This show revolved around Sung Chan and his brother Bong Joo. Sung Chan was descended from the line of a rather important royal chef. Sung Chan was adopted into Bong Joo’s family whose father owns this huge restaurant, well-known throughout Korea. Bong Joo, being the eldest, thought he would inherit the restaurant after his father but much to his surprise, his father announced a cooking contest to determine who would be more qualified. Deluded and angry, Bong Joo discovered that his father had never intended to give him the restaurant. Sung Chan, despite his cavalier ways had raw, natural talent and he was the rightful owner of the restaurant following his lineage. Bong Joo severed his relationship with Sung Chan. Sung Chan, disappointed and heartbroken, left the restaurant and became a food peddler. He travelled around Korea searching for delicious food and fresh ingredients. He ate and cooked from behind his truck. All these experiences helped him to save the restaurant when it faced the prospect of losing ownership to a Japanese businessman. Here is the official link to the show. I didn’t bother surfing it cause it’s all in Korean.
As I was watching this show, I was very impressed by the vast set and wondered if such a restaurant does exist. Its surrounding land was so big, they even have a spot just to store jars and jars of their preserved sauces and kimchi.
The cooking competitions could induce one to salivate profusely. Besides traditional cuisines, they tried to modernise Korean cooking and ingredients to suit the palette of foreigners. One thing I learned from this show is that Koreans take their beef very seriously. Sung Chan had to undergo strict training from his father to determine which cut the beef comes from, just by tasting them. How you treat your cow prior to being butchered will also affect the taste. I realise that although it could be dramatised for the sake of TV, you gotta admit there’s some truth behind it. If an animal is anxious and nervous, the meat gets tough and ‘bloody’. Think about it, why do you think Kobe beef is so highly prized? The cows were treated like kings and given soothing massages. This is so the meat gets that fantastic fat marbling distributed throughout.
There was this beef competition in the show where different restaurants came to compete. The honour and accolade was very high as it determines the skill of the chef at butchering the cow to produce the highest quality of meat. I tried searching for some thing like that in the net to see if there is such competition; I came across these few;
There are Korean restaurants around the world with this same name but I doubt there is any direct connection to the show. They just share the same name. There’s one in Sunnyside, USA. And the main one in Flushing, closer to New York. This is the one where Anthony Bourdain went and did a segment on it. Watching the video itself made me salivate although I’m not sure about the live octopus.
I’m not disgusted by it but I’m not into it either……yet. There’s also one in Singapore but unfortunately I could not find any informative links to it.
If I have to compare this to Dae Jang Geum, I’d prefer to watch this, there’s more cooking and less romance. Also, it’s relatable because the dishes were more modern and familiar.
I found a trailer for Sik Gaek the movie but again, this was different from what I remembered. I guess there has been many versions done for this popular show.