Okay So I’m breaking one of my own rules in recaping (again). Which is to never recap more than one drama because I have the attention span of a drunken homing pigeon. (I literally have to play candy crush to pay attention to some of the american dramas I watch, if you’re thinking that I’m deranged, it’s okay, my mom thought so too). Anyways, I started laughing and smiling at Yoon Shi Yoon in this drama right away, so it hit me that I probably should share and not hoard Yoon Shi Yoon goodness like a starving squirrel hoards acorns before winter.
(Copyright Yahoo China)
We open in Korea, where Yoon Shi Yoon’s Character – Jiang Xiu Can has earned a ticket to go to Hang Zhou, China. He’s originally from an orphanage and still cooks noodles for the kids there.
Jiang Xiu Can earns the ticket through a Ja Jung Myun (a tasty noodle dish with black sauce, one of my favorite korean dishes) eating contest. Jian Xiu Can outlasts every other contestant and out glares them too, earning an airline ticket. We learn that he’s there to find his father, his deceased mother had once told him that his father lives in Hang Zhou.
In Hang Zhou, a young chef, Zhang Jian, prepares a dish of noodle soup for Zhu Ling Ling, and asks for her opinion since she is the manager. She tastes it and tells him its amazing, but it lacks heart. He takes offense and scoffs that she’s never cooked, how would she know? When she leaves, he throws the bowl of noodles on the floor and prepares again. He’s practicing for a noodle competition, not just any, but one that can prove to his grandfather that he’s the person to take over the Hangzhou Noodle House, the best noodle house in the region and more than 100 years old.
Meanwhile, Hangzhou Noodles House is making preparations to host the Amature International Noodle contest that Zhang Jian is competition in. We get to meet Zhang Lin and Wu Ren Mei, the Director and Vice Director of the Hanzhou Noodle House. They stress the importance of the event to the employees (I can’t take this part seriously, mainly because the show takes this part too seriously)
Jian Xiu Can arrives in Hang Zhou and he’s the cutest tourist ever. He takes pictures everywhere, gets his sculpture made at the market (if that sculpture ever goes on the internet, it will sell for big bucks).
He goes to Xi Hu – the West Lake (I’ve been there, it’s very pretty) and shouts to his mom that he’s arrived, he’s going to find a way to stay and find dad.
Finally he goes to a noodle shop and sit down. He orders a bowl of noodles as a grandpa comes in.
Seeing no seats, The grandpa sits down next to Jian Xiu Can, who doesn’t notice for a good whole two minutes before smiling cheerfully. The waiter brings the noodles, and Jian Xiu Can whips out his own chopsticks that he brought with him, saying to himself that he will enjoy it and kisses the chopsticks.
He happily digs in and the grandpa watches in amusement. Grandpa takes one bite, sighs and shakes his head. Grandpa marks the restaurant with an X.
Zhang Jian walks in and sits at the same table, turns out that the old man is his grandfather. Jian Xiu Can gleefully finishes his food and smiles contentedly. Grandpa laughs at this young man and asks if he knew why the dish was called Pia er Chuan noodles? Jian Xiu Can shakes his head and grandpa explains that the dish was inspired by a poet, it has only the best of bamboo shoots. Jian Xiu Can asks where he can find some and granpa shows him on the map.
Jian Xiu Can looks for the fresh bamboo shoots (why? I don’t know. It’s not like he’s carrying a kitchen with him) and he finds a huge young bamboo shoot that promises to be delicious. Unfortunately so did another person. They both grab it at the same time and think that they’re helping one another.
Once they pulled it out, they fight over it and the girl (who we know now as Zhu Ling Ling) gets it and beats him over the head with it. Is it me with the dirty mind or is everyone else thinking that this scene is incredibly funny for all the wrong (maybe intended) reasons.
nyways, Ling Ling trips on a branch and Jian Xiu Can grabs her, and in a way that no modern physics will ever explain, they dramatically spin around and somehow she lands on him. Only she doesn’t, because his hands stop her from falling on her, and those hands should not be where they are, unless they’re alone. She screams, he screams, and he drops her only to bring them closer.
And they scream a lot more.
Ling Ling gets off of him and starts throwing leaves, calling him a pervert. Meanwhile Jian Xiu Can is rolling on the ground in pain because he scrapped his arm. She throws some more leaves, while screaming that he’s a pervert at the top of her lungs.
Ling Ling storms back to the Noodle House, where she meets grandpa. She tells him of her meeting with the stranger in the bamboo forest when he laughs surprised that the youth would go on his recommendation. He asks after Zhang Jian and how he’s prepping for the competition. Ling Ling replies that Zhang Jian is amazing and will do very well. Grandpa sighs and says that if Zhang Jian puts down his pride and cooks with a humble heart he will be better. Zhang Jian hears all of this outside the room.
The day of the competition arrives and the contestants gather outside. One contestant, however is late because he is being chased by servant/guards of his house. His name is Teng Yuan Hao and he looks like a troll doll or a demented garden gnome – I have no idea why his hair is in that atrocious look meant to affront mankind, but hey, that’s not a discussion I should be having. Teng Yuan Hao almost makes it but get’s bumped and drops his ID invite into a pond or stream or possibly gutter (I can’t tell because if it is a gutter, it would never be that clean in china. Yes I’ve been to Hang Zhou and I can tell you that the gutters are pretty bio hazardous).
Jian Xiu Can picks up the badge, and he hears that whoever takes first place gets an apprenticeship, and realizes that this could be his chance in staying in Hang Zhou.
He ties his hair up in a top knot thing, and on him it’s adorable. He passes through security by mumbling and a pair of sunglasses, even remarking to the disbelieving security that he even looks as angry as his picture.
Once he’s in, Jian Xiu Can realizes that he’s standing next to Zhang Jian. He says hi and Zhang Jian ignores him. Jian Xiu Can mutters in korean, this bastard acts all high and mighty. Zhang Jian looks at him and Jian Xiu Can asks him in korean if he speaks korean. Zhang Jian doesn’t answer and Jian Xiu Can does a “fighting!” or good luck with a smile for Zhang Jian and then goes back to mutter curses about him under his breath in korean.
As it turns out the Grandpa Jian Xiu Can met is a master noodle maker and he’s asked to make an exhibition. His name is Zhang Gao Xiu and he puts on an impressive show by using some kind of Kung Fu to shape the flour and then making two million strands (It’s actually a record, some person in China actually did it).
The real competition begins and Jian Xiu Can finds that he can’t use his right arm to knead the dough because of the injury he got from the bamboo forest. Grandpa comes to ask him what’s wrong and admonishes him for injuring himself.
When they turn in their dishes Zhang Jian has made the Winner’s Fish Soup Noodle which is a dish that young men use to eat for luck before they went to take the civil service test. Jian Xiu Can makes a Jigae mixed with bamboo shoots instead of kimchi, telling the audience that he had combined the two cultures to make the dish. It is a Jigae noodle with Pia er Chuan garnish. Grandpa tastes it and tells him that it takes like war, of desire for battle, and of desire to win.
However, it is Zhang Jian who takes 1st place and the apprenticeship that comes with it. Jian Xiu Can sighs and I just want to give him a hug.
A girl comes to give flowers to Zhang Jian who turns her away brusquely. She is Xu Yuting a rich and spoiled brat who came to cheer for Zhang Jian. Again, not that interested in her but she’s a character I’m sure that’s going to pop up sporadically or be a thorn.
After the competition grandpa looks at his hands and remembers that Jian Xiu Can had made excellent noodles with one hand. It takes an enormous amount of strength to do that and almost no one can. Grandpa, who basically is a genius at noodles, wonders if Jian Xiu Can was just like him
Thoughts – The main, shining, luminous reason that you should watch this drama, is because of Yoon Shi Yoon. Yes, the boy overacts a little bit at times. But he’s basically, one giant, adorable puppy with huge eyes and adorkable personality. I giggled every time he was on screen, and if not for his rascal-ness and genuine happiness I don’t think I would have liked this drama at all. He could play every emotion on the drop of a pin and with so much gusto that it allows you to smile without knowing you’re doing it. There’s vitality and honestly when he acts, and in some ways he’s more Enrique Geum than Kim Tak Goo in this drama, the latter one in which he and Joo Won competed for puppy of the year. There’s no hostility in his character, just sometimes a flash of pettiness. He’s like an over eager puppy with just one goal in mind: to stay in Hangzhou.
Speaking of Hang Zhou – it’s beautiful and also usually full of tourists. I once went with a bunch of my foreign friends (insert every other race but Asian except me here) to the West Lake and people started taking pictures of us instead of the scenery, there was also a lot of leering, and one Italian friend got semi-molested by an old grandma (I’m sure she just wanted to know if he was different in any way). We all had fun, well, except for one very traumatized Italian.
I digress – let me know what you think!