Jang-geum was the daughter of Seo Cheon-su, who was a former judical officer. After being expelled from the royal palace, he and Jang-geum's mother - Madame Park - who was a former court lady working in the royal kitchen and narrowly escaped death following a murderous conspiracy planned by Court Lady Choi - the two lovers lived life on the run, running away from their past. Jang-geum lost both parents and promised her mother to enter the royal kitchen.
Jang-Geum lived a horrible childhood in the royal kitchen. She was in continuous competition with Choi Geum-yeong, the niece of Court Lady Choi. To Jang-geum's relief, she was under the protection of Court Lady Han, who was her mother's old friend - but she didn't know that at the time. Jang-geum made her best efforts to become the best cook in the palace. Lady Choi became jealous of Jang-geum and Lady Han. And being the evil witch that she is, she planned a conspiracy, leading to Lady Han's death and Jang-geum was expelled from the royal palace.
While in exile, Jang-geum learnt medicine, earning her reputation on Jeju Island. After a period of time, Jang-geum re-entered the palace as a doctor. She was recognized by the King and became the royal physician and the first female physician to serve the King. The King eventually fell in love with Jang-geum and wanted to marry her. But he was shocked to find out that she was in love with Min Jung-Ho.
Seo Jang-geum | Play by Lee Young-Ae : Lee Young-Ae played the role of Jang-geum; a beautiful and intelligent young woman who was blessed with many talents. As a child, Jang-geum was extremely smart, and had a positive attitude. She falls in love with Min Jung-ho after saving his life.
Min Jung-ho | Played by Ji Jin-hee : Min Jung-ho becomes extremely attracted to Jang-geum. He is an outstanding scholar and possesses great talent as a miltary officer. Jang-geum's wisdom and passion draws him to her and he helps her throughout her journey. He falls in love with Jang-geum, but his love puts him in deep trouble.
Choi Geum-young | Played by Hong Li-na
Geum-yeong enters the royal palace and becomes Jang-geum's long-time rival. She is the niece of Lady Choi, and she aids her aunt in her conspiracy to kill Lady Han and expell Jang-geum from the royal palace. Geum-yeong fell in love with Min Jung-ho when she was a child, but her feelings were never returned.
Lady Han (Han Ae-jong) | Played by Yang Mi-gyeong : Lady Han was the outstanding cook and a mentor of the royal kitchen. She has strict principles yet she is warm-hearted. She cares for Jang-geum like a daughter and in the end sacrifices her life to keep Jang-geum alive. She dies in a conspiracy planned by Lady Choi. She is also the best friend of Jang-geum's mother.
Lady Choi (Choi Seong-geum) | Played by Gyeon Mi-ri : Geum-yeong's aunt. She is arrogant and self-assured, she is also a master of cooking but possesses a frightening tenacity to succeed. She also has a desire for power and it leads her to plot the death of Madame Park, the mother of Jang-geum, and Lady Han. She is also behind the expulsion of Jang-geum.
King Jungjong | Played by Im Ho : He is the 11th King of the Chosun Dynasty. He has a gentle personality although he can be irresolute and indecisive. The King admires Jang-geum's talents and later on, he falls in love with her.
I have never been so touched in my entire life. DaeJangGeum was one of the best dramas. Better than Full House! Jewel In The Palace fits so many genres all into one drama. Romance, drama, comedy, and whatever it is! You name it! I thought Lee Young-Ae wasn't that pretty at the beginning of the drama. Everyone was like, "Oh Jang-geum, you are so pretty." But I was like...she isn't that pretty! But then at the end, my opinion changed. I said to myself, wow! She's pretty! Her acting is also very good. Her smile is heart-warming, and her tears are heart-breaking. If people are looking for a good tear-jerker, then DaeJangGeum (Jewel In The Palace) is the right one for you!