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Let’s Eat 3: Episode 9

No one knows how to deal with their emotions on this show, or the consequences of their actions. Or the consequences of their non-actions. Maybe Sun’s infected them too much with his determination to keep from “crossing the line,” but everyone continues to hide how they really feel in order to keep the peace — or perhaps out of fear of what might happen if they were truly vulnerable.

 
EPISODE 9: “Healthy Summer Food”

It’s a hot summer day and Dae-young lounges at home, surrounded by his usual comic books and empty snack packages. His stomach grumbles and he wonders if he should ask Ji-woo to lunch. Just as he’s picking up the phone, he hears her yelling at him from across the balcony.

Aw, she’s the one who asks Dae-young to lunch instead. She also tells him that she’s decided to stay — she’s not moving. She wouldn’t consider herself a good friend if she took away the energy she brought to Dae-young’s life.

Delighted, Dae-young takes her to a jjampong (spicy seafood soup) restaurant, with a broth so spicy that people who can finish their bowl in ten minutes or less get their photo taken and put on the wall. It’s the same restaurant they used to go to when they were in college, and they look around until they find the photo of Dae-young showing off his empty bowl.

Flashback to 2004, where Dae-young agonizes as he slurps down the spicy broth. He finishes it in time for the proprietor to take his photo and put it on the wall, but Dae-young decides to take a photo of the empty bowl himself to show off to his friends. And thus a tradition was born.

It’s winter now, and Ji-woo and Seo-yeon watch Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The two sisters exit the theater arguing about which leading man is more handsome. Ji-woo is firmly in the Colin Firth camp, but Seo-yeon thinks Hugh Grant’s bad boy is much more appealing. Seo-yeon believes that good guys are too boring, but Ji-woo says Seo-yeon will come to her senses the day she’s dumped by a bad boy.

Their argument is interrupted with Byung-sam calls, inviting them to a soccer club lunch meeting. Seo-yeon is astonished that Byung-sam is so comfortable with Ji-woo that he can talk to her on the phone, and they soon join the boys. Jin-seok isn’t there, unfortunately, because he’s avoiding Seo-yeon now that she’s dating someone else.

Lunch is fried bacon in a pan with sausage and potatoes, and radish kimchi mixed with hot sauce and ketchup. Ji-woo marvels that she’s never eaten this before, and Dae-young’s shocked to discover there’s something she hasn’t experienced. As soon as everything’s cooked, they’re ready to dig in, but Seo-yeon makes them wait so she can take selfies first until Sung-joo politely points out that the food will burn.

Everyone eats until they’re stuffed. Well, everyone except Seo-yeon, who leaves after a few bites because she doesn’t want her clothes to smell greasy. Byung-sam suggests Ji-woo might want to leave, too, but is immediately vetoed by Ji-woo and Dae-young who can’t believe someone would leave without ordering fried rice to mix in with the leftovers.

They enjoy their potato and rice carb bomb until the very last spoonful. Dae-young takes phots of the empty bowls to post on his newly created blog. His friends mock him, but Dae-young retorts he gets around 30 visitors a day so there are enough people who appreciate his posts.

Ha, that person is actually Ji-woo, who purposefully visits his blog over and over to boost the view count. Seo-yeon catches her in the act, although Ji-woo denies it. Sighing, Seo-yeon tells Ji-woo to just confess to Dae-young already before she loses him to another girl.

Ji-woo’s concerned about Seo-yeon going on a ski trip with a boy she’s only barely started to date, but Seo-yeon reassures her sister that she’s going with friends where the boy happens to be there, too. She’s playing hard to get, determined to keep the upper hand in any potential relationship. Seo-yeon tells Ji-woo to enjoy her boring Colin Firth while she pursues her exciting Hugh Grant.

After Seo-yeon leaves, Ji-woo continues to refresh Dae-young’s blog, and is startled when a notice pops up that she’s the 999th visitor and gets bonus points for her own account as a prize. Ji-woo’s surprised that Dae-young chose 999 instead of 1000, like most people would, but chalks it up to the fact that he must like the number 9 because of his name (“Goo” sounds like “nine” in Korean).

She refreshes the page and another announcement congratulates her on being the 1000th visitor. Ha!

The next day, Dae-young asks if she was really his 999th and 1000th blog visitor. Ji-woo hems and haws, and Dae-young asks if she did because the other boys told her about the free points she’d win. Ji-woo eagerly latches onto that explanation, instead of admitting the truth that she stalks his blog every day.

The boys hang out at a pool hall, and when Jin-seok asks Sung-joo to set him and Byung-sam up on blind dates, Byung-sam confesses there’s only one girl he wants to date: Ji-woo.

Dae-young keeps a blank face when he learns that Byung-sam likes Ji-woo, although he seems a little surprised. He’s also noticeably not willing to join in the teasing banter with the other boys, and grumpily tells them to stop fooling around and play pool already.

As they get ready to leave for their ski trip, Seo-yeon and her friends wait in the lobby of a fancy, expensive apartment building. Seo-yeon’s waiting for the guy friend she’s playing hard-to-get with, but is surprised to see Byung-sam walk in and be greeted familiarly by the concierge. Stunned, she asks Byung-sam if he lives there, and he can only nod in his silent, awkward way.

Later, at the fancy ski resort, Seo-yeon sees Byung-sam (in a suit!). The guy friend reveals that Byung-sam is the only heir to the large corporation, BS Industries. He wonders if BS Industries will be buying this resort, too. Seo-yeon’s jaw drops as she realizes that the dirty and awkward Byung-sam is actually a chaebol.

As soon as she gets back home from her trip, she rushes into Dae-young’s apartment where everyone is hanging out. She blurts out the truth about Byung-sam. No one believes her because, well, it’s Byung-sam. Haha, they finally start to believe when they realize his dirty sweatshirt is actually a designer brand.

Everyone reacts differently: Dae-young’s furious because Byung-sam’s been freeloading off him all this time; Sung-joo butters Byung-sam up by insisting he always knew Byung-sam was different from the rest of them; and Jin-seok drops to his knees, depressed to realize he’s now the lone loser of the group.

The girls giggle over the fact that they know a real-life chaebol, since that’s the kind of thing you only see in dramas. Ji-woo is the least bothered by it, pointing out Byung-sam is still Byung-sam, even if he’s rich, so it’s no big deal. Seo-yeon tries to convince Ji-woo to date Byung-sam, and Ji-woo reminds her that not a few days ago Seo-yeon was telling her to confess to Dae-young.

Next door, the boys look at everything paper or cardboard that Dae-young owns, noting how everything was manufactured by BS Industries. Sung-joo decides to help Byung-sam date Ji-woo by saying that there’s no reason for her not to like him now. Dae-young retorts that Ji-woo’s not the kind of girl who’d be swayed by money.

Even so, Sung-joo promises to help Byung-sam date Ji-woo. He suggests that they go on a New Year’s trip to Jeongdongjin beach to watch the sun rise. Sung-joo promises that there’s no way a girl would be able to resist the boy who kept her warm at such a romantic place. Everyone’s into it — except Dae-young.

The next morning, Dae-young receives a huge delivery of toilet paper and other paper goods, courtesy of BS Industries. Hahahaha!

Dae-young gets talked into covering the closing shift at Bennigan’s on New Year’s, which means he can’t keep an eye on Ji-woo and Byung-sam. He makes a vague promise to meet up with them later, but instead walks home in the snow. He stops outside Ji-woo’s door and stares at it for a moment before heading to his own lonely door.

Just as he’s about to enter, he sees Ji-woo arrive home. He’s shocked, and she happily greets him, explaining she had to return home early since she had to be at school in the morning. His mopey face is suddenly brighter — but not bright enough to provide light when the power goes out.

Ji-woo’s disappointed that she won’t be able to watch the New Year’s countdown on TV, and Dae-young suggests they head to the roof and listen to it on a portable radio. They cheer in the New Year with a couple of beers as they watch the snow fall on the city.

Back to 2018, where Ji-woo and Dae-young gasp as they try to finish their jjampong. Dae-young gulps down milk to help the painful spiciness, groaning that he no longer has the stomach of a twenty-year-old. He instinctively looks at the bottom of the tissue box, pointing out that it isn’t made by BS Industries. Back in the day, they’d developed the habit of looking for BS Industries’ logo on every paper product.

Of course Dae-young takes a photo of the empty bowl. Ji-woo wonders why he’s bothered to keep up with his blog all this time, and Dae-young says it’s just for the joy of introducing others to delicious food.

Sun has a restless night, unable to stop thinking about Seo-yeon and the kiss. In the morning, he nervously paces outside her door, wondering what he should do. Just as screws up his courage to knock, she starts to open the door. Sun scurries over to the table and sits down, pretending to be nonchalant.

Seo-yeon cheerfully greets him, looking as though she slept well last night. He suggests they talk about what happened, and she smiles, saying it’s no big deal — accidents happen. She likens it to a minor fender-bender that is best settled between the parties instead of made into a huge incident.

Sun’s surprised by her reaction at first, but easily latches onto her willingness to forget what happened. He explains that the medication he was on meant he wasn’t in his right mind. Seo-yeon wants to make sure that it won’t affect her job, and suggests they make it clear when she’s here as his roommate and when she’s here to work.

She steps out of her house slippers and into her high heels, marking the official start of the work day. She even slaps on an “Assistant’s Office” label on her door. Ha, but she’s not as calm and collected as she appears to be, since when she’s alone, she grumbles that she spent all night figuring out what to wear.

When Sun arrives at work, he’s lost in thought about Seo-yeon. Her explanation of the kiss as a minor fender-bender is so stuck in his mind that he gets into a real fender-bender as he backs his car into his parking space. At least the car he bumped into is Dae-young’s, and Dae-young says it’s no big deal — neither of their cars was damaged, so they should just forget it.

But Sun gets grumpy with Dae-young since that only proves Seo-yeon right about the kiss. Sun gripes that Dae-young must be so understanding since he’s older and more experienced than Sun. Uh, Sun isn’t really talking about Dae-young, is he?

Sun volunteers himself to go to the countryside restaurant for work, since he wants to avoid going home. Dae-young also tags along, which means he won’t be able to have dinner with Ji-woo. However, he suggests a place for her that serves bossam (boiled pork) for one person. Ha, all of his directions to the restaurant use other restaurants as landmarks.

Ji-woo enjoys her bossom — and even takes a photo of her empty dish to send to Dae-young. Aw, I love the way he smiles when he receives her photo thanking him for his recommendation.

Soon it’s time for Dae-young and Sun to enjoy their meals. Sun may have already tried this restaurant’s specialty dish when Seo-yeon picked it up for him, but he’s happy to have it again since chilled chicken soup is a good summertime dish. Sun begins to explain the benefits of the meal, but Dae-young interrupts and corrects him.

As the two men ramp up their “I’m more of a foodie than you” explanations of the dish, the restaurant owner intervenes and points out the cold soup will get too warm if they keep talking about it. Ha, I love that no one is taking the foodie lectures seriously this season.

After they finish their meal, Dae-young thinks that it will be ingenius for them to offer single servings of a dish that you can’t get elsewhere in Seoul. Sun points out that this dish isn’t cost effective to deliver only one portion, so there would be some dishes they wouldn’t be able to offer for solo deliveries.

Dae-young’s convinced they could find a solution, but Sun first wants to lock-in the owner as a restaurant provider.

Ji-woo takes an order of bossom to her mother. Mom’s disappointed in the TV options, wishing they would show reruns her favorite drama, the 1994 All My Love For You. Ji-woo reveals that the two leads in the show actually got married in real life, but Mom refuses to believe such a thing happens outside of dramas.

Mom asks Ji-woo what her favorite drama is these days, and Ji-woo thinks back to what era Mom believes it is and says, Winter Sonata. She describes the plot to Mom, adding that the woman’s first love dies and she can’t forget him. If he hadn’t died and they’d stayed together, then they could have fallen out of love and broken up.

But there’s no way you can beat the memory of a love that ended too soon. Mom agrees, saying that she’s never forgotten her husband who died (that is, her first husband, who is the only one she remembers due to her dementia).

Back at the countryside restaurant, the owner isn’t interested in becoming part of the CQ Foods delivery business. He doesn’t care about the money — he wants to focus on taking care of his regular customers. Sun takes that answer at face value, but award-winning salesman Dae-young scoffs, pointing out that Sun’s giving up too easily.

Dae-young immediately jumps into service, using his charm to talk (or steamroll) the restaurant owner into letting him help out, treating the restaurant like it’s his own. Dae-young serves food, helps with parking, carries heavy deliveries, and takes out the trash. Sun can’t believe Dae-young is wasting all this time when the restaurant owner won’t change his mind.

But when Dae-young sees the owner tenderly helping an old woman into the restaurant, Dae-young suddenly asks for Sun’s car keys to run an errand.

He returns with a bag full of elegant cakes, which he sets out in front of the restaurant owner’s mother. The owner insists that his mother doesn’t like sweet cakes, but the old woman retorts that she does, too! Aw, her tastebuds explode in delight as she enjoys the beautiful cake.

Dae-young promises to return another day with more cake, and Sun scoffs that he’s wasting too much time on a restaurant that still won’t agree to work with CQ Foods. But Dae-young is confident that if he takes enough shots on goal, one of them will eventually will go in.

OMG, Sun actually makes his own pun with Dae-young’s name by sassing that Dae-young will have to win 9 (“goo”) to 0 (“yong”). Of course, that means Dae-young retaliates with some “line” puns on Sun’s name, ha.

Since Dae-young worked at the restaurant all day, it’s time for some supper, and they head next door to try the infamous kimchi sujebi. It only reminds Sun of the kiss from last night, and he orders some soju to try and forget.

Sun’s stomach and intestines are in agony on the drive home. Sun pleads with Dae-young to stop at a nearby building so he can run into the restroom. It’s a cheap motel, and the owner won’t let Sun use the restroom until he gets money — either by the hour or for the whole night. Sun finally rents a room for a few hours and runs to the toilet.

Dae-young saunters into the motel after parking the car, and says he’s with the guy who just came in. The proprietor hands him a key card, and clearly assumes that the two men are “together.” I love that Dae-young isn’t bothered by this assumption.

Dae-young finds Sun crouched over the toilet, pooping his guts out. Sun’s embarrassed because there’s only frosted glass separating them, but Dae-young’s shrugs. “We’re both guys — it’s no big deal.” He takes a nap while he waits for Sun to finish his business.

A phone call wakes Dae-young up. It’s the proprietor, telling them they owe him for a full night’s stay. Dae-young’s surprised to discover it’s the morning already.

He finds Sun collapsed in the bathroom. Worried, he tells Sun that this seems more serious than just an upset stomach, especially since this isn’t the first time Sun’s been sick like this.

Dae-young says they’ll head to a hospital right away. Sun’s touched by Dae-young’s thoughtfulness, then Dae-young asks if Sun has medical insurance. Pfffft.

Dae-young calls Ji-woo to help him schedule a colonoscopy for Sun as soon as they arrive back in Seoul. Aw, I love that Ji-woo and Dae-young sound like concerned parents as Dae-young drops off their child, I mean, Sun, at the hospital so Ji-woo can take over caring for him.

There’s nothing seriously wrong with Sun, thank goodness — just severe enteritis due to stress. Ji-woo tells him to eat something, and although Sun blanches at the thought, Ji-woo says she convinced the hospital nutritionist to make cabbage porridge just for him. Sun nearly spits out his meal, though, when Ji-woo asks him if the stress is because of the kiss.

Ha, it turns out that when Sun was coming out from the anesthesia for his colonoscopy, he’d mistaken Ji-woo for Seo-yeon. Then he babbled that it was his first kiss, and that he even though he knows they’re not a good fit, he still likes her. Ji-woo’s more amused to discover that Sun had his first kiss this late in life.

Sun explains he was too focused on whether the women he dated were a good match before they got that far. Y’know, “crossing that line,” and all that. Ji-woo gently says that if he thinks too hard about whether or not they’re a good match, he’ll miss the chance to confess his feelings to the woman he likes.

She adds that Sun shouldn’t be like her. She regrets that she never got a chance to see what would have happened if only she’d confessed to her first love.

 
COMMENTS

I, too, find it hard to believe that a man in his late twenties, who is also handsome and a successful business man — and who made a living as a kid by providing porn to thirsty college students — would have had his first kiss this late in life. But then again, this is Sun we’re talking about, the king of refusing to cross lines, so I can believe that he was too logical in his approach to dating, willing to give up too soon when it didn’t seem like it was going to pan out. He needs to pushed out of his boundaries and take risks, which is why I think Seo-yeon is actually a good fit for him since she keeps him on his toes. They’re one of those classic “opposites attract” pairings, where each other’s weakness is improved by the other person. Seo-yeon can be flighty and irresponsible, but Sun keeps her grounded by forcing her to own up to her debts and responsibilities. Sun is too afraid to cross the line, so Seo-yeon crosses it for him. They’re a chaotic mess, but they’re a fun mess, and I’m looking forward to these two idiots realizing how much they care about each other (and maybe more kisses, yes? Please?).

Speaking of idiots: oh, my dear, sweet, twenty-year-old Dae-young, you foolish child with your quiet suffering as you pretend not to like Ji-woo as much as you do. I’m not sure if Doo-joon is actually this good of an actor or if I’m just imagining it, but I love seeing those flashes of “I’m bothered by the idea of someone liking and dating Ji-woo, but I can’t figure out why, so I’m just going to stand here and look vaguely wounded and confused” on his face. I can understand Dae-young being the perennial peacekeeper, not wanting to ruin his friendship with Byung-sam and the other boys — which could happen if he suddenly told Byung-sam not to pursue the first girl that Byung-sam likes and felt comfortable enough to talk to. Not wanting to destroy a friend group that meshes so well is a reasonable excuse to keep your feelings to yourself. I get it. Buuuut this is Dae-young we’re talking about! Everyone likes Dae-young! No one would be mad at him for admitting how he feels about Ji-woo! I’m sure even Byung-sam would eventually get over it.

Ji-woo may feel regret for not telling Dae-young how she felt about him back in college, but I’m pretty sure Dae-young feels even more regret, even if his personality means he doesn’t obviously show it. Which is why I’m so glad they’re getting another chance, even if the show continually tries to remind me that Dae-young loved Soo-ji and was heartbroken for years after her death. Listen, show, you were the one who decided to melodramatically kill off a character, when you’re supposed to be a lighthearted series about food and found families, so it’s not my fault if I continue to stick my fingers my ears and go “lalala” whenever I’m forced to remember that Dae-young might be even more cautious about love nowadays. He already moves as slow as molasses when it comes to realizing he likes someone — the extra grief wasn’t really necessary, was it?

Okay, now I’m just getting angry at the Truck of Doom again, when I should be pointing out all the amazing food in this episode. So. Much. Foooooooood.

This series has been generally good about having a couple of delicious meals per episode, but I’m pretty sure half this episode was just people eating. Which is as it should be, right? That’s the point of the show! But I’m so caught up in the story that now I want less food and more talking. Which is not something I’d ever thought I’d say, but if I’m going to get more kisses, we gotta first work through these relationship issues, and that’s not going to happen if we stop every ten minutes to focus on yummy food. C’mon, Dae-young — get your head out of the empty bowl and figure out what you need to do to make sure Ji-woo knows how much you care about her!

 
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