Wok of Love

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  • Score: 8.1 (scored by 3,008 users)
  • Ranked: #836
  • Popularity: #390
  • Watchers: 7,314

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Completed
3GGG
20 people found this review helpful
Jul 17, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
PLOT: Successful, but it floundered
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To say the writers had the story planned out from the beginning might be a lie. I wouldn't be surprised if we learned that they were plotting the story out as they went along because it's far from perfect. Though at the beginning it leaned into melodrama, it found its ground and settled for humor (which was a good call).

That's not to say the transition wasn't entertaining to watch. To simplify it, the show is so much fun you'll ended up willing to overlook some of its glaring flaws. Most of which include entire plot points abandoned halfway without an explanation, only to introduced more plot-points that were later forgotten. If this show could be edited, I would've taken most of those out... especially the one that introduced a pretty dark subject only to brush over it and shelve it...

At any rate, despite its flaws, this is a lighthearted story that's very digestible and, more importantly, enjoyable.

MAIN CHARACTERS: Lovable
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The three charismatic main leads were given a good balance of strengths and weaknesses. And though they weren't always held accountable for their actions, they still showed some measure of growth and change as the story progressed.

Seo Poong (male lead): His character was probably the most relatable. His growth comes from falling to his lowest point and having to claw his way back up. He's equal amounts fearful and arrogant, which makes him a refreshing male lead. The fact that he shows moments of vulnerability and self-doubt goes to show that a strong character can be built through struggles. If one takes a look at his character from the first episode and compares him to who he becomes during the last episode, you'll see he was properly developed.

Dan Sae Woo (female lead): Jung Ryeo Won did a wonderful job of portraying Sae Woo's sassy attitude. Every smile and chuckle felt natural and contagious. She was also a well-rounded character, with moments of strengths balanced by moments of vulnerability. As fun as she was, out of the three main leads, I'd argue she had the least growth. As the episodes rolled by, it became increasingly obvious that she lacked self-reflection. This meant that she wasn't always held accountable for her actions. This in turn resulted in little change to her character when comparing the first episode to the last. The opportunities to develop her were there for the taking, but the writers missed every single one.

Doo Chil Seong (second male lead and the character who stole the show): Chil Seong was so charming, kind and lovable, that he out-shined and out-staged the other leads. And I don't mean as in he gave me second lead syndrome (though he did), but more like his character became the heart of the show. And how could he not? Chil Seong existed outside of the love triangle and was developed far more than the rest. He had the most interesting backstory and he was at the center of the most powerful moments of the series. Chil Seong was a magnet who -- through his charisma and selflessness-- ended up pulling the rest of the cast into his orbit. If you were hesitant to watch this because he's not the main lead, perish the thought! I have a feeling that if you watch this series, you won't regret it.

ANTAGONISTS: Unremarkable
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There's a number of antagonists, each showing a different degree of hostility towards our leads, but honestly, none of them stood out. Their purpose was to progress the story and support the narrative by adding obstacles to force our protagonists (mostly Poong) to grow. So even if they were rather superficial in their development (or lack thereof), they were a useful addition.

SUPPORT CHARACTERS: shallow
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Just like with the antagonists, the support characters served a specific function within the main story and, therefore, didn't get any proper development. However, given their role, I think it was a good call to keep the story focused on the leads. Especially since not all of the support characters were likable.

PORTRAYAL OF ROMANCE: Sweet, nurturing & healthy
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The romance between our leads was great. Lee Jun Ho & Jung Ryeo Won had great chemistry on screen, which made the development of the relationship feel organic. The characters' personalities also meshed pretty well, allowing them both to be equally active in the development of their relationship rather than have one character pursuing the other. In a way, it felt like they were both walking towards one another and met right in the middle.

PORTRAYAL OF BROMANCE: Heartfelt & nurturing
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The relationship between Poong and Chil Seong was a highlight of the show. Although they started on the wrong foot, Poong and Chil Seong built a strong foundation of understanding, loyalty, devotion, and support that culminated in a familial bond. The fact that Lee Jun Ho and Jang Hyuk also had great chemistry, helped sell how quickly they transitioned from friends to "bros".

OVERALL:
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This is a feel-good series. It's not a perfect by far, but it's undoubtedly entertaining and light enough to binge-watch. It's also a series that doesn't ask too much of its audience, which makes it a perfect show to watch after coming home from a hard/stressful day.

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Completed
ChinguMode
10 people found this review helpful
Jul 22, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 9.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This review may contain spoilers
I saw a movie recently where a character said "You like somebody because of things but you love them despite things” and I think that applies to this show.

This is a messy, gleeful and heartwarming tale about a chef, a gangster and an heiress who lose everything but then come together to reclaim it. Chinese masterchef Poong (Joon Ho), reformed gangster Chil-sung (Jang Hyuk) and lonely socialite Sae-woo (Jung Ryeo Won) have nothing in common but their shared calamities: all three hit rock bottom in the first few episodes.

These three characters with different backgrounds and temperaments are the disparate ingredients this show promises to turn into jjajangmyeon - the signature Korean/Chinese fusion dish that Poong is an expert at and that Chil-sung and Sae-woo are perpetually hungry for. While the first few episodes are almost unhinged in the seeming-randomness of their elements, the show makes it clear that Poong is the cook that's going to bring them together in one perfect dish.

For the fist half of its run, this was a show that was about jjajangmyeon but was also jjajangmyeon itself: televisual fusion cuisine. That’s why the show was originally so messy and it’s why I loved that the show was so messy. Because it seemed to be saying that people, relationships and life are a huge mashup of disparate things and it’s not about one being ‘good’ and the other ‘bad’ but about the proportions of each ingredient. Throughout the first half, all our characters were floundering because their life recipes weren’t right yet. If life is a recipe you're constantly refining, then all our characters were still deciding on the menu.

From the beginning, the show was extremely clever - but sometimes too clever. Its brilliant use of metaphors and imagery is a device I personally love but even I thought it was a bit overdone in the beginning. There were episodes where I was so busy tracking its use of hot and cold and the black and white that I missed plot. Nietzsche was thrown in there, first to intrigue us and then to confuse us. Poong was either a Nietzscheism superman or its antithesis; the writers never seemed to be sure. I know a lot of viewers simply couldn't cope with the chaos and dropped out. I stayed in, loving every minute and waiting for the writers to bring it all together in one glorious dish of fusion cuisine.

It's probably not surprising that this did not happen although it's not entirely clear what went wrong. Originally slated for 20 episodes (40) and then cut to 19 (38), maybe the show suffered from losing an episode, maybe it was three episodes too long. The show went on hiatus for two weeks and when it came back it was seemingly a shell of its former self. Characters disappeared, plots were dropped, major plot points were resolved quickly and anti-climactically, and others were dragged down with standard, almost pedestrian, kdrama plotlines. It was almost as though the writer had been instructed to play it more safe and the quirky, surreal magical realism was replaced with the plotline of a standard romcom.

The minor characters often detracted rather than added to the show in the end. The antagonists, which started off suitably hateful and conniving, became one-dimensional villains of little import, if they didn't disappear completely. The Giant Hotel may have loomed over the Hungry Wok like a corporate Goliath but David didn't defeat it so much as replace it and the little restaurant seemed more beset by disloyalty and ingratitude from its employees than by external threats.

Poong and Sae-woo remained adorable and sexy and wonderful and Chil-sung held a kitten every episode so the show is worth watching till the end. No matter how many plots got dropped or how many characters disappeared, the relationship between the three leads was the show's saving grace. The romance between Poong and Sae-woo is passionate and sweet - just the like sweet-and-sour pork that is his other signature dish. The bromance between the two men is loving and supportive. And while there is technically a love triangle here, it's handled with maturity and without unnecessary angst. These three people love each other and watching them come together is the show's best element.

In fact, show ends well. It's just not the affordable gourmet meal we were promised but more like a rushed lunchtime bowl of noodles while we're trying to get back to work.

In the end, I love Greasy Melo despite its flaws and I guess that means my Love Is True. I can dream of a more perfect version of this show where the writers were able to use all the ingredients they prepared to make the perfect meal instead of leaving half of them on the chopping board. But if lasting love is based on acceptance, then I accept. This is the show it is.

9/10

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Completed
kingsqueen
6 people found this review helpful
Jul 22, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
This show was carried almost entirely by the cast. The story, while entertaining in the first half, was also weird. We've got a talking horse, for goodness' sake! The back half, I believe suffered pacing issues due to pre-emptions for the World Cup and the reduction of episodes.

I adored our main trio and their friendship. Jang Hyuk, made the best "gangster with a heart of gold" - he didn't need to be the lead to steal the show! Lee Jun Ho and Jung Ryeo Won were super adorable together as Seo Poong and Dan Sae Woo. Their flirting and banter was really easy to watch. Doo Chil Sung's love for them both was immeasurable, and I'm happy that Poong loved his friend just as much as he loved Sae Woo.

There are some truly 'melo' and makjang things that happen in the first few episodes, but there is a nice comedy to it that kept me interested. But the downfall to this drama was that it dropped a bunch of important storylines and started to become repetitive. The cast and their chemistry is the only thing that saved this show for me and had me watching until the end. The ending was very rushed and was less than satisfying.

Music was good.
Probably will not re-watch this.

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Completed
mopalia
5 people found this review helpful
Aug 12, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 5.5
Story 3.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 5.5
Rewatch Value 1.5
I love food-related dramas, so I was really eager to see this one. Initially, it reminded me of Happy Home. Alas. it fell behind quickly. Happy Home developed wonderful characters but mainly the complex and well planned plot line carried them through 51 engaging episodes, and I was sorry to see it end. Although Wok of Love stated strong and had excellent actors bringing interesting characters, the writing was scattered and indifferent, Plot lines came and left - at one point, I wondered if they had forgotten that Jang Hyuk was even in the drama. To say that he was under-used is an understatement - they took one of the best actors in K-drama and treated him like an afterthought. He's the only reason I stayed with it to the end. Overall, this was a waste of talent and a waste of my time after the first few episodes - they even forgot to cook very much.

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Completed
manicmuse
5 people found this review helpful
Aug 26, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10
I ignored this drama for a while and I was a fool to. I think the storyline scared me away because I had no desire to watch what I thought would just be "Pasta 2". I didn't even notice the cast, which was another big mistake. This drama has now made it's way to my list of favorites, and I easily binged watched it in 2 days. It may not be perfect, but the cast made this drama extremely enjoyable.

I'll start with the three leads, who match the chemistry and talent I loved in "Jealousy Incarnate" (by the same writer), while still having their own unique flavor. The trio of main characters is strong and I loved them all in previous dramas. Jung Ryeo Won as Dan Sae Woo brings everything I loved about her in Witch's Court. She is randomly funny and far from a timid lead, which makes her the kind of leading lady I adore. Then there's Lee Jun Ho as Seo Poong, who impressed me so much in Just Between Lovers, that I should not have been surprised that he would hold his own with his much older cast mates. Then lastly there's Jang Hyuk as Doo Chil Seong, who is always amazing. Money Flower and Fated to Love You are two more of my favorites, and this drama is no exception. All three played the comedy and emotional moments extremely well. They became characters I really cared about, and even when the story seemed all over the place, I was hooked from the moment they all met.

As for the story, I'm glad I didn't read about the plot ahead of time, because I enjoyed not quite knowing what in the world was going on. The beginning of this drama is very random, but eventually, things come together and make much more sense. This really is a standard rom com in a lot of ways, so romance fans should not get scared off by the gangster elements, or the revenge part of the story. This is still a very lighthearted drama, without any moments that are too heavy. There are plenty of palpably cute and swoon-worthy moments between Poong and Sae Woo. Even with their age gap they were extremely well matched, and their chemistry was amazing. I honestly loved the relationship dynamic between the three of them so much, because of how real it all felt, instead of just playing up their rivalry, or adding unecessary melodrama.

I feel like the whole cast performed as if they had fun making this drama, and that made me have fun watching them. I know that many of the cast members have been in dramas together before, and it really felt like an all-star cast. The minor characters may not have had strong storylines, but they did each have their own individual charm that made me care about all of them... except two (but it's not their fault). The only character I absolutely couldn't stand was played by Lee Mi Sook. She does take on double duty in this drama, playing two characters, but one of those characters became such a nuisance, that I began hating every moment she appeared on the screen. Maybe that speaks to how great of an actress she is, but it also speaks to what an unlikable one-dimensional character the writer created. The other character was played by Cha Joo Young, who although she is a large part of the plot she was barely around or involved, so she was very forgettable.

Is the actual plot original? no. Are there cliché moments? Definitely. Are there gluttonous food scenes, and are you likely to get really hungry while watching? Absolutely. There are definitely food porn moments that are almost as gratuitous as in Let's Eat. Anyone watching while on a diet should be warned. I'm also impressed by the kitchen scenes, and how interesting they made cooking look (which I have no interest in). I also liked some of the creative choices the director made with some scenes, including the random horse moments.

There are moments towards the end that felt repetitive and extra annoying, but the character's charm kept me from getting bored. I just which they didn't rely on such a standard and annoying obstacle.

I also forgive the gratuitous Kia and Subway product placement.

Would I watch this again? This is the kind of drama I could see myself watching repeatedly. I already miss many of the characters, and the bad and slow moments were overshadowed by how much I enjoyed the rest of it.

Overall, this is a drama that satisfied my craving for a fun romance, with addictive episodes. It may not suit everyone's taste, but if you are a fan of anyone in this cast I would definitely recommend watching. I would say this drama is less of a meal, and more like a sweet dessert. I happen to have a sweet tooth, so I thought it was delicious.

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Completed
purplenette
6 people found this review helpful
Jul 18, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 5.0
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
Are the writers kidding me? I felt like the ending left a lot to be desired. Plus, the entire drama was just the same story recycled and the amount of plot points that were discarded is staggering. I was so bored at times with the repeated cooking challenges. The "bad guys" were a waste of time. The mother was a self-righteous bitch. The secondary characters were ignorant and annoying. So, why didn't I give this a lower rating? The bromance and romance between the three main leads was so sweet and sincere. Plus, there are some actual funny parts and the fighting scenes were good. Honestly, I almost dropped it at episode 3, but I think it does get better. I realized what kind of drama it would be when I found out the writer was the same for Jealousy Incarnate. It was just a so-so drama for me.

The main actors are the highlight of the show. Not that the secondary actors aren't good, but I really could have cared less about any of the characters. JunHo does well at playing an arrogant and strong yet vulnerable and sweet character in Seo Poong. I have been a Jung Ryeo won fan since watching History of a Salaryman and she doesn't fail to impress as Sae Woo. Jang Hyuk is, of course, excellent as Chil Seong and I just love him as an actor.

The music is okay but can sometimes get old.

I will never rewatch this.

I don't really recommend this drama, but it doesn't totally suck.

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Completed
Pingukkie
4 people found this review helpful
Jul 17, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
"Was that life? Well then, once more!" -Nietzsche

This quote was brought up multiple times, and fittingly, it sums up the main theme of the drama. Not everything in life goes as planned. There will be ups and there will be downs. What's important is to have to courage to stand back up after falling down, to have the courage to confront the road that's ahead and push forward.

If you've seen Jealousy Incarnate, then you may be familiar with this writer's style. Wok of Love is a romcom at its core, but while it is mostly light and fluffy, it also carries heavy undertones throughout the drama. You'll notice this almost immediately given the beginning isn't all duck soup (sorry I had to make a food pun).

The story revolves around our main cast after experiencing hardships, having the strength to keep moving forward and make what's best of what they have--in the form of cooking. It isn't the most deep or original, but it's something that we can all relate to on some level (the theme at least; I can't cook for my life).

What really made me appreciate this drama was the cast, however. The main leads all had amazing chemistry together, so much so that I was shipping all 3 of them together at many points. Junho and Ryeo Won were adorable together, almost adolescent-like love. The bromance between Junho and Jang Hyuk was on point! And Jang Hyuk's interactions with Sae Woo were so lovable as well. (I know a lot of people are disappointed in this certain topic, but please do remember Jang Hyuk isn't the main male lead in this drama. Do what you will with that information.)

The supporting cast was great as well; I really felt for some characters, especially Park Ji Young and Jo Jae Yun, while others did a great job at pissing me off with their characters. *glares at Kim Sa Kwon, Im Won Hee, and Lee Mi Sook* (but especially Lee Mi Sook--she plays two characters in this drama, and it's amazing how you can feel for one so much, while hate the other)

The music was great, and never really felt out of place; "There's Something" by Jeong Sewoon especially fit so well for those cute, romantic moments, while "At The Usual Time" by Youngjae of GOT7 filled the gap for those hype, epic moments. The comedic and heavy moments also had bgm to compliment their respective scenes.

One major gripe I had with this drama was the episode count. Sadly, the drama was originally supposed to be 40 episodes, and the 2 episodes that were cut had a clear impact on the making of the later episodes. Lots of subplots didn't get wrapped up, or were rather ignored completely. The ones that did get closure ended in a satisfying manner, albeit rushed.

Regardless, this was a very enjoyable watch. The entire cast was spectacular and had great chemistry; so many of their interactions were hilarious. If you're up for some romcom with feels here and there, give Wok of Love a try!

P.S. do NOT watch this drama on an empty stomach.

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Completed
PHope
4 people found this review helpful
Jul 30, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 3.5
Story 4.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 4.0
Rewatch Value 1.5
Wok of love had only one thing going for it : food. That's it. The love story was boring, as the two characters had no chemistry and not reason to be together. The love triangle tried to spicen thing up a little, but in the end, it was a failure as well. I'm only rating this one with 3,5 stars out of 10 because of the performances that were nice and decent and because at some point, the revenge story was entertaining. Other than that, this one is a boring drama easily dropped. It didn't bring something new or at least manage to entertain as a whole. And it is a shame, because the premises of the story were promising.

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Completed
cameratamera
1 people found this review helpful
Jul 25, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 6.0
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
This show was difficult to finish. I feel like most people watched it for Jang Hyuk, who always does a great job. It seems really funny and sweet at first, since it tied together familiar actors from Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, Chief Kim, and Jealousy Incarnate. At times the interactions felt very random and cliche, and as much as I love a good love triangle, it was just so disappointing to see. The leads lacked chemistry, and I wish they had chosen a different female lead. After a while, I only kept watching for the cooking/eating itself (I also really loved the technical aspects, such as "knife skills"). The competitions felt similar to what you would see in the anime Food Wars, but you could tell who was going to win, even with the tug-of-war. The world felt very small and predictable, but I like surprises. I was hoping this would top the other dramas I listed, but sadly it didn't come close.

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Completed
Alexandra
1 people found this review helpful
Jul 21, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 6.5
Rewatch Value 6.0
Okay,so when i first started this drama i instantly fell in love. The plot was funny and the characters were absolutely brilliant. The cast really fit like a glove so i thought this was going to be one of my fav dramas of 2018. But as the story progressed,things got slower?
I don't really know how to describe the feeling. But it was like the writers were just writing episodes because they had to. Certain plot developments were extremely frustrating.
And one character in particular got me ANNOYED from the first episode to the last. The mother acted like a spoiled child and i wasn't really having it. She treated everyone like a slave. SO ANNOYING. It really made me give this drama a lower rating just because of that. I don't think the writers could've done a worst job with her,she had too much screen time.

BUT i still finished the drama with a big smile on my face. I can't give it a bad rating because the chemistry between Junho and Ryeo Won was flawless and the rest of the characters made my heart jump. Also,the bromance,OH MAN,the bromance was so cute. Perhaps the ending was a bit incomplete but i didn't really mind it. I was expecting that to happen when i realised they had to cut 2 episodes because of the world cup.

Overall,it has a lot of food porn for you to feast your eyes on and the relationships are hella cute.

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Completed
hardpliers
1 people found this review helpful
Dec 4, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 4.5
It took me quite a while to finally finish this. It just seemed that 38 episodes were way too much to complete this story. Yet again, even after all of the filler episodes right at the end of the show, the ending left many unanswered questions. Not going to lie, I decided to watch this for Junho, since I find him to be very talented and universal in every role. However, this just didn't fit him somehow. And the chemistry between him and the lead actress was weird and artificial. Second lead syndrome hit me the hardest while watching this, and I realized how the second lead male was just completely ignored during the last episodes. Now, to focus on the positive, personally, I believe that the side characters made this drama interesting and bearable to finish. In addition, I'd only rewatch this for the food porn and those beautiful shots of Asian dishes that were mesmerizing. Other than that, this drama had potential, but turned out to be too draggy and went downhill fast. If you're into friendship, bromance dramas with a dash pf romance here and there, go for it! But you will get a bit hungry!

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Completed
Quitas
0 people found this review helpful
Jul 17, 2018
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 10
WARNING: THIS DRAMA WILL MAKE YOU HUNGRY! SO PREPARE YOURSELF!
This drama has many random things, like: Romance, delicious food, drama, comedy, love triangle, betrayal, friendship, family, marriage that go wrong, second lead syndrome, revenge, gangsters, cooks, cook gangsters, "action" (don't take it very seriously), a weird/funny horse (YES A HORSE)... And you know what? Everything was amazing, everything was well written/made.
The drama is super refreshing and will give you the feeling "What the hell is happening???", what made it so funny.
I NEED TO TAKE A LITTLE OF MY TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE HILARIOUS AND UNFORGETTABLE CHARACTERS:
I've never loved a leading actress so much. Loved her honest character and loved the actress. She made me feel everything just with her eyes, I know this can sound weird, but I love seeing her cry, she's so emotional and pure.
Junho!! Loved him in "Just between Lovers" and seeing him as a sexy cook was great.
Jang Hyuk played the lovely gangster, who I fell in love with.
In conclusion, you can see the love triangle created, and I'm sure you will suffer for second lead syndrome, just like me, but honestly that didn't make me feel sad at all, because these 3 leads have the best friendship ever and there's no fights for the girl or jealousy and yet there is the awesome bromance<3
IT'S A FUCKING DOPE TRIO!!!
And we can't forget the support roles, who were hilarious and made the drama complete. I really appreciate seeing Jo Jae Yun in whatever he's in, he's amazing <3
THE ONLY THING I HATED was the mother of the female lead....so annoying and sensitive...
IF YOU ARE THINKING IF YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS DRAMA OR NOT, DO NOT HESITATE AND WATCH IT!!
ONE OF THE BEST DRAMAS OF THE YEAR!

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