The Queen of Asian Drama is Back with more Irreverent Reviews and Snarky Commentary.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Midnight Diner


Title: 심야식당 / Shimyashikdang
Also known as: Late Night Restaurant
Genre: Human Drama, Food
Episodes: 20
Network: SBS
Broadcast: 2015 -July to Sept
Related TV shows: Shinya Shokudo



Cast


Kim Seung woo as Master Park Joon myun as fat woman

Synopsis


The chef of a late-night restaurant takes requests from his customers.

My Take


This is 20 as-they-were-released episodes filled with Korean food.

 20 dishes unique to the region, and behind each meal is a story that is played out for the under one-hour duration.

 These stories about people are linked to the food they ask Master to prepare. 

Master owns a small shop somewhere in Seoul, though it is ancient Seoul, if not somewhere along the outskirts of that huge metropolis.

 The restaurant's unusual hours are from midnight to seven a.m.

 The menu is just as unique and consists of whatever the customer asks for, which the Master will prepare -- if he has the ingredients on hand -- and, he always does.

 However, there are times when a customer will show up with the ingredients needed for Master to prepare whatever meal he or she would like to eat that night.

 The only other unique quality is that Master limits alcohol consumption to a 3-drink maximum.

 There are regulars to this eatery, and they are a fun, interesting group from all walks of life, but if they are not having a personal or social issue, then someone new will enter the eatery and then their story unfolds.

 One of the stories took two episodes to unravel, so there were actually only 19 unique dishes served, but as absorbed in this drama as I became, it didn't really matter.

 And not being too huge a fan of Korean fare, I still enjoyed watching Master prepare a majority of the dishes being requested by his patrons.

 There is good and bad about their food, and with some of it being simple and others elaborate in not only the preparation but the ingredients as well -- stuff I wouldn't likely find at Kroger, or be able to recognize at H-Mart.

 Aside from the startling appearance of Sir Oh Ji ho (the dual-episodes segment), this was not about hot boys, fan-girly excitement, or even love and family.

 Which is probably why I enjoyed it enough to give it a 5-star rating.

It was simple, thought-provoking, and concise -- another plus in the Korean drama scheme of things.

They're the kind of people hanging out in the kind of a place where we'd like to be but can't seem to find in real life.

 Sadly, it is a take-off on another Japanese drama, which came first, but is impossible to find online in order for me to watch, review, and compare the two.

 I did find the first 2 episodes on Youtube, but the subs were horrible, which might be why I wasn't able to find the rest of the original show.

 Honestly, I would have preferred to watch Japanese make their original dishes over Korean fare, but that is just me, I think.

 The Korean version won me over with relative ease, and getting to listen to and look at Master (Kim Seung woo) for 20 episodes was an added bonus.

 I'm a whole lot confused by the South Korean ratings for this one: a 2.3 average.

 Now, I have no idea how this works or what those numbers represent since I failed at every attempt to learn about it online, but . . .

 The 2.3 average seems too low, and I find it hard to believe that the locals wouldn't want to watch this each week just for the food aspect alone.

 Ratings here are much higher, with everyone who waited and watched with me at aznv.tv and Drama Fever giving it glowing reviews, and there are several blog posts that sing its praises as well.



Curiosities


At the start or end of most episodes, a woman is seen standing in the doorway of this diner, and with her back to the camera.

 It gave the impression of her being the key to Master's secret life -- at least that was how I saw it.

 Only, she never made an actual appearance, and we never got to learn more about Master OR about the scar above his left eyebrow.

 That was touched upon in one episode, but Master said nothing and the scene shifted over to something else.

 There were subtle hints about a sequel to this show, and I would be more than happy to sit through another 20 episodes, but only if they stick to the original premise and continue to teach us outsiders even more about unique Korean fare.

Recommendation


Highly recommend you give this a watch and see if you don't crave at least one of the meals Master prepares :D




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