Monthly Archives: March 2010

Tofu and Prison in Kdramas

tofu scene, Lady vengeance (2005)

We had guests this weekend. Normally when friends come over we go sight seeing and my husband is busy planning which pork or beef BBQ restaurant to take the guests to. But this time, as one friend is a strict vegetarian, we knew from past experience that eating out was going to be a problem. Since we moved to this area though, I’ve found a great tofu stall in the local market. The tofu is made on the premises every day and so I can buy tofu so fresh it’s often still warm – Fried tofu with soy sauce, chili, and sesame oil. Fabulous. Speaking of tofu, I’ve noticed in Kdramas that tofu is often given to people when they come out of prison and I wanted to find out why. Continue reading

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Jang Dong-geon, All About Eve (MBC, 2000)

Oh why doesn’t JDG star in dramas anymore?

All About Eve. Source - Hancinema

JDG as Yoon Hyung-chul in All About Eve (MBC, 2000)

I just got the box set of All about Eve (MBC 2000) for my birthday which has put me in Kdrama retro mood.

I love this drama. It’s one of the first Kdramas I watched.

It’s about the rivalry of two young women who both want to become news anchors. Jin Sun-mi  (Chae Rim, Oh my Lady, currently airing on SBS) is kind and sweet, her rival Huh Young-mi (Kim So-young (IRIS) is the beautiful but manipulative baddie of the drama. (I much preferred Kim So-young in this drama to IRIS. All she seemed to do in IRIS was follow Lee Byeong-heon around looking sullen. I wasn’t keen on IRIS in general though. Too glossy. Over-styled fashion and hairdos. Did LBH really have a chance to go to the hairdresser’s every day while he was on the run. Yes, I know it’s only a drama but… )

Jin Sun-mi (Chae Rim) and Huh Young-mi (Kim So-young. All About Eve (2000) MBC

Anyway, In All About Eve, Young-mi has had a difficult life with her violent father. After he dies she moves to Seoul to fulfill her dream of becoming an anchor newsreader. She is determined and ambitious and tough coming from a poor background. But she is also envious of Sun-mi who is the same age as her and studying the same subject at university, but seems to have  had such an easy life compared to her. The “love square” is completed with Kim Woo-jin (Han Jae-suk) Sun-mi’s childhood friend and of course the rich and handsome Yoon Hyung-chul (Jang Dong-geon).

2009 Lost Memories. Source - Hancinema

The first I knew about Jang Dong-geon was around six years ago when I was working in Tokyo. I happened to rent the sci-fi action thriller 2009 Lost Memories, (2002) where he stars as Sakamoto, a Korean-born JBI (Japanese Bureau of Investigation) agent.

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My Name is Kim Sam-soon review

One of the dramas that always crops up when I ask people to recommend a good one is the MBC drama,  My Name is Kim Sam-soon (2005) staring Kim Sun-ah (City Hall) and Hyun Bin. So last week I sat down to watch it and it didn’t disappoint.


Kim Sam-soon

Chubby Kim Sam-soon (Kim Sun-ah) breaks up with her cheating boyfriend and worries that she’ll never find a decent man. Determined to fulfill her dream to be a fabulous baker she gets a job working for Hyun Jin-heon (Hyun Bin), the young, rich, owner of a restaurant. Jin-heon is fed up with his mother setting up blind dates for him as he still has feelings for his pretty and slim girlfriend Hee-jin who moved to America three years ago. Sam-soon needs money to save her family home so she agrees to act as Jin-heon’s girlfriend in exchange for a loan. Troubles arise when Hee-jin comes back into Jin-heon’s life.

General thoughts

With great onscreen chemistry between the lead characters this romantic comedy had me hooked and I watched all 16 episodes in less than a week. It was easy to relate to Sam-soon – the heroine who can’t stick to a diet and worries that she is getting older and men won’t be interested in her. (cough cough) and there’s plenty of eye candy with the young Hyun Bin (23 at the time) who puts in a good performance as the arrogant, but hurting, rich restaurant owner. Plenty of girl-power, laugh out loud moments, and a down to earth tone – it’s not as prissy as some romantic dramas that try to suggest that nobody in Korea would dream of even holding hands outside wedlock.

The women in this drama are full on, speaking their minds and sticking to what they believe in. Sam-soon’s mother chases men away with a broom, her sister drags her man by his tie to a love hotel, and Sam soon drinks several bottles of soju, burps, throws up, and wakes up in Jin-heon’s bed after he has to carry her home. But she remains unapologetic and still innocent (nothing happened between them). Continue reading

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The Scream


The simple task of making the evening meal turned into screams of hysteria when I decided to make  ojingo bokkum , a dish I’ve made lots of times before. Unaware of what lay ahead, I headed down to my local market to get some ingredients. I usually make it with squid, onions, carrots, shitake mushrooms and sesame leaves. But this time I thought I’d try it with minari, water dropwort, instead. And this is where the trouble started. Continue reading

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Trip to Namhansansong 남한산성

namhansansong fortress dates back to the 17th century

Now that it’s finally getting warmer I think it’s time to get out of hibernation and do something about these flabby thighs. Not being a winter sports fan I’ve stayed well away from the outdoors and enjoyed ondol at home instead. One of the things I like about living in Seoul is that we are so close to the mountains. The only trouble with some of the mountains in Seoul though, is that they get so crowded at the weekends, it can feel more like a stressful shopping expedition getting jostled in Myeong Dong rather than a relaxing walk in nature. So yesterday we went a little further out of the city to Namhansansong, a fortress on a mountain South East of Seoul. Continue reading

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Age and Ajumma

Ji Jin-hee as the bachelor Jae-hee and Uhm Jung-hwa as Dr. Jang in the 2009 romantic comedy, The Man Who Can’t Get Married, KBS

Perhaps it’s because my birthday is coming up that I’m getting more and more sensitive to the term ajumma but I had to laugh at the “ajumma scene” with Dr. Jang and the children in Episode 2 of The Man Who Can’t Get married. Dr. Jang, a 40 year old single doctor, is being nagged by her dad to find a husband. He tries to set up blind dates for her and then wants her to join a match-making service. She’s mortified when she finds the application form he has got for her to join the agency and goes to question him about it. Her dad is a dentist and busy with a patient when she arrives so she sits next to two kids while she waits for him to finish so she can talk to him. But after she sits down the little boy next to her turns and tells the “adjumma” that she is sitting on his comic. His sister tells him not to call the lady ajumma because she’s heard that single ladies don’t like being called this.

What shall I call her then? he asks.

His sister looks flummoxed. She doesn’t know. And there’s the problem. What do you call a woman over 30 other than ajumma? The little boy looks closely at Dr. Jang and turns to his sister and says,

She does look like an adjumma though… Continue reading

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Moving Season

our stuff coming over the balcony

It’s the “moving season” now in Seoul. Students graduate, workers start new jobs, children begin a new school year and people need to move. There are 22 buildings and over 1,100 flats in our apartment complex so I suppose it’s not surprising that almost every day somewhere in this area I can see a long ladder making its way up the side of a building as another family’s personal belongings get hauled up and over their new balcony. Watching the removal vans reminds me of what it was like when we moved here just a few months ago. Continue reading

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