Food of Love


Reviewed by: sukting

June 24, 2009

Rating: four

How long
Episodes: 30

Foreword

This is a drama about food, romance and family. The title means invitation to the whole family. It also shot Wong Hei to stardom as his third drama. Do you wish to know why?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Wong Hei as Yau Chi Tak
He has the talent for cooking and is nicknamed as OK Tak as he also says okay. Under Siu Lam’s advice, he gets the chance to work in a Chinese restaurant in Fok Yu Hotel. Chi Tak falls out of favour with his boss after Kwan Ho leaves the hotel. He works in Kwan Ho’s eatery and it becomes famous overnight for cooking abalone dishes. He proposes to Nga Wing but she rejects his proposal as she doesn’t want to take up family responsibliity.

He is upset but Siu Lam consoles him so both become a couple. He is hurt when Kwan Ho betrays him but he forgives him later. Anyone will make this role bland but the beady and also single-eyelid Wong Hei makes OK Tak come alive. He is not the handsome kind but his face shows the innocence and kind nature of man. His checked shirts to match with t-shirts and red cloth shoes make him stand out from the rest.

2.Yuen Kit Ying as Leung Siu Lam
She is Chi Tak’s ex-neighbour and boyish buddy. She works in the television station as a reporter. She encourages Chi Tak to go towards his dream. Siu Lam is disappointed upon knowing that Chi Tak likes Nga Wing but later becomes his girlfriend. I don’t find any breakthrough in her performance. She has tried too hard to look cute with her sharp voice. How thin she is! She needs to put on some weight.

3. Kwok Ho Ying as Man Nga Wing
She is Siu Lam’s senior in the television station. Chi Tak befriends Nga Wing and woos her. He manages to win her heart with his sincerity. But being career minded, she decides that family isn’t that important and leaves him. I only find her average in her. Her pairing with Hei looks weird – not as comfortable as him to be with Kit Ying.

4. Cheung Siu Fai as Ching Seung Lai
He is Chi Tak’s friend who is a widower with a son. Nothing matters to him more than money so he decides to set up his own eatery. When knowing that Kwan Ho and Chi Tak have left the hotel, he suggests combining their forces to do business. He does well and knowing that Chi Wah is suitable for him, he marries her.

5. Ngai Chun Kit as Wai Kwan Ho
He is the stepson of Mr Wai who owns Fok Yu Hotel. He works hard to prove his worth. He becomes close friends with Siu Lam and Chi Tak. Amused that Siu Lam tries to shake off the prosepective matches that her parentes arranges for her by hooking to his elbow, he agrees to act as her boyfriend. See the pains he has taken to make the act come true. To attend Siu Lam’s uncle party, he gets an expensive limted edition watch. And have fun seeing how he runs her matches down with his harsh words!

No matter how hard he works, his stepfather still treats him as an outsider. Disillusioned when he falls off from grace, he opens his own restaurant. He falls for Siu Lam and both go steady. He realises later that she is in love with Chi Tak all along. Feelign jealous, he harms Chi Tak. However, his reputation is ruined instead and he has to return to his family. He is glad when his friends forgive him for all he has done.

Chun Kit’s performance is also spectacular. He looks authoritative in his business suit and the air that he shows depicts that Kwan Ho is well brought up. But the adverse change in him is also attractive.

6. Leung Kar Yan as Yau Kin
He is Chi Tak’s father who opens a laundry. He thinks lowly of chefs. He keeps makign negative remarks to force him to give up. To prove his worth, Chi Tak combines with Sei Kwai to participate in a cooking contest. They did not win anything but it moves Kin to allow Chi Tak to become a chef.

7. Chu Mi Mi as Yau Kin's wife
She is Kin’s caring but noisy wife. Half the time you will see her talking loudly with Kin. But the funny moments come when Chi Tak wants her attention as a child. Others will make it look very mushy but Wong Hei’s low husky voice makes him really cute. When he smiles with his trademark white teeth, his charm is there. No wonder many housewives wish to have a son like him after watching.

8. Ho Mei Tien as Elaine
She is Chi Tak’s assistant in the eatery. She is hardworking and is their capable assistant.

9. Wong Wai as Kwan Ho's father
He is an authoritative man at work as he has to. He pins hopes on his two sons but shows favouritism towards his biological son, Chun Hang. By giving Chun Hang a higher post than Kwan Ho, he has no regrets driving Kwan Ho away as he only treats him like an employee. Soon, he discovers that he has made a wrong choice and has to get him to move back home.

10. Fung So Bor as Kwan Ho's mother
She brings Kwan Ho to marry Mr Wai after her divorce. Her ex-husband is a good-for-nothing so that is why Kwan Ho changes his surname. She is the traditional woman who wants Kwan Ho to listen to all of his stepfather’s instructions as they owe their lives to him.

11. Gabriel Harrison as Wai Chun Hang
He is Mr Wai’s son who is arrogant and reckless. He insists that he must have his way and will never listen to Kwan Ho’s suggestions. Seeing that his career is leading to nowhere, Kwan Ho chooses to leave. He can’t manage the business on his own and it incur losses. He has no choice but to eat the humble pie.

12.Lau Kar Fai as Lo Sei Gwai
He is Chi Tak’s thick-skinned but loyal uncle who encourages him to go into cooking. He is a chef who works in China and has to return but the restaurant closes down. He is never discouraged and is determined to carve a new rouote in Hong Kong. Chi Tak loves food like him so both of them get along well.

13. Lau Kong as Siu Lam's father
He is very money-minded and is often at loggerheads with Kin. He marries a sauce factory owner’s daughter to get rich. That is why he fawns on his wealth. Thus the elderly from both families don’t get along well. Strangely, their strained relationship do not affect their children.

14. Chan Man Nah as Siu Lam's mother
She also believes that she belongs to the upper class. Thus, she finds suitable status of men for Siu Lam, regardless of how ugly or short they look. She is pleased when Siu Lam gets Kwan Ho but is dimayed when she decides to go steady with Chi Tak.

15. Chan Sau Chu as Man Nga Chung
She is still single although she is in her fourties. She dreams of marrying a rich man but never expects to get married to Sei Kwai in the end.

16. Wong Ching - Kuen
He is the chief chef in Fok Yu Hotel. He isn’t stingy in sharing his expertise with Chi Tak. That is why Chi Tak look up to him as his master besides his uncle.

17. Cheung Kum Ching - Yau Chi Wah
He is Chi Tak’s elder brother. He is a taxi driver but also cares for his family. He will try to help out in the laundry after work.

18. Ng Wing Hung – Ou Yeung San
She is Chi Tak’s sister-in-law. She works in the laundry. Although she grumbles of having little money and is unable to move out, she later discovers the importance of family ties and agrees to stay on.

19. Kwan Bo Wai – Yau Chi Wah
She is Chi Tak’s shy elder sister. She works as the family accountant. Being bespectacled and quiet, she has not fallen in love till she meets Seung Lai. She takes care of him when he is il land gets along well with his son. This moves him and they get married.

20. Ching Kar Sing
He is Seung Lai’s son – he is very cute with curly hair! All of them call him small potato fondly. He is very mature for his age. It will be tough for Chi Wah’s parents to accept the widower Seung Lai if not for him. He wins their hearts easily and they love him when they see him for the first time.

Favourite character
Chi Tak, he is really cute and hardworking. It is hard not to like this guy.

Most hated character
Not Kwan Ho who becomes evil midway as he does it for a cause. He is Chun Hang – although he is handsome looking, his actions and behaviour sucks. As if he is top of the world.

Song
It is the same title 闔府統請 by Gabriel Harrison. It is a terrible song with a weird tune. I will not wish to listen to it for a second time. The whole drama is perfect but it is ruined by this song.

Interesting scenes

There is a proverb – the food is like every citizen’s sky. It tells on how to make the beef soft and how to make the sea cucumber duck tasty. It tells of a new recipe each episode. I believe this is why the housewives love this drama. It isn’t checked if the methods are true, though. Although I love to cook, I normally go for simple dishes as the tough ones look too complicated to learn.

It invited Ah Yat Abalone Restaurant owner, Yeung Gun Yat as their adviser. Thus we get to see how egg wrapping rice is formed. It also has a Red Lantern dish exhibition, a demonstration on brewing bird nest and a cocking contest. How can you miss them?

Interesting facts

It is a simple story on how commoners use their own talents to become successful after working hard. But food is every one’s weakness. Thus this drama had a high rating of 29 points when shown in Hong Kong, which was even higher than ‘Once upon a time in Shanghai’.

This was Wong Hei’s second time acting with Chu Mi Mi as mother and son. They had worked in ‘Deadly Protection’ before. So was Chun Kit too in there. That was why they have a lot of chemistry in here. Many said that he was famous because of Ok Tak. He disagreed as he thought that they only took note of him in there.

Some said that he was hard to get along. He did not think so as he also had good friends. There are two types of people who can work very well with him. One type is to take everything seriously and responsibly. Another is stronger than him in every aspect to spur him on. He did not need to explain or defend himself as he believed that those who work with him would understand him.

Wong Hei explained that he was a DJ in 1992. He only became an actor in 1995 so he had no formal training. Since he came into this line, he had to treat it seriously to make improvement in each drama. There was a magazine getting all to vote for their favourite artistes. Hor Ying came in fourth while Wong Hei came in as nineth.

Many also remembered the dark and tall Chun Kit in this drama. He lamented that it was hot to wear the business suits for most scenes. Many were curious to know how well he could cook. They thought he only knew how to cook instant noodles. How wrong they were! He knew how to make sauced minced meat, steam fish and fried vegetables. He also knew how to make beef steak and mutton chop. His wife must be fortunate to have him.

How did he learn them? He watched his mother doing the cooking and knew it after a few times. He joked that this drama should get him to act as a chef as it had wasted his skills.

Conclusion

Hong Kong is a paradise of food. This drama showed how the chefs become famous. From an unknown learner, Chi Tak becomes a popular figure due to his hard work. The story is special and takes all to the restaurant kitchen. We are told of their stories and their struggles – how they compete for guests. The dishes are a bonus and all will long to get their chopsticks to taste them.

If you like food and family dramas, this drama gives the most that it can offer. It is one of the best dramas shown in the 90s so all should get the dvd when it is out.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)

On story : **** (Scale of 5)

On songs : ** (Scale of 5)



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