I've an odd style when it comes to watching Asian drama. It always take a very compelling force for me to start anything since I know with my obsessive nature I will just plow through it at all the detriment of sleep, productivity and sanity. I don't have the same issues with Western shows because those last for seasons so my mind know instinctively to pace myself whereas with the narrative contained arc of one season, Asian show tends to bring out the obsessive compulsive trait in me where I just need to know what the end game is! So despite knowing a lot of dramas, especially Korean ones, I ended up watching a much smaller amount since I just rely on recaps. It always take a lot to get me going when starting a new drama since I need to be in the right emotional head space for whatever I decided to watch (drama watching is serious business, didn't you know?) so a lot of the time I end up re-watching series or bits and pieces of different dramas that I've watched and loved to distraction.
One of the most often re-watched dramas for me is Shinya Shokudo (Late Night Diner)- both seasons. I call this my comfort food drama because its less than 30 mins ep allow me just enough time to unwind and not so time consuming that I end up wasting another hour or so in front of the computer. And most appropriately, my favorite comfort food drama is about food.
I love the simple set up of this drama which is 30 mins vignettes of the people who visit this diner in Tokyo, that's only opened from 12am to 7am. The place is run by a man with scar on his face who's known as "Master". He only have 4 items on his menu, 3 of which are alcohol (but he will only allow you the maximum of 3 servings of alcohol in his establishment), but he will make you whatever you wish as long as he's able to. And he will make it with exquisite skill. The food styling in the show is spectacular! I'm not sure how the drama can make a bowl of steaming white rice with a dab of butter on it to be so mouth watering that I always make sure to be eating something while watching, otherwise it's a lesson in minor torture. Each episode is centered around one dish that has significant meaning to whichever patron that wanders into this tiny place. With its odd hours, the diner is meant to attract lost souls, those who found themselves just a bit bereft despite the opulence and vivacity of the city around them. Some of the stories are sweet (shy lovers who have their meet cute over a plate of egg sandwiches), some of the stories are sad (that plate of red octopus shaped sausage for the cancer stricken woman who's loved by both friends), and others are comical (those three single women and their rice topping choices!), but all of them tug at the heart string because what this show does so well is subtly highlighting the goodness in people and the importance of human connection. We all need a space of our own but we also need to be reassured of the fact that despite how dark our thoughts sometimes take us, no one is truly alone.
I don't recommend this drama for everyone because it takes a specific type of personality for this drama to appeal to but if you like quite unassuming series with subtle messages about humanity, then definitely take a bite out of this one!