Peking Restaurant aka The Great Chef is a 1999 movie about a Chinese chef who goes to Korea to meet a chef there who was a childhood friend of his (now deceased) father. I first saw this movie in Beijing where we used to buy bag loads of pirate DVDs whilst drunk and noodles were our favourite pastime.
Like most Asian movies there are ups, there are downs, there’s some semi-slapstick comedy moments typical of Korean movies. There’re heaps of very cute Korean boys and girls Not wanting to give any spoilers but the movie culminates in a quest to make the ultimate Jja Jang Myun, a traditional Korean black bean sauce based noodle dish. (very similar to the Chinese Zha Jiang Mian). Please excuse any spelling errors.
Maybe due to the age/ obscurity of the movie I couldn’t find any links to the movie itself on Youtube (hence the Jja Jang Myun link above) but track it down on Amazon etc. It’s a feel good foodie movie and definitely one for rewatching.
Why are Japanese food movies so good? Just when I’d come to terms with Tampopo, being haunted by dreams of a world where every place and every person has a Penangite mentality, enjoying and perfecting food with their every breath. Where food equals love, caring, unity, and everyone is entitled to a happy stomach. Udon comes along, and….. I’m never gonna be truly happy living in London!
Udon centres around a failing stand-up comedian who leaves Tokyo to return to his home town, Takamatsu, in Kagawa prefecture and to his parent’s Udon shop, to deal with his personal demons. Soon after his arrival he falls into an unexpected career; compiling an Udon column for the local rag (the town has the highest per capita ratio of Udon shops in Japan!!!).
Don’t forget the munchies cos this film will make you ravenous…..
First released in 1985, I saw a glimpse of this classic Japanese movie on tv when I was about 8yo, but was sent to bed because of the ‘rudeness’ of it…. Centring around Tampopo (“Dandelion” in English), a single mother aided by a motley crew to establish the perfect ramen shop, the movie encompasses many intertwining story lines covering all aspects of food from etiquette, to relationships, to sex….
Took me 20 years to track it down and I’ve watched it a million times since. The food, the characters, all are mesmerising.
Just watch it, and have some munch on standby as, like all good food movies, it makes you ravenously hungry…