14 March 2014

식샤를 합시다 Let's Eat

Title: 식샤를 합시다 Siksyareul Habsida
English Title: Let's Eat
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year: 2014
Episode: 16
  • 이수경 Lee Soo Kyung
  • 윤두준 Yoon Doo Joon
  • 심형탁 Shim Hyung Tak
  • 윤소희 Yoon So Hee
  • 이도연 Lee Do Yeon
  • 장원영 Jang Won Young
  • 정수영 Jung Soo Young

Lee Soo Kyung is a 33-year-old divorcee who works as a secretary in a law firm. Fiercely independent, she is quite content on living on her own and has no plans for remarriage. Soo Kyung's only interest is eating delicious food at popular restaurants but she cannot eat out alone.

Goo Dae Young is a 29-year-old insurance salesman who lives next door to Soo Kyung. He has an easygoing personality but he turns quite serious whenever someone makes flippant comments about food. He loves eating, and he seems to be quite knowledgeable about great restaurants in the area.

Yoon Jin Yi is a 23-year-old college student who moves in the apartment next to Soo Kyung and Dae Young. She came from a privileged background but her family situation took a turn for the worse when her father was sued for malpractice and imprisoned. With her bright personality, Jin Yi is navigating the challenges of being independent and living on her own in a positive light.

Kim Hak Moon is a 35-year-old lawyer and Soo Kyung's boss. They went to the same university for college, where Hak Moon nursed a one-sided love for Soo Kyung. Indignant that she doesn't remember him even though he confessed to her in the past, Hak Moon is exceptionally critical of Soo Kyung at work.

I wanted to watch Let's Eat because it is about food and eating. Although I'm not as preoccupied with eating delicious food as the main characters in the drama, I believe that if you're going to eat anyway, you might as well make the most out of the experience if you can.

Yoon Jin Yi: "If a worry goes away by worrying about it, then there would be no worries." It is a Tibetan proverb.
-- E06 Pride and Prejudice

Though I was interested in the drama because of the food, even I think the extensive shots of food and of the characters eating food are too much and sometimes unnecessary. The food certainly looked delicious the first time I saw it, and seeing it a few more times won't make it even more sumptuous several times over. It just doesn't work that way.

I also didn't like the extensive scenes of people eating as I felt the time could have been taken to share some facts about the food instead. In particular, I felt somewhat uncomfortable watching Lee Soo Kyung eat as her eating scenes are pointedly sexual and calculatingly orgasmic in nature. I have watched a lot of food-related productions, and there are several female characters that are purposely written to react to food in a similar way, but the way that Soo Kyung's scenes are filmed really took things to a whole different level.

Anyway, it may seem that I'm not really into food as I claim to be but that's not really the case. Like Soo Kyung, I follow a few blogs about food that I refer to whenever I am planning to eat out with family and friends. I also read newspapers and magazines regularly, and I often check out the sections about food, such as restaurant reviews and recipes. I make certain that I go to the local restaurants in the areas where I studied (both for college and for graduate school), where I worked, and where I lived.

Unlike Soo Kyung though, I have many people I can eat out with. In my family, my dad is usually the one who introduces us to good food but my two younger brothers have also assumed the role several times. I am also fortunate to have friends and colleagues who like eating out as much as I do, and we usually bring each other to good restaurants.

I understand Soo Kyung's issues with eating alone, possibly because I also grew up in a culture where eating is always a communal experience, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve that make dining alone in public less problematic. For instance, it is better to eat out alone during lunchtime on weekdays, and you may choose to go either before or after typical dining hours if the restaurant you want to go to is open all day.

Goo Dae Young also has a point about how eating out alone is actually a great idea. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the best way to eat, but you have to admit that there are a lot of advantages to eating out alone.

Goo Dae Young: Eating out alone is indeed the best way to eat. It's the truth of eating. I'll tell you the reason for it.
Goo Dae Young: The more people there are to eat together, and the more choices in the menu there are, it is a matter of course that opinions are at odds. But when I eat alone, I can decide what I want to eat quickly.
Goo Dae Young: When you eat with other people, you have to be cautious about your eating speed and dining etiquette, and you can't eat just the pieces that you want. But if I eat alone, I can eat comfortably without considering other people. I can dine with only myself in mind.
-- E10 Mr. ShikSha Over Flowers

However, I don't really recommend eating out alone mainly because the servings are huge, and what is supposedly a single serving is actually good for two to three people. I think it's better to eat out with a group of people so you can get a variety of dishes to share with everyone. This way, you don't overeat and you are not stuck with too much of one thing or dish.

One of Soo Kyung's reasons for not wanting to eat out alone is because the restaurants don't have takeout boxes so that the customers can take home leftover food, and I wonder how common that is in South Korea and other countries. This is not particularly a concern where I live because most people tend to over-order food and don't want to waste food, so most restaurants are aware that diners will want to take home any leftover food and are more or less prepared to accommodate such requests.

Anyway, I like the poem about food, rice in particular, and life at the end of the drama. Life is really something that people should break down, and assimilate through reflection.

Rice by Chun Yang Hee
To you who eats a lot because you are lonely,
To you who sleeps a lot because you are weary,
To you who cries a lot because you are sad,
I write this down.
Chew on your feelings that are cornered,
Like you would chew on rice.
Anyway, life is...
Something you need to digest.

-- E16 Still... Let's Eat

식샤를 합시다 2 Let's Eat 2

식샤를 합시다 Let's Eat