...when the screen takes over...

Kang’s Kitchen, Fourth Episode (Part 1)

Which is better? The Kitchen or The Hall? Min-Ho shall decide for himself. Either way, the third day proves as difficult as ever.

Kang’s Kitchen’s third day starts without cooked rice. All tables are occupied and all orders require rice.

 

Kang’s Kitchen’s Third Day Continues…

The Kitchen gets donkatsu orders out first. As usual, Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu’s size shocks customers. Ji-Won explains the donkatsu portion to ordering customers. On the other hand, Soo-Geun keeps the customers’ attention away from the lack of rice.

Jae-Hyeon, fighting!

Other ingredients are ready, eggs put in cups and side-dish on bowls. With rice spoon in hand, Jae-Hyeon wanders around the kitchen listlessly. He stands next to rice cooker with one hand on its handle. Once the ‘rice-is-done’ sound is heard, he opens the lid and scoops two portions of rice into the frying pan. He goes directly to the stove, lights the fire, and cooks at once.

Jae-Hyeon asks Min-Ho to get rice for donkatsu orders, which becomes Min-Ho’s tenth mission. Rice finally appears in the Hall as Soo-Geun delivers it to customers. Ji-Won gets their drinks ready.

Jae-Hyeon finishes the first omurice, which Soo-Ge brings to the third table customers. “Chef Ahn Jae-Hyeon made it.” The second omurice goes to the fifth table on the terrace. Jae-Hyeon is cooking the third one already.

Soo-Geun asks the third table customers about the omurice. They like it. He regales them with stories about their two chefs and how he almost became the third. Even though his constitution is that of service, Soo-Geun gets confused with orders. He confuses the third omurice for the second table when it’s meant for the first table, the couple with twin babies.

Ji-Won tells Soo-Geun to serve cutlery as well. (“Spoon, the only thing he gets right…”) He sighs in frustration as he feels tired correcting Soo-Geun’s mistakes. While Soo-Geun is talking to customers, fixing their plate’s position and what-not, Ji-Won has to fetch the side-dish or other complementary things.

It may look like he is all talk and talks too much but Soo-Geun works hard and cares about details. He takes care of the customers’ shoes, makes sure they are organised and face outwards.

 

 

In the kitchen, Min-Ho checks the order board. He remarks that ramyeon orders are piling up. The stove area is crowded with Jae-Hyeon cooking omelette and Ho-Dong boiling and deep-frying. Soo-Geun tells Ho-Dong that his ramyeon has been a hit. Ho-Dong is about to say something but then thanks Soo-Geun for the praise. He asks about customers’ reaction, which is the more important. The customers give good feedback, including for the donkatsus. “Of course,” Soo-Geun says, “otherwise we wouldn’t serve it.” Reactions to their ramyeon vary from hearty slurping and appreciative noises.

Most food for the first batch orders have gone out. Ho-Dong tells Min-Ho and Jae-Hyeon that they have 45 servings of donkatsu sauce. He asks them to use it wisely even if there is more than enough.

However, Jae-Hyeon thinks it may not be enough and is about to suggest Ho-Dong makes more after he’s done with ramyeon orders. Ho-Dong brushes his worries off. He doesn’t pursue the argument further as Ho-Dong shows no sign of listening.

Ho-Dong cleans the working board and notices the condiments and ingredients neatly cut and stored. He likes it. “Did you do this?” He asks Jae-Hyeon. Jae-Hyeon denies it. “Yes, you did!” Ho-Dong says. Jae-Hyeon says it was Soo-Geun’s doing. Ho-Dong thinks it’s Jae-Hyeon because they are evenly cut. Jae-Hyeon insists it wasn’t him. So, let’s call the whole thing off…

Lee Soo-Geun, who looks exactly like Jae-Hyeon

 

In the Hall, Soo-Geun and Ji-Won observe the first table customers, a couple with two twin babies, eating with one hand as the other is holding a baby. Mum is particularly experiencing difficulty in this arrangement. Soo-Geun offers to take the baby. With both hands free, Mum eats comfortably and even feeds Dad.

Soo-Geun compliments the baby girl, the younger of the twins, for being calm. It’s Mum who seems to worry her baby girl would ‘misbehave’. Mum wipes her drool. Soo-Geun assures Mum that he doesn’t mind. Mum puts a napkin on Soo-Geun’s shoulder in case her baby girl spits.

Soo-Geun brings the baby girl to the kitchen to meet ‘Uncle Kang Ho-Dong’. Ho-Dong makes faces and baby-talk to entertain her (the caption reads “my first time suffering”). Min-So is surprised that she’s one of twins. Ho-Dong and Min-Ho greet her in hip-hop style. “You shock her,” Soo-Geun takes the baby away.

I prefer ballad…

Holding the baby, Soo-Geun asks customers if any of their orders is left out. The baby’s father informs him that a ramyeon hasn’t come out. The kitchen immediately cooks one.

Considering the difficulty of enjoying ramyeon while holding babies, Soo-Geun suggests Ji-Won takes the older twin. Ji-Won says no as he doesn’t know how to hold a baby. Soo-Geun tells him to give it a try. The twins’ family finally get their ramyeon. Again, Soo-Geun tells Ji-Won to get the older twin. “How should I do it?” Ji-Won relents but looks worried. Soo-Geun shows Ji-Won as he hold the younger twin.

Ji-Won takes the older twin, carefully positions her in his arms with the father’s help. “Like this?” he wonders. Once, he holds the baby comfortably, he lets on a nervous smile. Ji-Won takes the older twin behind the counter, “I feel like I’m holding a doll,” and sits down carefully.

Kang’s Kitchen’s baby-sitters

The parent enjoy their ramyeon and like it. The father thinks the deep-fried cuts taste like sam-gyeob-sal although he won’t eat much of the soup. The mother will finish it.

Ji-Won takes the baby outside for a moment. But the sun is strong so he goes under the shade while talking to her about it. (A caption reads “perfect communication with the baby.”) Inside, Soo-Geun tells the parent that, later, the baby can see on TV how the uncle hugs her. He must live until that day comes. She may not be able to see ‘Uncle Ho-Dong’ by then.

‘He will live to the very end’

(A shot of Ho-Dong hiding at a kitchen corner looking weary and wary intrudes.)

Babysitting proves relaxing and provides leisure for the Hall team as they take care to not bother the babies. Customers even do their own calculation as they pay for the bill. But the twins and their parent finally leave, followed by the rest of the customers. Soon, the Hall is empty.

 

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong is pleased by their smooth sailing so far and makes fist bumps with Jae-Hyeon and Min-Ho. “Is it so easy?” Min-Ho asks from the dish-washing corner. Ho-Dong says not that kind of relaxed. Min-Ho asks if the kitchen has always been this way (a caption reads, “the former Hall person thinks the kitchen is easy”). It is today, says Jae-Hyeon. Ho-Dong explains that if they had run the kitchen like yesterday, the new menu addition, ie. ramyeon, wouldm’t have worked. In short, today, they have room to breathe.

“Looks like you are in leisure,” Ji-Won assesses the kitchen. Ho-Dong laughs. “Yes, at the moment,” Min-Ho says.

Although after three hours, when Soo-Geun asks Min-Ho which is better, the hall or the kitchen, he will declare that he dislikes both, with passion. Soo-Geun too seems to have a difficult time in the Hall that Ho-Dong will remind him to play ‘nice’ today.

(A caption reads ‘the second half of the third day of business: Watch Your Mouth’)

 

Min-Ho’s career in the field of (extreme) dish-washing begins. Soo-Geun brings in dirty dishes, and then some more. Jae-Hyeon, who sees the pile that Min-Ho has to do, helps him at the adjacent sink. Min-Ho says the bulk of dirty dishes is frightening.

Outside, a frightening number of customers arrive. The Hall is immediately filled, Soo-Geun and Ji-Won busy taking orders. The kitchen gets orders for three tables at once.

The kitchen gets busy. Ho-Dong makes ramyeon, Jae-Hyeon cooks omurice, and Min-Ho washes the dishes. Jae-Hyeon makes omelette, Ho-Dong fries the donkatsu, and Min-Ho, who still washes the dishes, earns the title ‘Song-dish-washer’*.

Level up to ‘Song-dish-washer’

* ‘송거지’ (Song-keoji), a play on the words ‘washing dishes’, ‘설거지’ (seolkeoji), just as ‘Song-finger’ 송가락 (Song-karak) is on ‘finger’ 손가락 (Sonkarak).

Once he finishes dish-washing, Min-Ho changes to new pair of disposable gloves and helps preparing donkatsus. Ho-Dong watches him closely as he dips the sheet of meat into eggs and then coats it with breadcrumbs. Then Ho-Dong whispers, “if you’ve got time, tear some ramyeon packs.” It’s Min-Ho’s twelfth mission (out of a hundred): tearing ramyeon packs.

Ramyeon is done, so are Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu, Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu, and omurice but not so with dish-washing. Min-Ho returns to the corner, washing dishes again. Another round of ramyeon is done, so is a donkatsu, followed by a sauce refilling by Min-Ho. When Jae-Hyeon scoops the sauce for another omurice, he notices its level of depletion. “Hyung, it looks like you should make more sauce.”

Ho-Dong is surprised. An hour and a half ago, he mentioned that the amount of sauce had taken extra cases into account. It should have been more than enough. Yet it isn’t. He proclaims that this is nerve-wracking. Perhaps, he is reminded of the soup debacle (in episode 2). “Jae-Hyeon, I am truly terrified.” So Jae-Hyeon will do the roux. Ho-Dong is visibly relieved and braces himself. A round of “fighting!” is heard.

The customers keep coming. There are already customers waiting outside. Soo-Geun brings three women to the fifth table on the terrace. They order donkatsu and omurice, which require donkatsu sauce. Soo-Geun checks the kitchen and makes sure that they are comfortable and relaxed. Ji-Won tells him that the kitchen is so relaxed today even though orders are sticking on the board.

Ji-Won hurries the kitchen to get donkatsu. Soo-Geun also asks the kitchen to get donkatsu out first. Ho-Dong announces that the kitchen will start with ramyeon.

Pressured, Ho-Dong makes donkatsu sauce quickly. Min-Ho assists him. Long story short, they finally have donkatsu sauce. All the while, orders for donkatsu pile up.

A donkatsu, of which shape Ho-Dong thinks looks like Pikachu, is finally served to the fifth table. The three women immediately cut it to pieces.

 

The Hall will face more customers. Soo-Geun insists that he is not tired and tells Ji-Won off for nagging. In the kitchen, Jae-Hyeon asks Min-Ho which is more tiring between the kitchen and the Hall. At this moment, Min-Ho thinks the Hall is more tiring. (A caption reads ‘he doesn’t know yet that this is hell’)

how ramyeon order keeps the fire of dish-washing hell alive

After preparing donkatsu to fry, Min-Ho changes disposable gloves again to wash dishes. Soo-Geun comes bringing dishes, “I’m sorry, Min-Ho, you’ve been working so hard.” Ho-Dong needs more Ramyeon bowls, prompting Min-Ho to prioritise them. But a serving of ramyeon requires not just a bowl. Customers also want smaller plates and chopsticks for everyone at the table to enjoy it. Ramyeon orders multiply the bulk of dishes to wash.

Jae-Hyeon, who’s helping with the dish-washing, asks again: the Hall or the kitchen. Min-Ho seems to think harder now to answer. He did have a very difficult day in the Hall yesterday.

Today, the Hall is still as hard and tiring. The number of cups and cutlery to wash is no joke. New customers keep coming in. Min-Ho asks the Hall to slow down but they cannot. People are waiting outside and many have been waiting for too long. A group of four order a lot of food since they are tired and hungry from waiting. “This is the first time I’ve got such an order,” Soo-Geun says.

Soo-Geun relays the order and explains the order of food to serve, which should go first. Ho-Dong is just confused.

‘youknowhatimsaying?’, ‘huh?’

Ho-Dong just goes through it while wondering if this is dream or fantasy. A series of caption urge those who dream of starting a business to follow through. Look at Kang’s Kitchen. It is a variety that no one dreams about and is deprived of the will to start.

In the kitchen, the cycle repeats. Jae-Hyeon cooks omurice, Ho-Dong fries donkatsu, and Min-Ho washes dishes. At one cycle, Jae-Hyeon’s hands begin to tremble. In the Hall, Soo-Geun begins to feel hungry.

Min-Ho takes a dirty plate which has leftover donkatsu. He asks Jae-Hyeon if it’s edible and whether he can eat it. “Sure!” Jae-Hyeon says, “Let’s eat it together.” Min-Ho takes a part of the leftover, bites one end and feeds Jae-Hyeon the other end.

Feast on the leftovers

 

Perhaps the hunger affects Soo-Geun’s performance that he’s getting sloppier. He serves a bowl of ramyeon but forgets to give chopsticks and side dish. Ji-Won has to remind him again and again. Hearing their tense voices, Ho-Dong reminds them to not fight and to smile. “Happy! Happy!” Ho-Dong says while forcing himself to smile.

Talking to Ji-Won, Na PD (voice only) wonders what happens to Soo-Geun’s resolve to take control of the Hall. It’s the fifth time Soo-Geun forgets to bring chopsticks for the ramyeon order. Ji-Won understands Soo-Geun must be tired. He advises Soo-Geun to bring ramyeon on a tray (along with chopsticks). Soo-Geun thinks the headquarter (Na PD) interferes too much. Ji-Won is sure Soo-Geun will be fired. Then, he fixes the microphone on Soo-Geun.

Soo-Geun returns to speaking to customers. (A caption read, “many thanks for your many words”) He is a valuable team member (a very very short scene of Soo-Geun arranging shoes).

 

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong is preparing the 14th bowl of ramyeon. “After this one, you will need to do just one more,” Min-Ho tells him. Ho-Dong says that he finally feels hate for ramyeon. He had never loathed the sight of ramyeon all his life but now he does.

Jae-Hyeon reminds Ho-Dong that the moment he hates ramyeon, it will be tasteless. Ho-Dong immediately changes his tune as he puts cabbage into the pot cheerfully. “Oh lovely!” He praises it. (Hitting back, a caption reads ‘Huh! Tsch!’) Chef Baek has taught them that if a person hates the food he makes, it will lose its flavour.

“I’m sorry, ramyeon, for hating you for a moment,” Ho-Dong says to the ramyeon on the pot and then argues with it. “Were you in my shoes, would you have liked it?” (A caption reads ‘I ♥ Lee Kyeong-Gyu’) Ho-Dong takes a moment away and tells himself to stop hating ramyeon. “What sin could ramyeon possibly commit?!”

Ho-Dong tells everyone to hang on. After work, he will make them a delicious ramyeon. He raps only two lines of nonsense but then stops as Soo-Geun reminds him that they have guests. (‘Boss, control yourself!’) Ho-Dong gives the Hall an annoyed stare.

 

 

Soo-Geun asks how Ho-Dong feels and he confides he has lost the spirit. “How much?” Min-Ho asks. An invisible crew also asks, “around half?” Ho-Dong, leaning towards the crew, goes on about some dramatic measures, which shock Jae-Hyeon and Min-Ho. Ho-Dong immediately backs away and calms everyone down. He wasn’t talking about whatever they thought. “Sorry for shocking you,” He says.

Min-Ho tries to clarify. After a moment of silence, Ho-Dong says that it’s because they’ve been receiving a lot of undeserved love. From the Hall, Ji-Won shouts, “Hyung, let’s do ‘New Journey To The West’ only!” Soo-Geun also chimes in, agreeing with Ji-Won. (‘Don’t do spin-offs, let’s just do ‘New Journey To The West’.’)

(A caption reads ‘please everyone, watch your mouth!’)

Min-Ho gets back to washing dishes. Ho-Dong asks him to confirm the last ramyeon order. He is tired so Jae-Hyeon gives him chocolates.

 

In the Hall, Ji-Won gets order for four iced americanos. He makes the coffee in autopilot mode that he is then surprised when he realises he has made three. This has turned into a coffee hell.

In the kitchen, Ho-Dong wonders what to do next. Min-Ho tells him he needs to do a Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu. But, there is a new customer so they’ll get another order. “More customers?!” Ho-Dong stammers. Jae-Hyeon finds him funny, like the staccato sound of heart monitor increasing in speed in an emergency. Min-Ho also remarks that usually, businesses welcome customers. Here, it’s another story because of the more customers you get the harder you must work.

In the Hall, Ji-Won begins to feel bone-deep fatigue. Soo-Geun thinks it’s because they don’t drink enough water. Ho-Dong reminds everyone to keep up the quality of service and shouts encouragement. Today, Kang’s Kitchen serves customers continuously for five hours.

Eat, young one!

Asked by a customer about their show, Soo-Geun says it’s been fun in sarcastic tone. “It’s so much fun, I feel like dying.” Ho-Dong chants “be happy, just be happy” as if he self-hypnotises or battles himself. Still smiling after five hours of washing dishes, Min-Ho lets out a sigh and says he wants to eat. Ja-Hyeon appears with a bowl of omurice and feeds him behind Ho-Dong, who keeps talking to himself. “Of course, you should eat.” Ho-Dong quietly repeats the younger member’s plea to eat and looks subdued.

From the Hall, Soo-Geun asks Min-Ho the Hall-vs-Kitchen question. This time, Min-Ho says both are hard. Soo-Geun says that the Hall has no moment to spare. “It’s the same in the kitchen,” Min-Ho says. With that, the question of Hall-vs-Kitchen has been resolved.

Ho-Dong thinks doing work is about control. Jae-Hyeon thinks everyone has a hard time but there would be one who gets it harder. He agrees with Min-Ho on washing dishes. He helps with it and tells Min-Ho to go out for a moment. “Go get some air.” So Min-Ho gets out and abandons himself on the porch by the Kang’s Kitchen’s signboard.

wasted…

An announcement reads “today, Kang’s Kitchen sold 16 servings of Kang-Ho-Dong-katsu, 5 servings of Lee-Soo-Geun-katsu, 20 servings of ramyeon, 22 cups of Iced coffee, 8 cups of Vienna Coffee, and 22 glasses of other drinks. We recorded the best sales today, which will never be surpassed.”

All the while, the background music reaches its conclusion — it’s a slow tempo piano rendition of ‘Candy Candy’ opening theme.

 

The last customer of the day finally leave. “Let’s wrap up,” Ho-Dong shouts even if they have to do it slowly. “Yes, my body hurts all over,” Ji-Won says. He tidies the coffee corner and, in the process, hurts a camera. “I am so sorry,” he says to the camera.

“It’s good to go out for a moment, right?” Jae-Hyeon says to Min-Ho. Min-Ho marvels at how the three-minute break makes him relaxed. He thinks he should have done it earlier, right on the first half. They should have a break time.

The ‘closed’ sign is put at 5:11 PM. The third day of business has come to a close. “You’ve worked hard!”

Ho-Dong prepares 3 packs of ramyeon. He’ll use the leftover ingredients. He adds three eggs and two more, and throws a lot of fried meat cuts. He brings the large pan to the hall.

Ho-Dong calls everyone to eat first, especially their youngest. Ho-Dong tells Ji-Won that their youngest has got the hardest day today, doing the dishes and all. Ji-Won is better be good to Min-Ho. Ji-Won compliments Min-Ho for the hard work.

While enjoying ramyeon, they talk about various things. Ji-Won remarks on the built of the restaurant which must be hard to maintain for the winter. He also asks Soo-Geun about the Hall work, which must have been difficult. Jae-Hyeon asks if he can do the Hall at least once. Ji-Won forbids him from leaving the kitchen since he has to make omurice. Soo-Geun remarks that specialised position are difficult to replace, unlike his and Min-Ho’s. It’s hard work if you don’t have skills.

Ji-Won finds them like this, eating ramyeon on the floor together, relaxing. Na PD (voice-only) tells them that he was going to treat them with samgyeobsal, considering how hard they’ve worked. But, since they look so happy with ramyeon, he cancels it. Jae-Hyeon tells him off for telling them about it and so late. “Then give it to each one of them as bonus,” Ho-Dong says. Ji-Won applauds.

After hours blues

Soo-Geun asks if tonight they won’t do another future broadcast. Ho-Dong confirms they won’t do it. “Nice!” Min-Ho says.

Everyone rests after the meal. Soo-Geun tells the crew they have come to a conclusion today. “We’ll work hard in ‘New Journey To The West’.” Ho-Dong laughs while lying down on the floor. Ji-Won agrees. “Please, just send us to Vietnam,” Min-Ho promises to do well.

After some time, Ho-Dong tells Min-Ho to come on the floor. He massages Min-Ho’s shoulders. Min-Ho finds it relaxing yet painful and lets out little screams. “This is the future fantasy,” Ho-Dong says. He ends the massage with a body stretch. Sound of crackling bones is heard.

 

In the car, Jae-Hyeon shows Ji-Won the blisters on his thumb. Min-Ho thinks it’s because Jae-Hyeon has been handling frying pan constantly for three days now. Ho-Dong and Soo-Geun finally get in the car. On the way, they greet a neighbour. Soo-Geun asks her to have a meal at Kang’s Kitchen at least once.

As they ride along the coastline, the sight of the nightfall feels nice. Soo-Geun mentions how people usually call from Jeju and tell that they eat a lot and see beautiful sights. This is definitely not their case. Soo-Geun sings a song with amendment to the lyrics to reflect their reality.

“Where does this road lead to? I know. This leads to a bulk of meat… (followed by a staccato of hammering sound)”

‘You have worked so hard today!’


To be continued to part 2 of episode 4 recap.

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