Category: South Korea

Boricha (Korean Barley Tea)

Boricha (Korean Barley Tea)

Time and again when watching Korean dramas, the characters are often seen drinking water.  Sometimes their drinking vessels are the standard transparent glass.  I noticed that their ‘water’ is often brownish in colour and I thought that is rather colourful for just plain water.

Apparently this ‘water’ is a boricha, much loved by Korean as everyday hydration and thirst quencher.

Boricha is brewed from roasted barley.  Pre-roasted barley is widely available in Korean supermarkets and groceries.  Roasted barley tea-bags are also on sale.

Barley tea, apparently, is caffeine free, it is good for digestion, can control blood sugar and most importantly – it can aid weight loss 🙂

How to make it:

2 litres water

3 tbsp roasted barley

Using a large clean pot or pan 🙂 bring the water to a boil.

Add the roasted barley and continue boiling for another 5 minutes.

Using a sieve, strain the roasted barley tea into a heat-resistant jug,  ewer or pitcher.

Let it cool and then refrigerate until needed.

 

Princess Hours: Korean or Thai Version?

Korean Version

Thai Version

Princess Hours: Korean or Thai Version?

Princess Hours or better known as Goong, being the original Korean version, is a classic story of an ordinary girl marrying into royalty.

Goong was based on Korean’s manhwa, which is similar to Japanese’s more famous manga.

Goong, the series, was shown in 2006 starring Yoon Eun-Hye and Ju Ji-hoon.  It was widely popular throughout Asia.  Why wouldn’t it be?  Now and again we need that feel-good factor of a rags to riches fairy tale story.  It gives us hope that it could happen to us as well. 🙂

Thai’s version is being shown right now.  I must say it is a very watchable as the main characters are very likeable.

Though this 2017 Thai version added a few twists and turns here and there, the framework is still basically the same as the Korean version.

Korean actress, Yoon Eun-Hye made the role, Chae-Kyung, hers and is an outstanding actress.  It was, therefore, extremely hard for the young Thai actress, Ungsumalynn Sirapatsakmetha, to better Eun-Hye.  But having said that Ungsumalynn delivers a likeable performance as the crown princess, Kanning.

The wedding in the Thai version was believable as a royal wedding, Ungsumalynn was so beautiful and Phiangphor Sarasathapheng was drop-dead gorgeous crown prince, and there is that splendour to it.

Anyway the story is about an old fashion arranged marriage. 🙂

The previous king once promised an old friend, who saved his life or kingdom, that they should marry their respective heirs to one another.  As the promise was made a long time ago, the current royal family could have ignore it but the present king was the upright and honourable sort and rather ailing.  He wanted to see that the succession to the thrown is fully established should anything happen to him.  He, therefore, ordered through emotional blackmail, his son to marry the daughter of the old king’s friend.

The story is more complicated as the prince was in love with another girl who was a ballet dancer in the Korean version, while an Olympic level archer in the Thai.

Minnie, prince’s ex,  played by Jongjaiphar Suthada, has flaring nostrils and combatant facial expression,  was easy to dislike.  She gets all the ire.

For the Korean version the role was played by Song Ji-hyo, who has since become a very popular actress.  She plays Hyo-rin and was rather charming.  Therefore, the anger for the unhappiness of the  Korean crown princess, Chae-Kyung, was directed to the crown prince for his indecisiveness. LOL

The acting and script in Goong is better written.  There is a seriousness about it.  While the Thai is more of a mild caricature of the original.  Thus both provide their own respective charm.  A modern day Cinderella is always a welcome watch to break the humdrum of everyday routiine 🙂

Noodles for Longevity

Spaghetti Bolegnase, Photo by PH Morton

Noodles for Longevity

I was watching an episode of Father is Strange last weekend when there was a scene where the family insisted Joon-Young, who finally passed his civil service exam after many tries, to slurp the whole of the noodle strands rather than biting into it.

I was intrigued enough that I googled what it meant.  🙂

Apparently it is a Chinese tradition (or superstition), which seems to have a widespread effect that neighbouring countries had adapted it.  I know in the Philippines, eating noodles is a must during birthdays.  The long strand means longevity of life.  I was not aware though that you had to slurp the whole thing into your mouth and then chew, rather than biting a bit of it as you chew.

Anyway, it is encouraged to slurp the strand in all its length so that one does not cut off one’s span of life.

Thank goodness, this superstition is applied only on birthdays and other milestone celebrations.

I couldn’t be going to restaurants, especially posh ones, and slurping my pasta down my throat. It would be unethical and extremely embarrassing.  LOL

 

The Greatest Love – KDrama Review

The Greatest Love

The Greatest Love – KDrama Review

If you are new to Korean Dramas (KDramas), there is no better one to start that this classic romance drama.  It is a comedy of manners in the celebworld.  It also shows that celebrities are as important and popular as their fans want to be.  The fans can put you up and they can also bring you down in a heartbeat.

It starts two of Korea’s most charming and most accomplished actors, Cha Seung-won and Gong Hyo-Jin.

Cha Seung-won plays Dokko Jin, a much loved action film superstar.  His character is a caricature of the perceived indulged life of celebrities.  He is egotistical, arrogant and self-centred.  Cha’s height and frame is perfect for his role.

Gong Hyo-Jin plays Go Ae-Jung, who was once the most popular member of a girl group National Treasure Girls until she was involved in a scandal.  Suddenly she lost all her fame and fanbase.  She was still in showbiz but as a C-List, taking every minor role going to make a living for her family.

Dokko Jin has an artificial heart transplant and he wears a heartbeat monitor to maintain a normal 60-90 heartbeat per minute.

He then meet Go Ae-Jung and before he knows it his heartbeat is soaring above the hundred.  He was attracted to Go Ae-Jung and really bothered by the signature song of National Treasure Girls’ Thump Thump.

Despite himself, he did confessed himself to Go Ae-Jung his feelings in a very clumsy way.  He told Go Ae-Jung that he likes her even though she is not worthy and beneath his level.  Go Ae-Jung agreed with him and just laughed off his confession because she did not feel anything for him.

This turn of events only made Dokko Jin more attracted to Go Ae-Jung and started questioning his persona, physical and mental health but ultimately came to the conclusion that he is just too darn perfect!  LOL Cha Seung-won was just too adorable with his Dokko character.  His shower scenes were gorgeous body of work.  Hahaha

The chemistry between the leads were just amazing.

This drama is one of my top 5 Korean dramas and I have watched several hundreds or even thousand of them.

The Girl Who Can See Smell – KDrama Review

The Girl Who Can See Smell

The Girl Who Can See Smell – KDrama Review

I am currently watching this series and I have to say, it is really good.  There is plenty of twist and turn.

It is about a girl who witness the murder of her parents by the serial bar code killer.  He tried to kill her as well by she run away only to get run over by a car.  Her accident made her lose her memory.

During the assault, the bar code killer managed to pluck the girl’s name tag from her uniform.

The male lead shares a common experience with the girl as his beloved young sister was killed by the bar code killer as well.

The story is intelligently scripted.  It is very taut, very exciting.

 

Pasta, KDrama Review

Pasta, MBC television series

Pasta, KDrama Review

I was missing  my favourite actresses of Korean dramas lately.  Gong Hyo Jin, Hwang Jung eum (who is on maternity leave), Park Shin Hye, Song Ji Hyo, Choi Ji Woo, Kim Ha Neul and Ha Ji won seem not to be in any drama lately.

Gong Hyo Jin, for me has the best track record of romantic dramas or otherwise.  She develops the best chemistry with her leading men that makes her dramas extremely watchable.

Though I was hesitant at first to watch Pasta as it was rather ‘old’ having been shown in 2010, within few minutes I was captivated.  And before you know it I am watching episode 17 of 20 (invested 17 hours already)  and enjoying every minute of it, falling in love with Lee Sun-Kyun as the master chef, Choi Hyun-Wook, and of course Gong Hyo Jin as the newly elevated chef, Seo Yoo-Kyung, after being an assistant for 3 whole years, finally allowed to shake her own pan. 🙂

The story is endearing.  The characters are charming, which I like. No wanton show of physical affection.  It is all about the looks and smiles with the two characters.

Though there is a third wheel and even a fourth wheel in the love story of Yoo Kyung and Hyun Wook, Oh Se-Young, ex-girlfriend of Hyun Wook was not a horrible one and Kim San, the Cactus Man is loveable. You feel sympathy for both of them, so much so you want them to get together.

The story shows the hectic behind the scene of the kitchen in a busy restaurant. Each chef has his/her designated chore. I know I should have known this as there are so many television programs, like Gordon Ramsey’s Hell Kitchen, now that shows the goings on but I am afraid I am still probably one of the few that do not watch such tv. LOL.

Pasta is about an Italian Restaurant in South Korea called La Sfera, where Yoo-Kyung had been employed as an assistant to chefs for 3 years. One day, after going to market for restaurant provision, where she was given a couple of goldfish as a freebie, she bumped literally bumped into someone which made her drop her bag of goldfish. A tall, handsome stranger helped her save the poor fish.

After some sweet flirtings, the next time they saw one another was in the restaurant. The stranger was the new head chef, Hyun wook, who brought in 3 other Italy trained sous chefs with him.

Hyun Wook and Yoo Kyung quickly fell for one another but it was not a smooth run as initially the chef made it a rule of a No Kitchen romance, which he used to sack all of the female chefs except for Yoo-Kyung. He doesn’t like female chefs in his kitchen.  When it came out that he was dating Yoo-Kyung,  there was a rebellion which forced him to hand in  his notice instantly.  Of course this created more problems as his posse of Italy-trained chefs walked out as well.

He had to return, but he became rather stricter with Yoo-Kyung.  Poor girl she was a nervous wreck! 🙁

But in between all the dramas, their chemistry is just too gooey sweet that you’ll be left in a pool of caramel delight on the floor or sofa (wherever you are watching it really).  It is darn cute!

There are so many tips of food preparations and the pasta were all so delectable I had to have some, thus the pasta recipes below or before this blog. LOL

Highly recommended for a weekend viewing curled up in the sofa with the mobile phone on the ready to order Italian food. 🙂

 

Suspicious Partner – KDrama Review

Suspicious Partner

Suspicious Partner – KDrama Review

Suspicious Partner is a new favourite, timely replacing the now concluded Queen of Mystery.

This Korean drama has plenty to offer, a great chemistry between the leads: Ji Chang-wook who plays a lawyer Ji Wook and Nam Ji-Hyun who plays the leading lady Bong-Hee.  The drama also has courtroom battles, a serial killer still on the loose, emotional entanglements with erring ex-girlfriend and childhood friend, boss, co-workers, parents, painful childhood memories, etc.

The drama started on a misunderstanding. Bong-Hee, while on a crowded subway train, mistook the quiet and retiring Ji Wook as a sexual deviant, as the one touching and rubbing her bottom. Despite Ji Wook’s denial, Bong Hee would have none of it.

Anyway Bong Hee was on her way to a hotel to see if there was any truth to the text message she received informing her that her boyfriend was there with another woman.

Indeed her boyfriend was there seemingly loved-up with another girl.  Bong Hee was heartbroken but her pride kicked in and announced to the entire restaurant that she will sleep with the first man she would bumped into.  And she bumped into Ji Wook, who serendipitously saw and heard everything that was going on.  His back story was that he caught his ex girlfriend sleeping with their childhood best friend.  So he felt empathy with Bong-Hee.  At this early stage there is already a frisson between them.  After drinking herself senseless, she woke up in Ji Wook’s rather palatial house.  She gathered up her things and left in mortification, not knowing if anything happened between them.

Fast forward three months later, Bong Hee started as an intern in a prosecutor office. And her boss only happened to be Ji Wook, who is rather infamous for his rigid black or white way of looking at things.  At this point her boyfriend is now openly dating another intern.  Bong-Hee would often sing threats of killing her ex boyfriend.

One muggy night, during a total blackout, Bong Hee went out to get some beer.  Upon her return to her flat, she stumbled over the body of her ex boyfriend, who happened to be the son of the chief of the District Prosecutor’s Office..

She was arrested and Ji Wook was the prosecutor.  But somehow he believed Bong-Hee and despite death to his career as prosecutor, he chose to help Bong-Hee.

Bong-Hee got off due to lack of evidence.  But it meant Ji Wook can’t work as a public prosecutor anymore.  Their last meeting, Ji-Wook told Bong-Hee that he would never see her again and if their path should ever crossed, they would have to be strangers.

Three years later, Ji Wook is working in a large law office as an attorney while Bong-Hee struggling to keep her small one-man-band law office.

But it seems fate has its own agenda as Ji Wook and Bong-Hee kept bumping into one another. The chemistry is sizzling, though it was supposed to be a one-sided love on the part of Bong-Hee to Ji Wook.

Ji Wook was unhappy with his job so he quits in view of starting his own law office.  But for some reason the big boss, Byun Young-hee, of the company came with him and even his childhood best-friend , Eun Hyuk,(who slept with Ji-Wook’s girlfriend, Cha Yoo-jung) opted to go with him.  His motley crew also includes paralegal Bang (he is my favourite character, I find him really charming! LOL).  In actuality, Ji Wook wanted to work with Bong-Hee, who had moved in with him as a temporary lodger, after her business closed down.

Their first case was a man who was accused of killing a popular chef.  The evidence is all circumstantial, therefore it was fairly easy to defend him.  However Ji Wook felt uneasy about the guy.  We, the viewers, of course knew that he was the serial killer.

This week episode is the culmination of the hot and cold personal relationship between Ji Wook and Bong Hee.  They shared a tight embrace followed by a passionate kiss!!! 🙂

Can’t wait for next week.

………

The passionate kiss is a start of their gooey love affair.  But there is another hook-line in the story.

We find out that both Ji Wook’s parents died in a fire.  He was adopted by his biological mom’s best friend who happens to be married to Byun Young Hee (the boss).

We got a glimpse of Bong-Hee’s father walking away from the dying father of Ji-Wook from the fire.  This glimpse was from a recurring nightmare of Ji Wook.  We are left with this tantalising look-in into Ji-Wook’s childhood.  Was Bong-hee’s father the fire-starter or was he there to save Ji-Wook from the fire?!!!

Can’t wait for next week’s episode 21 & 22 🙂

……..

21-24 episodes literally ended with a Bang. 🙁 🙁 🙁 huhuhu  My favourite character, Mr Bang, the one with the wicked smile is no more.  I hope he is not really dead.  The seer did say to Ji-Wook, do not be too upset as everything is gonna be alright!

Must See KDramas (Korean Dramas)

Must See KDramas (Korean Dramas)

Now that I have decided to be happily retired, television has become my life, watching dramas from Japan, Taiwan, China, Thailand but most especially South Korea.

I am totally addicted that it has become the reason of my being, my raison d’etre.

South Korean dramas are spectacular compared to many.  They do pay attention to details.  The scenery are pretty panoramic, does not have the feel of having shot mainly in a studio; the stairs and doors are not rickety or ‘cardboardy’ and you know that they have spent a lot of money in making the drama.

The stories are relatable, watchable.  And not overlong.  Sometimes you feel that a 16 episode drama is just not enough after you have developed empathy with the actors  in the drama (I know sad, right? LOL)

The opposite is my gripes with Filipino dramas, they go on and on in circles that most viewers are left not caring anymore! 🙂 🙁

Another reason to fall in love with Korean dramas is that the actors are so handsome and beautiful.  They are so pleasing to look at.

Anyway, after continued viewing of Korean dramas for more than a year, I have become an expert, an ACE KDrama addict.

And who better than an ACE Kdrama addict to go to for recommendations?!!!

So without further ado here is my list and I must say a work in progress and not in any order: –

Supernatural Romance:

  • Goblin
  • Master’s Sun
  • Oh My Ghostess
  • Secret Garden

Classic Romance

  • It’s Okay, That’s Love, this drama is a great favourite as it stars my two favourite leading actors: Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin. A love story of a psychiatrist and a schizophenic man.
  • The Greatest Love
  • Pasta
  • Heard It Through The Grapevine
  • Fated to Love You
  • Kill Me, Heal Me
  • She was Pretty
  • Padam Padam
  • Discovery of Love
  • Temptation
  • Prosecutor Princess
  • Oh My Venus
  • Marriage, Not Dating
  • Falling for Innocence
  • Lie To Me
  • Jealousy Incarnate
  • Cunning Single Lady
  • The Time I’ve Loved You
  • The Man Living In Our House
  • Something About 1% (2016)
  • My Princess
  • Marry HIm If You Dare
  • I Need Romance 3
  • Incarnation of Money
  • Can’t Lose
  • That Fool
  • Noble My Love
  • Wild Romance
  • Successful Story of a Bright Girl
  • High End Crush

Doctors & Nurses Romance (Medical Dramas):

  • D-Day
  • Doctors
  • Emergency Couple
  • Beautiful Mind

Young(ish) Romance ( Including school):

  • The 1st Shop of the Coffee Prince or better known as just Coffee Prince, this is another Gong Yoo starer.  About a girl who had to pretend to be a boy so she can work in a coffee shop which only employ men.  The handsome owner who was a ladies’ man fell for the ‘boy’ and had to question his sexuality.  This is just the cutest drama.
  • Full House (2004)
  • Cheese In The Trap
  • The Heirs
  • Heartstrings
  • Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo
  • Drinking Solo
  • Tomorrow’s Cantabile
  • Shopping King Louie
  • Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
  • Boys Over Flowers
  • You’re Beautiful
  • Playful Kiss
  • Goong
  • Angry Mom
  • Sassy Go Go
  • Reply 1997
  • High School Love On (2014)
  • Biscuit Teacher and Star Candy

Romantic Mystery Drama:

Melodrama (Weepy & Tearjerkers):

Historical Dramas (including time travelling) :

Family Drama:

Strong Women Leads:

  • Queen of Reversals
  • Protect The Boss
  • Woman With A Suitcase
  • My Name is Kim Sam Soon
  • Scent of a Woman
  • Queen of the Game
  • The Queen of Office

Please bare with me, I shall be providing a review or at least a little precis for each one from the list, it may take some time!

My Secret Romance – KDrama Review

My Secret Romance – KDrama Review

This romance is so engaging because both lead actors are gorgeous, especially the male lead. I say shirt off all the time, if you please. 🙂 Though he is my number one in my best suited list. He has a lovely body which muscles in the right places! 🙂

Anyway the drama is about a romance that developed from a one-night stand between a rather uptight woman with a happy-go-lucky chaebol.

The girl was rather uptight because her mother used to be a star of top shelf films, the semi-porn ones. She was horrendously bullied when she was in middle school because of this.

The guy is a chaebol, who was ‘abandoned’ by his mother, who he misses so much.  Because of this abandonment issue, he found it hard to settle down, whether with work or with women.

Not until he (Cha Jin-Wook) met Lee Yoo-Mi.  They had a one-night stand in a convertible overlooking the sea, which was pretty sexy.  🙂

Fast forward three years later.

Cha Jin Wook is now an active director in his father’s company.  His innovative design of men’s underwear had gone stratospheric that their company’s growth was due to effort.  He is now a serious salaried man.

Yoo-Mi, is now a nutritionist who happened to get hired by Jin Wook’s company.

He first spied her one day by the elevator and that is how their budding romance started.  He never forgot her.

In the background there is a cute little boy, who is supposed to be her brother.  But I reckon it was a child borne out of their one night together.

Episode 8 was slated to be shown last Tuesday but for some reason, it did not.  I was gutted because I have really grown to like this drama.  It is tender, romantic and cute with likeable cast.

Anyway the reason why episode 8 was not shown was due to South Korean’s presidential election.  I wonder who won?!!!

Can’t wait for Monday and Tuesday for the next episodes?