Friday, March 9, 2012

Feast of The Gods is My New Drama Craving

It was a dull and lazy Sunday afternoon when I stumbled across Sung Yuri's new cooking-melo-romance drama. I was sitting on the bed next to my mom barely watching an episode of her favorite series "Criminal Minds" on replay. It was hard for me to fix my attention to the crime-solving series on screen because my fingers were busy surfing the internet, looking for a new Asian drama to watch. After a few minutes, I landed on MBC's weekend-drama Feast of The Gods.

I confess! I'm only nineteen years old but I am an "ahjumma at heart" when it comes to my taste in drama viewing. Just like an old woman, I fancy family dramas that offer a slice of life on my table, even if sometimes the heavy story goes beyond reality. I don't mind dramas coated with "makjang" elements as long as they are well-presented. (Note from Dramabeans : **Makjang - a sylistic, tonal, or narrative element in dramas that chooses to play up outrageous storylines to keep viewers hooked despite how ridiculous the stories become - adultery, revenge, rape, birth secrets, fatal illnesses, and flirting with incest possibilities are some makjang favorites)

For me, "makjang dramas" if done right and executed well can be extremely gripping and highly entertaining. And Feast of the Gods is the current example of it. There's nothing ground-breaking but the steady flow of the plot, intriguing cooking battles and unpredictable pairing make me want for more.

Food porn is the best way to seduce my starving eyes and Feast of the Gods got it prepared in front of my screen. As a cooking-themed drama, it did a delightful job flaunting different Korean traditional cuisines in every episodes.

If you want something to eat up your time, love cooking competitions, up for some sizzling love square and melo-drama seasoning, have a bite of this drama and let your eyes be full with two eye-candies.

The first time I watched this drama, I had to devour voraciously the available six episodes in one sitting. And I didn't regret the six hours I spent watching this. It's worth it! These days, I look forward to weekends not because these are rest days but because there will be two episodes of Feast of The Gods. It's been awhile since I watched a series without subtitles then watched it again once its available with subtitles. Luckily, the Hot and Spicy Team of viki are fast subbers. I owe a lot to them  for providing quick subtitles for this drama.

Just like in the 2010 hit series Baker King, Kim Tak Gu, this culinary-related drama has the classic duel of "good versus evil" but this time, the battlefield is set against the backdrop of a traditional and prestigious Korean cuisine restaurant called "Arirang." In the story, we got not only one but two generations of highly-skilled chefs battling it out to be the next executive chef of Arirang.

Feast of The Gods presents us another secret-identity-switched-plot. It's true that it is one of the most antiquated, used and ridiculous drama tropes but rating-wise, this plot device assures at least a stable number of audiences. In this story, we got another traditionally sunny and kind heroine in the name of Ko Joon Young (Sung Yuri). She is the long-lost cooking-genius daughter of Arirang's current executive chef Sung Dong Hee (Jeon In Hwa).

Because of the catastrophic accident in the cruise ship that separated her with her biological parents, she was adopted by a child-less married couple who owned a small restaurant. Her real name is Ha In Joo but because of the accident, another girl claims her identity.

Without the memories about her past life with her real family, she grew up to be a cheerful, good-hearted and loving woman. I find nothing special about her character since she's the typical heroine you can find in a lot of Korean dramas but what I like about her is the straight-forward nature she has. She doesn't hold back. She says what's in her mind, voices out her true feelings and does what she wants to do.

Joon Young didn't have the formal education about culinary arts but because of her innate talent for cooking and the opportunity Grandma Sun gave to her, she managed to make her name listed as one of the strong candidates to be the next executive chef of Arirang.

Now that we know a lot about our female lead, it's time for us to take a look at our hard-working antagonist who strives to be the best. Originally, her name is Song Yeon Woo. She became an orphan when her real mother died in an accident related to the disappearance of the real In Joo. When she was a little girl, her identity got switched when unstable Sung Dong Hee claimed her as her own daughter In Joo due to intense depression. Life, parents, status, career, and even boyfriend ; she grew up owning and claiming everything meant for the real Ha In Joo.

She is determined to be the next executive chef of Arirang but she doesn't possess the gifted talent for cooking Joon Young has. Armed with piercing desire and best education about cooking, she aims to defeat Joon Young even if she has to make her hands dirty in the process of using evil tricks.

I admit that this kind of competition that rivals the good heroine and the bad villain is already a century-old concept. But what excites me here is the journey these two women have to embark in order to reach their dreams. I want to witness how Joon Young will discover her real identity. I want to know how she will overthrow the fake In Joo. I want to see how far the impostor In Joo will go just to satisfy her thirst for success. And lastly, I want to be there when the heart-rending mother and daughter reunion between Dong Hee and Joon Young happened. In watching dramas like this, it's not the uniqueness or the unpredictability of the story one should look forward to, because if you aim for these, you'll only get disappointment in the end. To enjoy this series, you need to have a mindset that can tolerate extreme evilness, angsty characters and silly secrets. Luckily, I enjoy this drama because my doors are always open for these plot-factors.

The main story may turn bland with its foreseeable outcomes but no one can argue that the love-line here is incalculable. The romance is dancing in unsure beats making the viewers uncertain about the real leading man of Ko Joon Young. A love set-up which is not usually applicable in most Korean dramas. Right off the bat, we received a heads-up about her special connection with Choi Jae Ha (Joo Sang Wook), given that the two were once close childhood playmates before her ill-fated accident.

But now that we get to see the adult version of Joon Young confessing her love for Jae Ha on the early stage of the drama, I can't help but wonder if the writer is really going to push the first love (whether it's only a puppy love) as the last love of the story. The love confession is too soon for a 32-episode drama. Usually, childhood sweethearts end up as the one-true-pair but looking at Jae Ha's character, he seems to possess most of the qualities of a potential second fiddle. He is kindhearted, considerate, upbeat, intelligent, rich and caring ; the perfect boyfriend in every girls' dream but the thing about him is, these qualities he has also signal that he may end up in the territory of a tragic second lead.

Unlike him, his rival in Joon Young's heart has more distinct and exciting profile. Kim Do Yoon (Lee Sang Woo), an emotionally-damaged and mysterious son of Baek Sul (the enemy of Joon Young's real mother) is a revolting character. He has his own baggage that he needs to shoulder and personal issues that he has to address.

Do Yoon and Joon Young's involvement has the normal and typical "we-hate-each-other-at-first-but-now-we're-close" kind of relationship. Also, making him as the heroine's hero brings more conflict in the romance of the story.

If ever Joon Young ends up with Jae Ha, the fake Ha In Joo will be the only wall that can block their love. But with Do Yoon, their love has to overcome the decade-long rivalry between their mothers and their own self-missions and goals. There is also a ray of possibility that Do Yoon and Joon Young will turn opponents in the later episodes because both of them are chefs and has opposing ideals about cooking.

Aside from the fierce cooking battles, convincing characters and charming love triangle, this drama has an ear-sticking soundtrack that makes every scene more heart-felt and gripping. The main song "Did you forget" by Lee Seung Chul is my favorite drama OST these days. It brings out the emotions and sets the mood of the drama everytime this song plays on background.

Heaven exists in Feast of The Gods. Lee Sang Woo and Joo Sang Wook play a big part why my eyes are fixated on this drama. But I have to give the full credit on the colorful and mouth-watery delicacies shown in every episode. It's the primary reason why I started to check out this drama. The allure of food porn captures me in a finger-licking way.

A lot of young viewers are allergic to "makjang" dramas but don't let the prejudices cloud your views. The story of the Feast of the Gods may be a worn-out and common theme but don't forget that there are a lot of good things familiarity can bring.


Thank you to Kaptain A of A Virtual Voyage for letting me use her wonderful screen captures. You can also check out the episode recaps about this drama on her blog. ^^


  1. Rooting for Doo Yoon and Joon Young to end up as a pair in the end. The Joon Young and Jae Ha pairing is much too bland! We'll find out what the writers have up their sleeves.

    1. Yay! Count me in, in that ship! ^^ I would ridicule this drama to bits if the writer messes up our OTP <3 DO YOON-JOON YOUNG FTW!!!

      I love the actor who's playing Jae Ha but unfortunately, he doesn't have sparks with Sung Yuri.

  2. Thanks to this entry, I am now curious about Feast of the Gods. ^___^ The DY-JY is indeed promising... and while I never saw LSW as a leading man before, I guess this drama changes everything.

    1. Watch it! I hope you'll love it the way I do or maybe even more. ^^

  3. the jazz background is amazing... do you know the title or musician?

  4. I really wish I could see it from your point of view, my problem is I'm too realistic, yes even with drama and I start to over analyse. Because of this and having read your review (which is pretty good) I have decided to stop at episode 4. The reason being that (fake) In Joo didn't make herself fake and she didn't live the fairytale life she should have. She thought her mother abandoned her and was then made to be someone else and completely forget who she had been. And this wasn't at an age where she could have easily forgotten, these where personality building stages in her life. She had a senile mother and a brother and father who always held her a step away. I think anyone growing up with that kind of dejection in life would grow up with her mentality. Well up to episode 4. I just hate how the writer will demonise her and not show any mercy for her suffering.




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