Category: Must watch Kdramas

Unnie Recommends: Record of Youth

How are you kdrama world?😊 It’s been a few months since my last post here and I have been itching to write a new entry ever since. There’s always that gap in between anticipated shows and dramas that I don’t find interesting enough to watch, I find myself having that timeframe of weeks (or months in this case) not indulging on anything new.

What better way to end the hiatus with a new kdrama recommendation? Adult career crises, shifting life perspectives, and possible sparks of romance, Record of Youth kdrama illustrates the rocky but memorable road trip one must take to achieve their destination of dreams🌈

Current Impression

You know I’m a sucker for slice of life kdramas and Record of Youth hits all the right spots for me. Park Bo Gum (Love in the Moonlight, Boyfriend) takes centerstage as he tackles the role of Sa Hye Jun, a successful model turned struggling actor who is trying to find success in a different field of the entertainment industry. Hye Jun is a noble guy who strives to get roles thru his own hard work, kind-hearted, and independent. He is at odds with his father and older brother who find his choice in a career impractical and just want him to get a real job. He instead shares a special bond with his grandfather who shares his good looks and outlook in life, but couldn’t provide for his family back in the day too.

A self-declared fangirl of Hye Jun, Park So Dam (Parasite) stars as An Jeong Ha, an aspiring make-up artist also pursuing her dreams after quitting her office job. She meets Hye Jun at a fashion show and they become unlikely friends afterwards. For someone who just met her idol, you’d think she’d be more awkward around him, but her unexpectedly cool and confident charisma towards him is refreshing. Her backstory has yet to be revealed in detail but we know that she lives alone without her family in a house she made a long-term loan for.

Rounding up the main cast is Hye Jun’s best friend, Won Hae Hyo, a co-model but more successful actor whose own family supports him to the moon and back with his career. Hye Jun comes from an average family while Hae Hyo is richer and although it’s just been 2 episodes, their friendship has that delicate balance because Hye Jun doesn’t like comparing himself to Hae Hyo while the latter tries to help out the former with work gigs thru his connections. Like all other kdramas that preceded this, I’m sure a love triangle will brew between our trio of leads but I hope it only lasts for awhile. I like that the first 2 episodes emphasized Hye Jun and Jeong Ha’s personal struggles so it’s not all about the romance for this show!

Park Bo Gum is such an exceptional actor as his facial expressions convey his words with so much depth. You can feel his heavy frustrations for his dad but at the same time be compassionate towards his grandpa; he also tries hard to be a good person despite lots of temptations for him to stoop to a lower level. I’m excited to see his destined ascension in becoming a must-cast actor and how this will affect his relationships with his family and his friendship with Hae Hyo.

Our lives at a certain point in time, whether in our 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, will always have that sweet and bitter blend of experiences. With the help of technology and social media, imprinting our memories with pictures, videos, or notes is a great way to look back and reminisce on these formative years of learning and growing. Have you made your own Record of Youth yet?📝

Unnie Recommends: Dinner Mate’s 3-course must-watch meal

Have you ever felt that it’s sometimes easier to talk to strangers about our problems? When you think about it though, aren’t all connections start from meeting a new person, a stranger, then you become friends or something more in the process? Dinner Mate kdrama relishes on this premise and serves a delicious treat of 2 random people who connect with each other through eating and sharing their personal stories with each other.

I know I’m really late in recommending this but it took awhile for me to start this korean drama. It’s already halfway in its run as of this week and I just bingewatched all the episodes in 2 days, haha. Without further ado, how about we join our titular characters for a meal as well?🍽

Appetizer – Side salad of coincidences and a creamed romcom soup

Accidentally meeting in Jeju Island, an online content producer named Woo Do Hee (Played by Seo Ji Hye) and a famous psychiatrist Kim Hae Kyung (Played by Song Seung Heon), end up having a meal together. Do Hee had just dumped her boyfriend who was cheating on her while Hae Kyung was there to meet with a patient.

Like any classic romcom formula, our unlikely duo end up meeting each other in random circumstances back in Seoul. Oblivious of each other’s personal identities, Do Hee and Hae Kyung decide to become meal buddies only by meeting up and having a meal together once in awhile. They can talk about their interests or problems if they wanted to share it with each other, but both are not privy to the other’s basic information such as their name, occupation, etc.

Main Course – Filet mignon served with heartwarming garlic mashed potato and roasted plot twists veggies

Eating a meal is integral to Do Hee and Hae Kyung as the former enjoys her own way of eating food while the latter views having a meal with someone else as a gesture that he/she is important to you. As they try to navigate their relationship being careful to not cross any boundaries (which of course they will), things get more complicated as their first loves want to get back together with them respectively.

I love both Do Hee and Hae Kyung’s characters, especially Do Hee, who is relatable in many ways. I like that she can be sloppy and frazzled at times but is confident on what she wants such as her eating habits and passion for work. I appreciate that Hae Kyung is considerate but not overbearing in his gentleman ways. Both their characters are cool and strong-willed; they balance each other’s quirks well that it’s so satisfying watching them get closer to each other❤️

Dessert – Slice-of-life Chocolate cake with mixed bittersweet fruits

Along with the romantic sparks that shine between Do Hee and Hae Kyung, bits and pieces of life lessons further enhance the show’s charm. How they will grow from being meal buddies to something more was such a slow burn, the pacing was not too fast as they organically got to know each other only by eating together. Dinner Mate serves up a tale of healing and fills our palates with hope that things will work out for us in the most unexpected of ways✨

Bonus Freebie – For all CLOY (Crash Landing on You kdrama) fans🥰

We’re treated to an imaginary epilogue for Seo Ji Hye’s character in Crash Landing on You, Seo Dan, as Do Hee tries a past regression hypnotism video at work. She dreams of being in a field and takes on a North Korean accent as she waits for a man in uniform, who happens to be Hae Kyung, walking towards her. This was such a nice nugget for fans of the show (Like me) who grew to love the feisty Seo Dan as her would-be lover passed away, but she was content in not having a partner in the end. Now can someone do a spin-off kdrama for Seo Dan and Hae Kyung’s military officer character next time?!😍

Unnie Recommends: Mystic Pop-up Bar

If dreams are thoughts and images that exist only in our sleep, can events in one still influence us to change in real life? Can ideas actually manifest and be brought to reality?💡 Mystic Pop-up Bar kdrama narrates the story of Weol Ju, a woman who has the special abilities to enter one’s dreams and solve a person’s problems while in slumber.

What promises to be a fun and adventure-filled kdrama is just what we need to brighten our days with laughter and good anticipation in these uncertain times. We all need a little magic in our lives right now yes?✨

Current Impression

Weol Ju was was born with her gift but due to an unfortunate incident, she ends up committing suicide and swearing revenge in those who have wronged her. Instead of burning in the fiery depths of hell, she is tasked with helping 100,000 people with their problems thru the dream world. In present times, she runs a pop-up bar (pojangmacha) with the help of another being, Manager Gwi, hoping that her customers spill their woes with her so she could help them, and in turn achieve her goal.

Business isn’t doing so well and as Weol Ju points out, people aren’t so easy in sharing their troubles like before. She meets a young man, Han Kang Bae, who also possesses a mysterious ability that when physically touched, they instinctively confess their problems to him. She enlists his help to accomplish her goal faster and he asks that she aids him in getting rid of his power. Kang Bae has had a tough life being an outcast because of his ability and doesn’t seem to have a family (At least until episode 2 because he lives alone).

The female lead character reminds me of Jang Man Weol in Hotel del Luna because they both have a short and bad temper (haha), they are being punished because of their past actions and have to atone for their mistakes, and are reluctantly helping out people (or ghosts for Man Weol) for the better. I like the premise that Weol Ju helps out people in their dreams and people take action in reality — it’s these moments coming from a random source that we need sometimes to snap ourselves back to reality⚡️

It’s been awhile since I’ve watched a kdrama without romance involved and I appreciate that Mystic Pop-up Bar korean drama seems to focus on self-love and a familial/friendship-based relationship instead. Ultimately, I hope that Weol Ju and Kang Bae get to solve their issues and inner conflicts along the way. Dreams are great and all, but an equally enchanting power is to heal from the help of your loved ones.