House on Wheels: Episode 10
This week our tiny house on wheels and its occupants travel to a beautiful new lake setting. It’s their first time staying at a lake, and the serene atmosphere is perfect for all the cooking, eating, and laughter that fills this episode. And thanks to a new guest, it’s also an episode that’s full of heart-warming interactions and family-like sweetness.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Our cast is back in the car, journeying to their next destination: Chuncheon in Gangwon Province. Dong-il says he once lived there for 10 months while filming a movie, and Hee-won tells Jin-gu about the locale, saying it’s called “the city by the lake” because there’s so much water around.
Hee-won eyeballs Dong-il in the back seat and tells him they need to eat dakgalbi while they’re here, since it’s the local speciality. Dong-il then waxes poetic about how “real” dakgalbi should be made. He gets so into the details he reminds me of Yoon Doo-joon pontificating in Let’s Eat. I have a feeling we’ll revisit this later.
On the way to Chuncheon, Dong-il says he has to call his daughter, and asks if Hee-won or Jin-gu have met her… except it’s not his actual daughter he’s talking about — it’s their next guest, Jung Eun-ji who famously played his daughter in Answer Me 1997. Eun-ji doesn’t pick up, but it’s not like anybody notices — all three of them are bopping around enjoying her dialing music.
Dong-il likes the sad lyrics (Maroon 5’s “Memories”) but he’s slightly put off that the phone rings for so long that the call is disconnected. He calls her back, and they joke that they can listen to the song again, hah! It’s the new way to listen to music, Dong-il says.
When Eun-ji finally picks up, Dong-il teases her that she’s never met either Hee-won or Jin-gu even though they’re so well-known, and their whole phone interaction is so adorable.
When our cast and their house on wheels finally arrive at their destination, it’s awe from everyone in the car. Lake Chuncheon stretches out in front of them, and they marvel at how it’s as still and clear as a mirror.
The lake shore is a beautiful spot to stay, and our cast is very strategic about where to place the house for the best angle to the waterfront. With the house parked, it’s onto the infamous tarp, the cause of so much past heartache.
By this time, though, they’ve done it enough that they’re actually starting to look like they know what they’re doing, and they swiftly get everything set up. However, the set-up is interrupted by Eun-ji’s arrival. Dong-il spots her walking over, greets her warmly and drops the tarp like a hot potato to go greet her. LOL, Hee-won is left standing with the abandoned tarp at his feet.
Dong-il and Eun-ji greet each other with the sweetest hug and carry on so much calling each other father and daughter that I’m practically convinced it’s true. He introduces her as his daughter, and looks 100% like a proud papa.
Jin-gu greets her, as does the shy Hee-won, and her housewarming gifts are quickly investigated — until Dong-il enlists her to help finish them set up the tarp instead. And the deck. Yes, he makes her carry the decking (with the help of Hee-won, who’s incredulous he’s making her do this).
The deck is a little uneven, so Eun-ji grabs some nearby rocks to lodge under it while Dong-il stands in the background, bragging about how great she is, whether it’s how capable she is, her noonchi, or anything else he can think to praise.
They rest after all the setup is complete, and when Dong-il complains how much he’s sweating, Eun-ji rushes to her gifts and unearths little handheld fans and gives them to everyone. Dong-il brags, “My daughter is so thoughtful.” Hee-won stares at it like it’s an alien object he’s never seen before; after a pause, he pronounces that it’s cute. Dong-il says, “It’s cute like you.”
Dong-il announces that Hee-won’s done some “research” on Eun-ji and Hee-won shares that she’s a radio DJ, an actress, and a singer. Jin-gu sweetly names a song of hers that he likes (“Hopefully Sky”), Dong-il shares a story about the song, and as they listen to it, everyone gets a bit wistful. Dong-il says Eun-ji is good to her parents, and that’s something he really likes about her.
Then it’s time to tease Jin-gu (isn’t it always that time?), as Eun-ji says that he publicly announced that a different member of Apink (her K-pop group) was his favorite. Hee-won and Dong-il don’t let up, finding out the ages of the Apink members and pairing him up with them, as Dong-il claims Jin-gu once told him he likes “older women.” Jin-gu is a good sport, haha and Eun-ji says Dong-il’s a rumor-making machine. Hee-won counters, “No, he’s a mythomaniac.”
Then it’s Dong-il’s turn to get teased, when he asks Hee-won and Jin-gu to take good care of his daughter. They proceed to skewer him because thus far everyone has taken care of his own guest(s), but Dong-il’s putting it on them.
The topic switches to food, and Jin-gu says that since Eun-ji’s favorites are chicken and gopchang, they should have Chuncheon’s specialty, dakgalbi. Then he announces that he has actually studied how to make the sauce, even though they told him earlier in the car that it was good without the sauce.
I can’t tell if Hee-won is excited or inviting disaster, but he’s adamant that he wants dakgalbi with Jin-gu’s sauce. Everyone cracks up and he declares, “I will only eat dakgalbi with Jin-gu’s sauce” and says that Jin-gu is like a chef by now. Jin-gu is either honored or horrified; it’s hard to tell.
Jin-gu announces that in order to cook they need groceries, and everyone prepares to head out. But first, an opportunity to tease Hee-won: he and Eun-ji (and Jin-gu too, turns out) have very similar crossbody bags, and Hee-won even admits he got them confused earlier. Eun-ji says they’re popular these days, and Hee-won confirms all the young people have them (and even uses some new slang to make his point). Dong-il: “Then why do you have it?”
On the way to the market, they talk about food, and Chuncheon’s other local speciality: makguksu. Hee-won explains the origin of the term, but he’s making up half of it as he goes along.
Eun-ji says she has to make sure her soup (cheonggukjang, to be specific) turns out good, and everyone is really sweet telling her she doesn’t have to cook for them if she feels too pressured (she and Dong-il giggle from the backseat when he says they can just get take-out). Eun-ji insists she wants to cook for them, though, and Hee-won says it’s a big change, since all their previous guests merely announced what they wanted to eat lol.
The conversation turns to how Eun-ji and Dong-il first met for their drama over seven years ago, and they marvel over the time that has passed. They reminisce over the surprise casting of Eun-ji in the lead (she had no acting experience at the time), and right then and there Dong-il calls the PD to get the full story.
Though he was doubtful, the PD said she not only aced the audition, but she was incredible with her satoori. He decided to choose someone inexperienced and interesting instead of someone dull and experienced — and thus, drama history was made.
The outing at Chuncheon Market is full of free food samples, as everyone tries out rice cakes with local ingredients. Eun-ji secures tofu for her soup, and Jin-gu spots buckwheat noodles and asks if they’ll make makguksu. They decide on cold soy noodles instead, and amongst all the ingredients they’re gathering, Dong-il spies some shikhye and jokes to Jin-gu that they’ll drink it together.
They make a final stop for their chicken, and find that the place also sells the dakgalbi sauce. Jin-gu says he’s confident he can make it, and Hee-won stands by him, but Dong-il says they should buy some just in case haha and this quickly turns into a store-bought versus Jin-gu sauce challenge.
Back at the tiny house, everyone gathers for a midday snack, drinking the shikhye and munching on the rice cakes. Eun-ji reminisces about eating fresh rice cakes as a kid right around the time of the IMF Crisis in 1997. Hee-won wonders how old Eun-ji could have been in 1997, and Jin-gu blurts out, “I was born in 1997!”
Eun-ji says she was five years old, and Dong-il and Hee-won wonder how old they were in 1997, and instead of the truth, they crack jokes about being born the year before and after it, and it’s hilarious. Still enjoying the shikhye, Dong-il jokes that Jin-gu’s was better — and then we cut back to the episode with Hyeri and Ra Mi-ran where Jin-gu’s shikhye went bad. Whomp whomp.
They divide up the dinner tasks, but the conversation again falls to the store-bought sauce versus Jin-gu’s homemade creation. Hee-won remains faithful to Jin-gu (and I’m starting to get worried about what’s going to happen when we finally get to the sauce!).
Why is Hee-won being so supportive of Jin-gu’s cooking? Hee-won says he has decided to say that all of Jin-gu’s cooking is delicious… because Jin-gu was the one that ate up his sad attempt at dukbokki — and everyone cracks up.
Jin-gu and Hee-won take care of the infamously heavy water container while Eun-ji watches her “dad” cut up the chicken in the kitchen. Dong-il again praises how Eun-ji has cared for her parents (meaning, providing for them after her success), and they reminisce over Answer Me 1997 yet again.
When Dong-il and Jin-gu are alone in the kitchen, Dong-il asks Jin-gu what he thinks of his daughter. Jin-gu says she’s cheerful and upbeat and that he was comfortable around her right away (and it’s true, they are really at ease with each other during the entire episode).
Armed with a YouTube video on his phone, and a trusty mini fan from Eun-ji, Jin-gu gets to work on his sauce. After a very professional sauce-making sequence, Jin-gu gets Dong-il to taste the sauce who says it needs to be a tad sweeter.
Meanwhile, Dong-il preps the chicken and it’s pretty impressive, considering they bought a whole chicken and it’s now become grill-worthy slices.
Jin-gu’s been fussing with the sauce all this time, and when it’s ready, they marinate the chicken in two separate bowls for the taste test later on. While all this is happening, Hee-won is standing outside peering in the kitchen making his usual dry comments while he holds a fan up for Jin-gu.
Eun-ji is always giggling at his jokes, and it’s super cute. When Hee-won gets accidentally flicked with some of the sauce, he carries on like crazy, causing only more laughter. After wiping his face with a tissue, he makes Eun-ji check if there’s any sauce left on his face lol.
With all the food prep done, Eun-ji takes up a spot at the sink and starts happily washing the dishes. Jin-gu is clearly uncomfortable with this and slinks over saying he should be doing them, but she insists.
Dong-il and Hee-won start the fire up, and they spend more time cracking each other up than actually working. I have a feeling they all go to bed with sore cheek muscles from all the laughing they do.
It starts to rain, but that doesn’t stop the grilling! First, it’s the herb salt chicken and it smells so good, and they’re all so excited, you can feel the anticipation in the air. Hee-won even starts giving Dong-il a gratitude back massage with his elbow lol. They all settle down to taste the chicken and it’s a big hit. Even though Jin-gu looks completely exhausted, he darts back to the kitchen to make them a dipping sauce, and everyone likes it, earning Chef Jin-gu some extra points.
They decide on the cold soy noodles next, since everyone’s a bit overheated, and the cold noodles will be refreshing. Jin-gu and Eun-ji cook and then ice the buckwheat noodles (my favorite, I’m dying). They’re not cooling quick enough for Jin-gu, though, so he ditches their strainer and pulls the noodles straight in the ice water.
Eun-ji grabs the soy milk from the fridge for the broth, and they carefully plate the noodles and toppings. They try to make it look pretty but can’t seem to roll the noodles in a photogenic fashion, but that doesn’t stop everyone from chowing down. They all have soy milk all over their mouths haha — that’s how much they’re enjoying it.
The big event of the afternoon is a mosquito biting Jin-gu right on the cheekbone. Eun-ji smacks and kills it when it lands on his back, but one bite was enough. Jin-gu must be pretty allergic because it’s swollen in a matter of seconds, and he’s horrified as he checks it out with his phone camera.
Hee-won, ever the voice of reason, assures him, “It’ll be fine in a little while,” earning more laughs. They’re so full there’s no room for the famous marinated chicken, so they decide to save it for later.
After enjoying a beautiful sunset on the lake, it’s back to the kitchen, with Eun-ji leading the way. Dong-il soon calls her outside, though, carrying over a huge cooler of food from his friend. It’s full of gopchang jeongol (a.k.a. hotpot), gopchang for them to grill, vegetables, and more (enough for an army, basically), because he knows it’s his daughter’s favorite. The “friend” turns out to be the mother of Park Shin-hye!
Back to the kitchen yet again, Eun-ji and Jin-gu prepare the soup with their new ingredients in hand, and the whole house echoes with the sound of careful chopping. Meanwhile, Dong-il and Hee-won start up the fire again — enlisting the help of one of the handheld fans that Eun-ji gave them. Dong-il humble-brags that everything is going so well for them today, but it makes me worry that some sort of minor dinner disaster awaits them.
Sure enough, one of the pots on the stove almost boils over, but Eun-ji quickly deals with the situation and they laugh as they add more water back to the pot. Eun-ji’s made her soup several times at home, but she still looks nervous to cook for everyone. She tries a taste and then gives Jin-gu a sample, too, and he says it’s a little bland.
Eun-ji says she usually likes more bland flavors, but decides to make it more to everyone else’s tastes. She adds salt, and then Jin-gu suggests red chili powder — she’s never made it like before, though and (adorable) Jin-gu quickly acquiesces, saying he’d rather have it her way. While Eun-ji puts the finished touches on her soup, Jin-gu offers to fry some eggs, which gets them both super egg-cited (sorry, not sorry).
Outside on the deck, Dong-il and Hee-won do their usual, squabbling about the bugs and the weather, and they’re somehow hilarious no matter what they’re talking about.
Shortly after, the gopchang soup has finished cooking and joins Eun-ji’s dish at the table. While they’re waiting on the rice, Jin-gu fries the eggs, and the gopchang goes on the grill. How are they going to eat all of this?
Dong-il and Eun-ji sit next to each other and he makes sure she gets to try the grilled gopchang first. Everyone enjoys the food, but Jin-gu makes some killer food reaction faces (that seem quite authentic) and they all agree it’s some of the best gopchang they’ve ever had. Next up is the gopchang soup, and Dong-il declares it “a work of art.” Even Hee-won is impressed.
The next dish is Eun-ji’s, and she looks so nervous as she’s waiting for Dong-il’s reaction! Jin-gu makes a satisfied face, but when Eun-ji suggests that it’s too bland, Dong-il says it suits his tastes perfectly. All they need are some eggs mixed in… and then Dong-il notices the eggs Jin-gu made.
He says Jin-gu’s taste buds are from the Joseon Dynasty lol and they tease him for all his king roles yet again. The last hurdle is Hee-won, who’s awfully silent. However, he soon puts Eun-ji out of her misery and says, “It’s really good, and I’m being totally serious.” Aww.
The dinner scene goes on for quite some time, and as they wrap it up, Hee-won goes dramatic, saying that the outside grill and meal feel extravagant. Dong-il loses it, and laughs so hard that he starts choking, and Eun-ji is doubled over trying to hold it in.
Eun-ji actually has to go inside and get some water for Dong-il’s choking fit, and all the while Jin-gu is slurping away like a maniac. Dong-il can’t refuse the opportunity and fake-scolds him saying, “How can you eat so well when your father’s suffering?” They all laugh saying it’s the fault of the delicious food.
But the eating isn’t over yet! They still have the war of the dakgalbi to conclude, and they plan out how they’ll cut and compare both marinades. Jin-gu looks nervous, and Eun-ji offers to help him.
With the fire fed and the bowls of chicken ready for grilling, Hee-won admits he’s been looking forward to this moment, and says how much he’s anticipating Jin-gu’s food. Jin-gu side-eyes Hee-won for his compliments and it’s hilarious.
While Jin-gu grills the chicken, he worries that the store-bought one looks better and admit it’s his first time marinating dakgalbi, but Eun-ji assures him that it looks great.
Dong-il and Hee-won sit back waiting for the blind taste test, and Dong-il watches Jin-gu and says it’s great to be young — no matter who Jin-gu’s with, they look like a couple (I would argue it’s not youth but Jin-gu’s fantastic chemistry as an actor). Hee-won teases Dong-il for talking about Jin-gu behind his back, and pretty soon they’re cracking themselves up again (it’s a short trip).
The smoke from the fire is pretty intense, and Jin-gu’s eyes start to tear up. He remarks to Eun-ji that Hee-won teared up because of the beautiful vista while paragliding, but he’s tearing up over the smoke. Hee-won’s got a wry defense ready, though, and says there was smoke, too, when he was paragliding and that’s why he cried. Dong-il promptly loses it again.
The chicken is finally ready, and it’s time for Store Sauce versus Jin-gu Sauce. The pressure is sky high, and Jin-gu hilariously stares into space cooling himself off with the mini fan from Eun-ji.
They’ve separate the chicken out for the purposes of the blind test, and Dong-il takes a taste of Sauce #1. Hee-won instructs him to remain silent and then he does his taste test of Sauce #1. Jin-gu’s trying to wait it out, but he looks nervous as heck. The food judges are being awfully serious, and Dong-il even takes some water in between tastes to clear his palette. Next, our ajusshis try Sauce #2.
Hee-won says he thinks he knows which is which, and right before he’s about to announce it, Jin-gu bursts out a nervous laugh and says, “Why am I so nervous!?”
Hee-won says he liked Sauce #2 better, and Dong-il readily agrees. Hee-won is sure #2 is Jin-gu’s and says that while #1 is full of flavor, Sauce #2 has a nice clean taste and it pulls out the flavor of the gochujang. Dong-il agrees 100% and further pontificates that Sauce #2 is light and lets you still enjoy the taste of the chicken, while Sauce #1 is too fancy.
These two really do seem to have not only the same sense of humor but the same taste in food! They’re convinced the winning sauce belongs to Jin-gu.
When it’s time to reveal the truth, and Jin-gu is hilarious. “You should both buy store-bought sauce from now on,” he says, revealing that his was the “fancy” one. All four of them go hysterical.
Eun-ji wants to do the comparison, too, and Hee-won and Dong-il seem to feel so apologetic to Jin-gu that they launch into a huge explanation of their taste analysis.
They go on and on explaining that they chose Sauce #2 because they really thought it was Jin-gu’s – Sauce #1 was too “perfect” and “restaurant worthy” for them to be sure it was his. Jin-gu is skeptical and who knows what they really think by the end of all of this hole-digging and back-pedaling. The bottom line is that both sauces are good, and everyone is enjoying the food — and each other’s company.
The closing narrative says that these are the sort of things that bring people closer and make them more like family, and after watching this episode (and House on Wheels more generally), I have to agree.