Flower Boy Ramen Shop


Reviewed by: sukting

October 20, 2012

Rating: three-point-five

Foreword
Yang En Fei accidentally encounters Che Zhi Xiu, the arrogant son of the biggest food conglomerate in Korea during her teaching practice. Both of them end up working at a ramyun shop run by the lazy Chui Jiang He. Together with two other guys, how do they manage the shop?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Jung Il Woo as Che Zhi Xiu
Zhi Xiu fascinates women with his good looks and charm right after he steps down from the plane from U.S. His father wants him to be an US citizen to escape from NS. Zhi Xiu wants to work at the restaurant as well, in order to to get close to En Fei. Because of her, he can’t eat and sleep well when he doesn’t see her. He lies that this is part of his business management programme. Jiang He, who knows that he and Zhi Xiu actually have the same mother, allows him to join the shop out of concern for his cold half-brother.

Jiang He quickly develops feelings for En Fei, but she finds herself more attracted to Zhi Xiu. Zhi Xiu even decides how to cook ramen and Jiang He discovers his talent. Zhi Xiu has become attached to the ramen shop and is no longer snobbish. Yet, he is also afraid of being disowned, and so he initially chooses to stay with his father. En Fei realizes that she needs him. She comes to his family's apartment to claim him from his father, and they leave together.

The ramen shop is forced to close when En Fei chooses to be with Zhi Xiu, but all accept this ending without complaints. They cook a ramen dish for each other before they part. Zhi Xiu visits En Fei after he starts his compulsory service in the South Korean Army.

Yu Jun forfeits his American citizenship but this doesn’t stop him. He is smart to choose a place that he gets to keep his hairstyle and the uniforms are neater, unlike others who need to slog. They are very happy to see each other again. He is very hilarious on how smitten Zhi Xiu is with En Fei.

2. Lee Chung Ah as Yang En Fei
The 25 year old En Fei prepares for her civil service exam with the dream of being a high school teacher. She is muscular as she is a volleyball player since her high school days. En Fei is attracted to Zhi Xiu who helps her to fend off her ex who cheats on her. She vows not to be with men who are less than 30 years old. She thinks that Zhi Xiu is 6 years older than her since he is back from the US. But she is shattered when she finds out that he is only a high school student.

So he is several years younger than her. Her teaching job is not only working at the high school that his family owns, but teaching his class. She is peeved when he picks on her but tolerates in order to keep her job. To the extent of writing an apology letter.

She grows to dislike him for his arrogance and lack of empathy. He, on the other hand, becomes fascinated with her because she is tough and athletic, unlike the other women he knows. She can punch or slap him anytime he does something wrong but yet he can’t forget this. En Fei loses her job because she finds Zhi Xiu humiliating her with her father’s death condolence money. She starts to work at the ramen shop, along with homeless Bao Luo and Xian Yu.

She finds it nonsensical when the guys named the shop as ‘flower boy ramen shop’. They are not really handsome to her. But to her surprise, women from all ages turn up and they do not mind waiting right from their opening day. When she realizes that Zhi Xiu likes her, she gets fluttered and tries dating Jiang He. She feels his warmth but is later firm in her choice.

When Zhi Xiu is not with her, she loses her soul when she cooks. That frightens Bao Luo as she looks exactly like her father when her mother dies. She bravely faces Yu Jun although she is scared of his authority. She is determined to do what she wants as she has never been a weak woman.

Even though she loses her shop, she later works hard to become a college teacher again. That is why Yu Jun finds her very similar to his ex-wife. This actress resembles Lai Mei Han in looks and is very convincing in her acting, not afraid of making herself look stupid or blur.

3. Lee Ki Woo as Cui Jiang He
After En Fei’s father passes away, En Fei is surprised to find that he left the ramen restaurant he owned to Jiang He. He had helped when he was a troubled youth, instead of to her. This is with a good reason as he is an experienced chef while she is not. Seeing that she isn’t interested in cooking, Jiang He is so disappointed that he wants to sell the shop. She changes her mind after visiting her father’s grave.

It is soon revealed that her father hopes that they will get married. True indeed, he goes everywhere telling all that she is his wife and the other 3 guys are their children. He is quite famous in Japan. He is actually Zhi Xiu’s half-elder brother – they share the same mother. Their mother dies in Japan but his Japanese father disapproves of him to have a Korean girlfriend as he feels betrayed. Both guys can tell the food ingredients without looking. When he notices that En Fei loves Zhi Xiu, he leaves the shop.

If Zhi Xiu is an immature guy, he is the reverse. Ki Woo does his part well as the charming and calm guy. He is prepared to accept all En Fei’s shortcomings and also her choice in love.

4. Park Min Woo as Kim Bao Luo
He is considered another troubled youth whom En Fei’s father tries to help. He is at loggerheads with Zhi Xiu over Su Er. En Fei has not liked coming to the Ramen shop as her father puts her name as the title of the shop. Later, she discovers how much he loves her. Bao Luo wants En Fei to be herself and he also helps out in the shop. He can lose his mind whenever it concerns Su Er or Zhi Xiu to quarrel with them.

He finds Su Er fickle-minded but whenever she calls him, he will rush to her without complaints. He finds it questionable that Zhi Xiu comes to work with him and often spies on him. When the ramen shop closes down, he works at another restaurant and returns home. Bao Luo finally gets a kiss from Su Er in the end. You will laugh whenever you see him. He is not called crazy chicken for nothing as his hair stands when he is mad. I believe this young actor will go far.

5. Jo Yoon Woo as Yu Xian Yu
He is Zhi Xiu’s girlish classmate. He tries running away from his father’s debtors and seeks refuge in the ramen shop. To him, En Fei is forever his teacher so he respects her. Bao Luo is peeved when he has to share a room with him. He has a strong sense of pride and rejects help from Zhi Xiu although he is separated from his father for a long time. He wants to be independent.

He applies to stay in the dorms after the shop’s closure but works in the same restaurant as Bao Luo. But their part-time jobs are ruined when Bao Luo yells at Su Er for dating another guy. At this time, a woman comes into his toilet cubicle. Looks like he is starting a romance like En Fei too. Unlike the other guys who look suave, he is quite fair. He is another guy who provides comic relief although his lines are serious.

6. Kim Ye Won as Jiang Dong Zhu
She is En Fei’s junior who also teaches in the same school. She is getting married soon and doesn’t want to stay with En Fei. Thus, En Fei has to move back to the ramen shop. En Fei often goes to her for love advice. When she tries out her wedding gown, she is half-hearted. So is En Fei trying out the bridesmaid gown. Dong Zhu gets mad- does she want to wear her volley ball uniform then? Dong Zhu ends up running away from the wedding altar to be with Coach Xu.

7. Joo Hyun as Che Yu Jun
He is Zhi Xiu’s father who pampers him rotten. He confiscates his car so as to force him to return to school. He wants to develop the land where the ramen shop is so he tries all ways to get them to move out. Zhi Xiu’s mother has left him to go to Japan as he smells of money. He does not approve of the relationship. The guys’ mother is also similar to En Fei and he believes that difference was one of the causes of their separating several years before. Thus, he stays in the company and there is no kitchen there.

He tries to separate the young couple by wanting to pull the ramen shop down. Zhi Xiu is forced to break up with En Fei as he doesn’t want them to be homeless. Yu Jun wants to bribe Zhi Xiu back with a new car but this doesn’t work this time. However, love can’t separate them and he has no choice but to give Zhi Xiu his asserts in his will.

8. Ho Soo as Yin Su Er
She is trained in ballet and dates the two guys. She decides that Zhi Xiu is better, breaking Bao Luo’s heart. She is pleased when Bao Luo refuses to give up on her but is astonished that Zhi Xiu prefers En Fei. Still, she is confident of herself and waits for him. When that fails, she starts dating other guys even though she makes promises to Bao Luo. I get pissed off when Su Er still doesn’t treat love seriously.

9. Jung In Ki as Yang Tie Dong
His cooking hardly improves all these years. The troubled youths keep it going as they like his cooking and he is concerned about them. His only daughter, En Fei hardly comes home so he misses her. His heart condition isn’t good and he jokes with Zhi Xiu – only to realize that it isn’t a prank and is too late to call him back when he has difficulty breathing. Thus, Zhi Xiu feels guilty over his death.

10. Seo Bum Suk as Coach Xu
He teaches En Fei volleyball in high school and is surprised with her choice. He helps this new colleague to adapt to the life in the high school and comes to be with Dong Zhu again. The three of them are close friends and often chat with each other.

Most favourite character
Zhi Xiu, he is a spoilt brat but he has a heart of gold. He only lacks experience in expressing himself. A close second is Jiang He. He is very caring and sweet. Although Zhi Xiu is hostile to him, he treats him well and teaches him whatever he knows.

Most hated character
Zhi Xiu’s father, he thinks that money can buy everything.

Conclusion

You will laugh at the complicated relationship when the 4 guys stay together with En Fei. The neighbours think that she is a loose woman to stay with her husband (Jiang He), boyfriend(Zhi Xiu), brother(Bao Luo) and student(Xian Yu). En Fei also nearly loses her mind when knowing that the two guys wooing her are half-brothers. Who isn’t attracted to go to a ramen shop with so many handsome guys?

The drama is smart to get a song that spans history. The song is liked by the guys’ mother. Su Er and En Fei also like it. So are the brothers. Zhi Xiu even listens to it over and over again when he is trapped at home. This show is entertaining from the beginning to the end. It is unexpected that the ramen shop does not last. Although it can be rebuild elsewhere, it has Tie Dong’s hard work and sweat. ‘Coffee prince’and ‘My name is Kim Sam Soon’ shops stay but why not this one?! Even Jiang He can’t save it!!

It is so well-received that its popularity has spawned a web cartoon version of the show, taking off from characters Bao Luo and Xian Yu as 20-year-olds managing a ramen restaurant. The cartoon has had over 1.8 million page views since its release on online portal Nate, with the number of visitors increasing by an average 32 percent per day.

Somehow, it runs in similar fashion as ‘A bright girl’s success’ as a woman who runs to the aid for a knight in trouble. It is hilarious when En Fei declares to Yu Jun that she is going to take Zhi Xiu to live with him.

It traces how Zhi Xiu grows to think of others and stop being selfish. Will there be a sequel? I am waiting for it. The only complaint I have is Jiang He deserves to have a woman who loves him. This is certainly not a good closure for me. I only hope that he doesn’t spend all his life missing En Fei while cooking ramen. Please at least provide him a new ramen shop.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)


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