...when the screen takes over...

Kang’s Kitchen, Fifth Episode (part 1)

Days have gone by too soon. Kang’s Kitchen finally sees its last day of business.

In the fourth day of business, the members get their first much needed break time. As soon as the last customers leave, Ho-Dong flips the ‘open’ sign to ‘closed’.

The First Break Time

While Ho-Dong is learning how to use the coffee machine from Ji-Won, Na-No goes out from the kitchen. He walks towards the front door and tells Jae-Hyeon that he needs some time alone. On his way out, Jae-Hyeon reminds him to go back in ten minutes for they need to prepare for reopening at 3 PM. We see Na PD gets down on his knees and sits under the shade of Kang’s Kitchen’s front porch, lamenting.

Ho-Dong looks pleased after he gets the coffee made. Ho-Dong wants to give Na-No the first coffee he ever made. When Jae-Hyeon relays Na-No’s message, that he wants to be alone, Ho-Dong and Ji-Won laughs hard.

Na-No wants some time alone?!

Ho-Dong tells Jae-Hyeon to let Na-No have another ten minute break. But Ji-Won questions why gives him more when there is already a break. Min-Ho had it worse yesterday for doing what Na-No does non-stop.

Ji-Won also works non-stop during break time. He cleans the tables, sets the tables’ condiments, refills napkins, return baby-seats. Meanwhile, Ho-Dong uses a tissue box as pillow as he rests on one arm to sleep.

After some time, Ho-Dong wakes up to Jae-Hyeon’s call. “We are starting now.”

Kang’s Kitchen’s fourth day continues…

A group of twelve…

The twelve people marching towards Kang’s Kitchen’s front door are eleven fourth to sixth grade students and their 24 year old wrestling (Ssireum) coach. While the kitchen isn’t done preparing for reopening, such as the beaten eggs, Ji-Won sets their seating arrangment: eight people on joined first and second tables; four people on the fifth table on the terrace.

Ji-Won gets anxious when he finds the forks and knives missing from the Hall. “I’ve got them,” Soo-Geun says as he receives freshly cleaned forks and knives from Jae-Hyeon.

Ho-Dong tells Ji-Won to ask the kids about their favourite Ssireum athlete. Their answer, “Kang Ho-Dong!”, prompts Ji-Won to question it. Soo-Geun asks why it is not Lee Man-Gi. (A caption reads “the employees are [Kang Ho-Dong] antis”) Ho-Dong quizzes the kids about his achievements and looks happy when they give the right answer. He laughs. “They’re cute.”

“He may have been Cheonhajangsa title holder,” Soo-Geun says, “but now he’s just ‘jangsa’ (a muscular man).” In the kitchen, Ho-Dong and Na-No laughs.

‘a muscular man’ is a fact.

The group of twelve makes their order. Ji-Won passes it on to the kitchen. “In one shot, six Kang-Ho-Dong-katsus,” he says, which makes Ho-Dong laugh, “three ramyeon and one omurice.”

When Ho-Dong asks the Hall whether other tables are occupied, Soo-geun confirms that currently there is only the Ssireum group. Then new customers arrive. A group of three women take the fourth table. A couple enter the Hall and sit at the third table. It’s now a full house.

The kitchen decides to do ramyeon first. Ho-Dong asks Na-No to wash a particular pot. “But there’s one over there,” Na PD points to the space under the island table. But Ho-Dong like the grip of the other pot better. Na PD relents, takes the prefered pot, and washes it. “I see. You like the grip,” he mumbles. Jae-Hyeon chuckles. Ho-Dong reminds Na-No to work with joyful heart.

Ho-Dong wonders if meeting him will be a memory these students cherish.

Ho-Dong is energised. Na PD remarks that this is the first time he sees donkatsu and two ramyeon being cooked at the same time. But then he sees no donkatsu is being fried. Ho-Dong says, rather incoherently, that the frying pan isn’t ready yet. “Then this one is buried,” Na PD points at a sheet of meat hidden on the breadcrumb tray under a new sheet of meat he’d just put. “I didn’t know it was there.”

Kang’s Kitchen’s Error Log

#35 Double Portion of Kang-katsu

There was a donkatsu on the tray already, covered in breadcrumbs. Na-No added another on top of it.

* This is going to be a recurring thing in episode 5, literally ‘Mistake Journal’, audibly marked by Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

“Wait, wait!” Ho-Dong prevents Na-No from taking out the additional donkatsu, “I’ll save it.” He lights the fire for deep-frying. He picks up a tissue and wipes his sweat.

 

The Hall brings soup to the Ssireum group. Soo-Geun asks for the other customers’ understanding for pushing back their orders. The Ssireum group has placed a huge order.

Ji-Won plans to serve soup to the other customers as well. “I’ll do it,” Soo-Geun says, trying to take the laddle. “This is a bigger laddle.” Ji-Won knows it and insists on doing it. He notices the soup may not be enough. In the kitchen, Jae-Hyeon says there isn’t time to make roux at the moment.

What happened with disappearing soup? Five minutes ago, Soo-Geun switched the soup laddle with a bigger one.

Kang’s Kitchen’s Error Log

#36 Big Laddle Abuse

Soo-Geun used bigger laddle to scoop soup, causing it to decrease faster.

 

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong cooks ramyeon in two pots at once. Once ready, the two ramyeon go to the Ssireum group at the joined tables. The third one goes to the group at the fifth table. They are now waiting for the six donkatsus they have ordered.

Ho-Dong has poured new oil and it hasn’t reached the necessary heat level yet. The news travels past and Soo-Geun is concerned. Na-No bemoans Ho-Dong not turning it on sooner. Ho-Dong goes on and on about their ignorance of his intention and how the camera directors must have captured his true feeling. Soo-Geun reminds Ho-Dong that this is not the time to chat. He should do what he must do as quickly as possible. “At least pretend that you are busy,” Soo-Geun says.

Na-No helps Ho-Dong draw the burried donkatsu, which is then fried and put on plate. It is served to the first Ssireum group, as is the second donkatsu. The third one goes to the second Ssireum group on the terrace.

Ho-Dong expresses hopes that his juniors are enjoying the food. He talks to himself. Behind him, Soo-Geun tells him to speed up. But Ho-Dong continues talking, to Na-No, about having party with his juniors and telling them about Cheonhajangsa. Na-No reminds him to sprinkle the donkatsu, “can’t you do it while talking?”. Soo-Geun too urges him to finish the donkatsu since they are pressed for time. “Talk about Cheonhajangsa later,” Na-No says, “I’ll listen carefully.”

“But my juniors have come,” Ho-Dong says. Even if he’s busy he must make room for them. From the Hall, Ji-Won says, “there’s no room for that!” Ho-Dong stops talking and focuses on deep-frying the next donkatsu.

Ji-Won then informs the kitchen that the kids have eaten one portion of donkatsu. He takes the empty plate. Asked if it was delicious, the kids say yes. The Ssireum group orders another ramyeon.

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong notices the dimisnishing cabbage and asks Soo-Geun if there is more. “No,” Soo-Geun says while washing dishes. Ho-Dong wonders if they should decrease the cabbage portion. Soo-Geun immediately tells him to wait, he will slice more cabbage.

Kang’s Kitchen’s Error Log

#2 #15 #38 There is only one Lee Soo-Geun

There is only one Lee Soo-Geun the Hall Ace, the human dish-washer, the cabbage shredder, all-round miracle worker.

Ho-Dong sees a prepared meat on the tray and asks if he should just fry it. Na-No doesn’t think so. Soo-Geun tells Ho-Dong to make ramyeon while waiting for him to finish shredding cabbages. Just then, Ji-Won tells the kitchen that the Ssireum group has ordered another omurice.

Ji-Won brings the fourth donkatsu to the Ssireum group on the terrace. Since Soo-Geun is helping the kitchen, he does the Hall work alone. He puts side-dish on the customers’ table and gets more sauce. Ho-Dong thanks him for it. While preparing a drink, he complains that there’s no one in the Hall. “Wait until this cabbage is done,” Soo-Geun tells him. With no one to argue, Ji-Won fights with himself or the cutlery and the dishes.

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong thanks Soo-Geun for helping out. He tells Soo-Geun to scream to destress. Soo-Geun scream weakly. “Thank you,” Ho-Dong says.

 

 

While preparing another donkatsu, Ho-Dong talks again about his Ssireum training days and food. But no one is really listening. Na-No asks Ji-Won to confirm if the fourth table customers have got their ramyeon. Ho-Dong laughs by himself while Na-No is marking orders and Soo-Geun getting ready to chop leeks.

All the while, Jae-Hyeon silently cooks omurice. The omurice goes to the fourth table, drawing admiration. “Is this really made here?”

Soo-Geun, returning to the Hall, passes on an order for another donkatsu for the Ssireum group. Ho-Dong asks the Hall for three glasses of iced coffee. “What are you talking about!” Soo-Geun tells him off while washing dishes in the Hall.

Ho-Dong asks everyone to take a look at a donkatsu he’s preparing but Soo-Geun says there isn’t time for it So Ho-Dong just admires it alone and then puts ramyeon into a bowl. He pours sauce over the donkatsu and asks Soo-Geun whether the donkatsu is to go to the Ssireum group. “It is,” Soo-Geun says. Ho-Dong goes out of the kitchen to deliver the donkatsu himself.

At the same time, Soo-Geun tells the kitchen to hurry up with the ramyeon. Na-No responds and passes on the bowl of ramyeon that is sitting on the table. Soo-Geun brings the ramyeon to the Ssireum group outside.

A crew warns Na-No of the ramyeon having no meat cuts. Na-No immediate relays the warning to the hall, shouting. Soo-Geun, who is just about to put the ramyeon on the customers’s table, turns around and returns to the kitchen. Ho-Dong gives it a generous amount of meat cuts. The ramyeon is brought back to the fifth table.

Kang’s Kitchen’s Error Log

#40 The Beautiful U-turn

When Na-No shouted that the ramyeon hadn’t got meat cuts, Soo-Geun made a smooth u-turn just as he was about to put said ramyeon on customer’s table.

Reading the order, Jae-Hyeon comments that the Ssireum kids really eat well. Ho-Dong seems wistful about the kids eating ramyeon, recalling his own experience. In the Hall, the kids enjoy and share the food well.

Ji-Won brings attention to the bill attached to the Ssireum group order. “It’s $180,” he says to Soo-Geun. Soo-Geun thinks it should be more.

Ho-Dong spends time with the kids on the terrace. He gives them lecture on imagining fighting moves in one’s head. He also tell Ji-Won to charge them only for the drinks for he’ll pick up the bill for food. “Why not all? This is disappointing,” Soo-Geun says. Ho-Dpng thinks paying all may hurt their pride. Before they leave, Ho-Dong and the kids cheer.

When other customers settle their bill, Soo-Geun apologises that Ho-Dong can’t pay for their bill. “You are not a gag-man, aren’t you?” He says. The customers smile.

Ho-Dong sends the Ssireum group off. They will go back to training. “That’s going to be hard,” he groans.

 

As table cleaning begins, it’s for Na-No to shine in the dish-washing department. Jae-Hyeon begins cooking to get another batch of soup. Twenty minutes later, the soup, done in silent, is almost ready while Na PD is still washing dishes. Ja-Hyeon pours the soup on the container to be stored in the Hall.

Na-No at the gate of dish-washing hell

New customers arrive and the new soup is served. Soo-Geun take their orders. Ho-Dong is back in the kitchen with another donkatsu —”be delicious,” he says. Jae-Hyeon is back to cooking omurice silently. Soo-Geun brings the donkatsu to customers.

Ho-Dong tells Na PD to bring ramyeon bowls, “they’re all gone.” Na-No gives a weak answer. Ho-Dong asks him to perk up, “don’t make such weak noise.” Na-No laughs.

Ji-Won brings omurice to the fourth table customers. It is soon gone. The father asks his son if they should get another one.

Soo-Geun brings in more customers, a family with three little girls. A family of four now sit at the fourth table.

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong talks to himself again, about him going out to the Hall earlier. It must have been hard for the Hall team. But he thought he had to. (A caption reads, “exhausted by self talk”) Soo-Geun tells him not to bring up new menu from his childhood days for Soo-Geun is not interested. However, they will have new menu.

Kang’s Kitchen’s Error Log

#45 New Menu

Although late in the game, there will be a new menu.

 

Ho-Dong asks everyone whether they would like to dine together or alone. Unanimously, everyone picks dining alone.

Ho-Dong is frying a Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu and Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu together. Ji-Won tells the kitchen that the counter orders two Lee-Soo-Geun-katsus, he and Soo-Geun exchange glances. Na-No gets serious, “Where? How many times?” Ji-Won backs off, “No. Never mind.”

“But you did intend to eat it, didn’t you!” Na PD grills the Hall team. Soo-Geun says he didn’t say anything. Ji-Won says out loud that he’s hungry. Na PD smiles. “If so,” Na-No says, “give us some too.”

But Ho-Dong says he now hates the sight of frying oil. Soo-Geun tells him off for the customers can hear him. Ji-Won returns with more orders. “The second table’s one ramyeon and one omurice,” Na-No tells the cooks. “After that, we’re done.”

Soo-Geun wonders how come another day passes by like this. Ji-Won thinks today is better than yesterday. Soo-Geun agrees for they’ve got room to breathe now. And, with room to breath the Hall team also have room to fight again.

Jae-Hyeon brings the omurice to the customers while Soo-Geun brings the ramyeon.

Ji-Won serves drink to customers on the terrace, the family with three girls. One of the girls asks Mum why there is no entertainer in this restaurant. Mum tells her that the man who had just brought them drink is an entertainer. Mum is a fan of Eun Ji-Won.

In the Hall, Ji-Won entertains a child. He plays peek-a-boo from a distance.

peek-a-boo!

 

Soo-Geun tells the kitchen that all food orders have been met. Ho-Dong welcomes the news thinking they have finished the day. “Everyone, today, you have all worked hard!” Ho-Dong says. Soo-Geun cuts him short for there are still two groups of customers waiting outside. “Wow!” Ho-Dong says.

However, Na-No points out that there is only one Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu left. They still have quite a number of Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu. They try to figure out a way out of this shortage. The kitchen asks the Hall, ie. Soo-Geun, to inform it to customers.

Kang’s Kitchen’s Error Log

#42 This Hall Part-timer takes on all responsibilities

No wonder there. It’s Lee Soo-Geun the miracle worker.

 

Jae-Hyeon brings in the customers, a family with two children. Soo-Geun briefs them about the menu and recommends Lee-Soo-Geun-katsus. The customers order three Lee-Soo-Geun-katsus, an omurice, and drinks. Soo-Geun gives them another Lee-katsu as ‘service’.

Soo-Geun tells the kitchen about the order. They applaud him with adding one Lee-katsu as service. “Thank you, Mr Lee Soo-Geun,” Ho-Dong tells him.

The last group of customers arrive. One customer asks if it’s okay to wear shoes inside for one has a leg in a cast. “Of course, just remember to clean the floor before you leave,” Soo-Geun says jokingly. In the kitchen, Ho-Dong laughs. (A caption reads “Lee Soo-Geun’s number one fan.”)

Jae-Hyeon serves the omurice to the customers. Soo-Geun serves two Lee-katsus, followed by Ho-Dong bringing the other two.

There is only one last order for a Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu and omurice. Soo-Geun and Ji-Won bring them to the last table.

The last customers of the day are leaving. Everyone goes out to the Hall to send them off.

 

As they are relaxing, Soo-Geun notes their day passing by. Ho-Dong is watching a video, probably of his children. Ho-Dong looks at the Hall where everyone gathers. The absence of Min-Ho finally hits home.

A call from Min-Ho comes through Ho-Dong’s phone. Ho-Dong turns on the speaker. He asks about their situation, whether Na PD does the job well. “Today, he is just Na Yeong-Seok the slave, Na-No,” Ho-Dong says. Min-Ho laughs and asks more question, “did he also do the donkatsu coating well?” Na-No did well today.

Ho-Dong tells Min-Ho that he’s been greatly missed today so he’d better hurry to come back to Kang’s Kitchen. Min-Ho also says he’s also been worried and thinking about the restaurant all day. If so, Ho-Dong tells him to board a ship to Jeju after his V app broadcast ends, “there is one late at night. You’ll be here by 5 in the morning.” Min-Ho laughs and says he will fly with the first flight to Jeju tomorrow.

The fourth day of business finally comes to a close. The four members bow to each other, clap, and hug. “You’ve worked hard. Thank you, ” Ho-Dong tells Na-No. Na-No replies and then disappears into the night.

Just the four of them…

 

Jae-Hyeon enjoys a cup of coffee quietly. Ho-Dong and Ji-Won drink together with their arms crossing.

Later in the kitchen, Ji-Won asks what he’s doing there. Ho-Dong tells him about a new item he came up with, called ‘Sam-Kim’, Samgyeobsal Kimbab.

 

This morning, they had breakfast with ramyeon, which Ho-Dong cooked, and kimbab, which Soo-Geun bought. Ho-Dong was quite taken by them. “Kimbab and ramyeon are the best combination,” he said. His remarks drew Na PD’s attention. “Samgeyobsal Kimbab would be good,” Ho-Dong said. Soo-Geun volunteered to do it, “I am good at wrapping Kimbab.”

Thus, a new menu idea is conceived.

 

In the car, on the way to another restaurant for dinner, Jae-Hyeon asks Soo-Geun about wrapping Kimbab. Soo-Geun says he had done it a lot. “Because it’s cheap, the kids’ Mum loves making it.” Ho-Dong too praises Soo-Geun’s wife’s kimbab skill. Soo-Geun will consult his wife on whatever should be included. Soo-Geun is confident with his kimbab.

 

A Night of The Beginning of An End

That night, the meat hammering session feels different for it is the last session. “This feels a little sad,” Ho-Dong says. Soo-Geun and Jae-Hyeon agree. Ji-Won does the hammering more thoroughly. Jae-Hyeon makes a vast sheet of meat. After putting all that they’ve worked on into the precious meat box, the last hammering session ends.

The Quest for Kimbab

cooking, excited, assisting

Soo-Geun gets ready to make kimbab, preparing the ingredients. “Don’t we usually remove the bones in the bacon?” Ji-Won asks. Jae-Hyeon suggest they use scissors to do it. If they do it wrong, it’ll stick out.

Soo-Geun grills the bacons, with Na PD watching and Jae-Hyeon assisting. “What about the seasoning for the rice?” Jae-Hyeon asks. Soo-Geun doesn’t think it necessary.

Soo-Geun’s first try on kimbab doesn’t hit the high notes. The wrapping doesn’t go as expected. It doesn’t taste bad but not exceptional either. Na PD suggests the rice be seasoned ligthly. Jae-Hyeon thinks the meat tastes weak and Na PD agrees with that. “Shall we add two strips of samgyeobsal?” Soo-Geun suggests.

Soo-Geun goes for the second time with the rice seasoned and two strips of bacons. Jae-Hyeon grills the bacons. Ji-Won handles the camera. Soo-Geun arranges the vegetables. Na PD questions whether the order of his arrangement should be different.

a pack of wolves…

Ho-Dong asks for the ends of kimbab later. Na PD, eyeing for the ends as well, suggests certain kind of wrapping to make it pretty. “Then do scissors-rock-paper! The winner gets the ends,” Soo-Geun says, miffed by their barrage of requests and criticism.

The second try fares much better visually. Before it’s wrapped, with two bacons stashed in it, Na PD comments that it is like a double cheeseburger. (A caption reads “kimbab of double patty burger variant”) Most importantly, they finally find the flavour they’re looking for.

Some time later, after Soo-Geun looks up the internet and learns more about kimbab, he goes for another try. And then another try. He tries for a total of 17 rolls of kimbab and finally gets the look that earns praise from everyone. The plating is perfect. Soo-Geun presents it with a theme related to the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Games.

The Kang’s Kitchen’s set menu, the ramyeon and kimbab set, is born.

Sam-Kim by Chef Lee Soo-Geun

The Last Morning Has Come

The temporary maknae Jae-Hyeon is the first to wake up. He goes to the Old Boys’ room and wakes the others politely. Ho-Dong gets up to the sound of Adele’s ‘Hello’.

Some time later, they are almost ready. Jae-Hyeon asks if Min-Ho will come. “He’s already got off the plane?!” Na PD says Min-Ho will go straight to the restaurant. “Then he’ll be the first one there,” Jae-Hyeon says.

(“Correct!”)

At 8 AM, Min-Ho is already at the restaurant. He puts on the red hood and cleans the espresso cups. He then makes coffee for the crews. He enters the empty kitchen, inspects the fridge, peeks into the pots. He finally asks the question. “Why aren’t the hyungs coming?”

The older members take their time slowly to go to work. Today being their last day in Kang’s Kitchen may have contributed to them stalling. “Going to work. We are going to work,” Jae-Hyeon tells himself in the car.

Soo-Geun plays some music and plays DJ with Ho-Dong. They talk about the scenery. Soo-Geun relays the information he heard on radio yesterday. There will be strong wind that prevents people from going to the sea. Ji-Won says the sea level has gone too high.

A series of shots of the beach near Kang’s Kitchen show the sandy white beach in contrast with dark rocks is now submerged.

 

Min-Ho finally sees the car coming into the yard. Soo-Geun is surprised to really find him there early. He really has taken the first flight to Jeju. They greet each other and get inside the restaurant.

Together again…

The Last Preparation

Ho-Dong tells Min-Ho about Na PD working hard covering for him yesterday. Min-Ho has heard about Na PD’s requesting ‘time to be alone’. Jae-Hyeon offers Ho-Dong some chocolates.

They begin preparing for the last day of business. In the kitchen, Jae-Hyeon puts rice in the cooker. Another rice is put in another cooker for kimbab.

Soo-Geun goes shopping to town. He picks Kimbab wraps and fresh vegetables.

In the kitchen, Min-Ho returns to his position as kitchen assistant. Ho-Dong advises him on the art of cabbage shredding. Jae-Hyeon encourages Min-Ho when he looks surprised that his big effort (500 moves) only results in small amount of finely shredded cabbage. Min-Ho soon is taken by the art, trying different techniques and positions.

Soo-Geun returns from shopping with a huge bag. A caption paints it as a home coming of someone who left as cabbage shredder and returned to be in charge of kimbab. He has moved up the ladder.

Soo-Geun goes to prepare kimbab. While chopping carrot, he plays the knife on the board to sound as if he is skilled in knife and draw attention. Ho-Dong takes the bait and comes to check. He too plays some joke with the carrot.

Ji-Won helps by grilling the bacons, seasoning them, and removing the bones. Na PD, observing the ingredients ready, thinks they can be eaten as they are now. “That would be the best way, indeed,” Soo-Geun agrees.

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong, still having carrot sticked in his moutch, prepares onions. Min-Ho, who’s still shredding cabbages, just stares at him.

Soo-Geun rolls the first kimbab perfectly. He cuts it and offers one end to Ji-Won. Ji-Won likes it a lot and hugs Soo-Geun, who pretends crying in relief. Then they get back to business as usual.

The brotherhood of kimbab

Ho-Dong feels the good atmosphere from kimbab making. Soo-Geun comes to the kitchen offering everyone a bite. Everyone likes it.

Ten minutes before opening, Soo-Geun finishes ten rolls of kimbab. The donkatsu’s three-tier coating is ready. Ho-Dong stacks ramyeon bowls under the table for easy reach. Jae-Hyeon collects omurice plates.

In the Hall, Ji-Won cleans the floor and knocks down the Power doll. He cleans the table used in making kimbab. Min-Ho also wipes the same table before Ji-Won returns and wipes it again. He finds the Power doll on the floor again. Ho-Dong picks it up and puts it back on its seat.

Five minutes before opening, Ho-Dong tells everyone that since this is their last day, even before the opening, he already feels sad. Min-Ho, however, looks excited and dances.

Three minutes before opening, Ho-Dong asks if everyone is ready. Soo-Geun asks for more time for he hasn’t finished setting the cutlery on the tables. In the kitchen, Jae-Hyeon and Min-Ho put the kimbab material leftovers into the fridge.

“Shall we start now?” Jae-Hyeon says after the fridge doors close. Kang’s Kitchen’s is finally open for its last day of business.


To be continued to part 2 of episode 5 recap.

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