's in. He was totally funny and charming.

Also really enjoyed the actress/comedienne who played Lawyer Oh. I started seeing the beauty in her face and believing that she did indeed deserve to be loved.

I am not a huge fan of Korean food (sorry) so I was fine with the eating sequences and didn't get hungry.

I haven't watched the final eps yet but clearly now I must!

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GF you are awesome !! are you a journalist by any chance ??? :) you write really great reviews in realistic tone. thanks again

Loved this show, it was not very melo no tearful scenes just common subject of food, no hypes, electricity bills , office , blog following ,neighbour, cruriosity and bravery :) Totally loved Doo Joon and Soo Kyung and offcourse Jin hee is like a mermaid she was lovely and pretty to look. It was just like a 15day drama each epiosde on one day and what those people eat and how they spent their day !!! last episode with serial killing and all were unnecessary ... became a big big fan of Doo Joon , his expressions were awesome ... and narration of dilogues were very smooth. Wish we had more scenes with the leads .... Go go go ...Totally wholesome !!! have new respect for any food going to my mouth !!!

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Aw yay I'm so glad you did a review! I enjoyed this drama very much and hoped that you were tuning in too :) I loved the thoughtful moments and quirky, yet relatable characters so much that all the lesser subplots, though regrettable, do not take away any of my love for the drama as a whole. I'm just grateful for what I was given and was left wanting more :)

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loved this drama as much as i enjoyed it!!! although i realized by episode 2 that i should either watch this with a full stomach... or a plate of food in front of me...

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this is the series that made me want to travel to korea just for the food trip. i think the producers should create a travel itinerary like that, i'll sign up for sure =)

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I looove this show, its light and warm just like the foods (thou it made me ended up eating each and every time i finished with one episode).
It was aired together with other big dramas but i found myself looking to watch this one specially every week, it never disappoints me - i enjoyed the after taste for every episode.
On a side note thou, if i were Soo Kyung (a devorcee should know better not to get burn twice) i wouldn't want to end up with a man with a shitty apartment like Dae Young is - it show his lack of responsibilities and just poor way of living (he's the King of insurance, come on! he could do better, i want my men to be clean.)

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*divorcee

...and i forgot to mention, both lawyers - Kim & Oh are amazing! They're an oddball and weird and annoying at times but the last two eps made me tears up for them.

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