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“Let’s Eat” Drama Creates Appetizing Dining Trend Among Singles

BY Joan MacDonald | Feb 14, 2014 10:12 AM EST

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The comedy "Let's Eat" not only focuses on food but it has inspired an interesting new eating-out dining trend in Korea.

For 11 weeks now, the romantic comedy, which stars Lee Soo Kyung and Yoon Doo Joon from BEAST, has used delicious dishes to focus on issues facing young adults in Korea. The comedy's main character is a 33-year-old woman who relieves stress by browsing on the "Let's Eat" food blog.

She wants to go out and sample appealing dishes but like many singles in Korea, is reluctant to dine alone. Many restaurants in Korea don't even serve single portions.

So she invites others to dine with her and in the process makes new friends. These singles become good friends who comfort and encourage each other.

Perhaps because young singles can so relate to this subject, "Let's Eat" is now one of the nation's two top cable shows among 20 to 49-year-olds.

But it's not just the comedy's characters that make friends this way. It's affecting the way young singles are dining out in the real world.  The show has inspired a Muk Bang dining trend in Korea. Viewers who enjoy the scenes of the characters enjoying delicious meals hunt down the foods in real life.

Each episode of "Let's Eat" highlights a traditional Korean favorite such as Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi stew), Jokbal (glazed pig's feet), Tteokbokki (hot and spicy rice cakes), and Mandoo (Korean dumpling. In an upcoming episode, Gan-jang Ge-jang (crab marinated in soy sauce) will be featured too.

 After each episode of "Let's Eat," the foods highlighted in a particular show rank as one of the top-searched keywords on Korean Internet portals. There have also been a flood of requests from viewers seeking the location of restaurants shown in the drama, as well as high interest from fans abroad visiting the show's official website to view eating scene clips.

To further engage with fans, CJ E&M organized the "Social Dining" program where strangers can meet on the show's official webpage and arrange to explore restaurants as a group and share thoughts about the drama.

"What makes Let's Eat work is that it draws on themes of modern isolation and loneliness, juxtaposed with the traditional as symbolized by delicious Korean foods, that a younger generation of viewers can really connect and relate to," said Park Jun Hwa, the show's chief producer. "At CJ E&M, we are actively experimenting and pursuing creative new approaches for our programs which are not only winning a wide following, but also redefining the Korean drama genre."

"Let's Eat" airs Thursdays on tvN.

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