A 2001 release from Korea about Kim Hyo-dong (Jung Joon), a young, orphaned boy who grows up despising his adoptive father, but who ends up working super hard to save the family business; a Chinese restaurant in Seoul.
At age three or four, Hyo-dong is left by his single mother at a Chinese restaurant in Incheon, and Kim Kap-soo (Park Geun Hyung) who owns the restaurant, takes him for his own son.
Kap-soo is a mild-mannered, unassuming man with a rare gift: the ability to cook exceptional-quality food without the benefit of an olfactory.
He has no sense of smell.
Kap-soo grew up in an orphanage, and at age thirteen, he and his best friend decided to run away, and somehow, they met a man who taught them how to cook Chinese cuisine.
A contest eventually revealed the better skills of the two, young men, and Jang Tae-kwang (Kim Yong Gun) became Kap-soo's mortal enemy from that day on.
It was a suspicious fire at the Incheon restaurant that robbed Kap-soo of his ability to smell anything, as he ran inside the restaurant to save Hyo-dong, and it was always assumed that Jang Tae-kwang set the fire deliberately, out of spite.
Twenty years pass, and Jang Tae-kwang is a wealthy man who built an empire with Golden Dragon restaurant chains.
He's still determined to destroy Kap-soo, even though Kap-soo is practically impoverished and eeking out a living at a tiny, Chinese restaurant with his sister, brother-in-law, a niece, and Hyo-dong.
Tae-kwang's son, Jang Hee-moon (So Ji-sub) graduates from a prestigious college in the states, then returns to help run the family business.
He's tall, dark, and handsome (or as one lady describes him in the drama, GQ).
He's also cold and ruthless, like his old man.
All he cares about is money, power, and success.
His sister, on the other hand, Jang Hee-ae (Son Yeh Jin) is the poster-child for sappy, sweet, and sentimental.
The stereotypical Asian good-girl with a pretty face, gentle nature, and is soft-spoken as well.
While Hee-moon wants to run the business, Hee-ae wants to work in the kitchen, making the delicious food.
She blows off a potential husband by acting hilariously tough on an arranged date, and then she beams with pride as she announces to her baffled father that her thirty arranged meetings are up, so she's off to conquer the world of cooking.
MEANWHILE, Ma Shi-nae (So Yoo Jin), a really poor girl from the country is forced to run from creditors, and she ends up in Seoul.
Her dream is to open a three-story restaurant with her name over the door.
She bumps into Kyo-dong by opening a dressing room curtain when he's stripped to his tighty whities, and they're both naturally mortified.
Later that night, though, he sees her squatting in an alley going potty, so they're even.
These, three characters end up together at the cooking school, but love has already blossomed for Kyo-dong and Shi-nae.
Not for one another, though.
Shi-nae is falling in love with Kyo-dong, but Kyo-dong is helplessly attracted to Hee-ae. Naturally, Hee-ae likes them both as good friends, but it isn't long before she begins to feel something big for Kyo-dong.
Oppa Hee-moon is instantly attracted to Shi-nae, but he's not as adept at the ways of love, nor does he possess the natural-born skills of one who grew up in a loving environment, to do anything or say anything that might help him to win Shi-nae's heart.
It's sad and depressing, and it wasn't at all what I expected when I began to watch Delicious Proposal.
From about episode three until episode eleven, I wanted to give up watching.
It was boring, repetitive, and with those lingering, pregnant pauses that really annoy me now.
Having to stare at someone for what seems like an eternity while they weep, or ponder, or walk alone at night drive me absolutely mad.
However, they're excellent opportunities to run to the bathroom, or grab more water from the fridge. :)
There was not nearly enough SO JI-SUB for my interest to remain, yet because he was in the drama, I couldn't bring myself to quit the show.
Kwon Sang-woo received more air-time when he arrived in the middle of this 16-episode drama than my honey, SO.
Not that that's a BAD thing, of course, but the odd thing is, the boy who worked at his father's 7-11 (Ji-sung as Jun-su)seemed more attractive to me than Sang-woo OR Jung-joon.
But, isn't that usually the case when they pick leading men or leading women for these dramas?
I don't get it, but then I don't suppose the writers, directors, and producers get it either.
Delicious Proposal worked, though.
Jung-joon was interestingly handsome throughout and did a marvelous job acting.
SO-fine plays the hard-ass, dead-pan prick to the hilt every, single time, and
Sang-woo stops traffic no matter what role he portrays.
The ONLY time I welled up with tears was when the two, old men finally came together at the hospital, where Kap-soo served Tae-Kwang his famous chicken soup.
I also found myself to be snacking throughout the day while watching all but the last episode yesterday.
Alas, all I had to eat was fruit, salad, and yogurt ... but it was enough to make me feel queasy by day's end.
The food in Delicious Proposal ... I could almost smell it, it looked that good.
Ironically or not, it made me want to see a movie or drama based on KOREAN cooking and Korean FOOD.
Now for the WTF?? aspect of this drama ...
I think it's hilarious how traffic seems constant and droning whenever they're filming outside, yet when an actor pulls away from the curb, he doesn't, even look back, he just forges ahead, with no cars around for miles.
Makes me wish I had MY own entourage of folk who stand in the road so I can pull out without having to wait a few minutes for traffic to clear!
What is the deal with sleeping in your street clothes?
You take off your shoes at the door because you're supposedly fastidious and clean, yet you drop into bed off the street, without even taking off a coat, or your pants, or washing a day's worth of grime off your face?
Lastly, I began to ask myself if Korean dramas have improved since 2001, or if they are worse now than ever before.
The answer is I'm not sure.
On the one hand, back in the day when Hallyu was hell-yeah!, I think the storylines had more meat on them, and the acting was sincere.
Now, because there are too, many teenagers involved, the storyline's revolve around issues that don't concern me anymore.
I worry greatly about never, again seeing these terrific, older actors in another film or drama.
And by older, I mean thirties, forties, and even fifties.
Which to me is PRIME, not old.
Those with staying power, such as SO, KWAN, and BAE might be around for awhile longer, but what about the rest of them?
Will they be relegated to period dramas or the silly game-show circuit, which folks in America are unable to see on a regular basis?
Or, will they simply fade away, forced never again to grace the silver screen with their impressive presence based solely on age or mass appeal?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again ...
I'll start my own campaign by writing age-appropriate stories that will have to include the veteran actors who made Korean drama what it is today.
I'll find the nerve to submit the stories and hope they are good enough for consideration, too.
THAT WAY, at least I will be able to continue to enjoy the stories, the drama, the escapism that is and probably always will be Asian Cinema.