I am generally not a fan of t-dramas but do watch the occasional one (last was Back to 1989 which I really enjoyed) so decided to try this as I have a soft spot for Ivy Shao (who was also in Back to 1989) and was curious to see how Chris Wu (who won best actor for A Touch of Green at the 51st Golden Bell AWard) would be like. Am up to Ep 6 and the verdict? It’s good!
Sure, the show is cliche-ridden and has those cringeworthy moments of t-drama zaniness (accidental almost-kiss, unavoidable awkward body-part-touch/grab, over-exaggerated comic encounters and the list goes on) but the OTP chemistry and somewhat believable relationship totally sells it for me. The extremely hummable stick-in-your-head theme song 为 爱 而 爱 by GBOYSWAG also helps!
Chris Wu is Huo Ting En, the head chef and kinda-owner (he seems to be the oldest son of a wealthy family with its own barrel of drama) of La Mure, a fine dining fusion omakase-like restaurant whose claim to fame is his curried Lobster and Ivy Shao is Wei Fen Qing, a spunky sweet lass who works in the night market trying to reclaim her deceased father’s claim as Curry King when he was the head chef in a famous restaurant previously. Their paths cross as Fen Qing is known on social media as the plebeian version of Huo Ting En due to her curry shrimp bun and through a totally random encounter, she becomes his protege for 7 days on a bet that she can recreate his dish after learning with him for that period.
There is some actual cooking in this show which is totally my kinda of thing and I really like that while Fen Qing is meant to have a great acumen for taste and an all-round culinary aptitude, she is not written to be unbelievably infallible (ehem Ping Ting in general & I) and actually does learn a thing or two under Ting En’s tutelage. Ivy Shao is cute as a button but she doesn’t make Fen Qing overly naive or super tough-girl but a nice balance in-between. Ting En is yet another incarnation of Mr Darcy but ahh, such a rootable one – tall, tender hearted despite the slightly gruff exterior and he can cook! He was initially drawn to her because she reminded him of his deceased younger sister with some backstory which left him guilty (drama!) but their interaction together makes the transition of him looking at Fen Qing in a romantic light believable.
It helps that the show is only 18 episodes long so hopefully it will not descend into Stay with Me, Let Me Go push-pull madness. It’s also only one episode a week which serves as a good bookend and a lovely romantic balm to the tragi-fest that is The Glory Of Tang Dynasty II (more on that in another post!). I am eagerly anticipating Ep 7 next week and hopefully the show remains snazzy and sweet!