K-dramas can be pretty sweet, especially when they focus on wholesome stories like a couple falling in love, or in this case, a bakery. It’s no surprise that desserts have found their way into the storylines of popular K-dramas, considering the popularity of sweets among Koreans. The cherry on top? Not only do Koreans love international desserts like macarons, churros, crème brûlée, and cake; but South Korea has some delicious and even aesthetically pleasing desserts of their own, including bungeoppang (붕어빵), hotteok (호떡), and songpyeon (송편). So while you watch these K-dramas, you may recognize some of your own favourite tasty desserts, as well as discover some new ones to try next time you visit a Korean bakery.
Here are five K-dramas that will either satisfy your sweet tooth or cause some serious sugar cravings!
Bread, Love and Dreams (제빵왕 김탁구)
Also known as King of Baking, Kim Tak-goo and The Baker King
Considered to be one of the highest rated K-dramas ever, this 2010 drama takes place in the 1970s-1990s as it follows the life of Kim Tak-goo (Your Honor’s Yoon Shi-yoon), a young man who aspires to become the “best baker in Korea.” Tak-goo is born to the mistress of the chairman of Geosung Foods Enterprise. The chairman’s wife is salty rather than sweet as she shuns Tak-goo and his mother and wants his younger half-brother to take over the company although the chairman wants Tak-goo to run the business. Family conflict and sibling rivalry is at the heart of this drama.
Panda and Hedgehog (판다양과 고슴도치)
Also known as Ms. Panda and Mr. Hedgehog and Panda and Porcupine
Two contrasting personalities come together by the love of baking. In this 2012 drama, Moon Embracing the Sun’s Yoon Seung-ah makes her TV debut as Pan Da Yang. As cute, “sweet and lovable as her name suggests,” she owns a small bakery with the appropriate title of Panda Café. Her new hire, the skilled patissier, Ko Seung Ji (Super Junior’s Lee Donghae, has a name that sounds an awful lot like “hedgehog” (고슴도치), which resembles his “prickly personality.” Though the two clash, they join forces to compete against the common foe of a bakery franchise… which also happens to be owned by Panda’s first love.
My Name Is Kim Sam Soon (내 이름은 김삼순)
Also known as My Lovely Sam Soon.
Based on the web novel of the same name, this hit romantic-dramedy was produced for Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation in 2005, becoming one of the highest rated K-dramas ever. I think many young women will find it easy to relate to the title character! The drama was marketed as the Korean version of Bridget Jones’s Diary. Kim Sun-a (Should We Kiss First?) even gained fifteen pounds for the title role, similar to how Renée Zellweger gained twenty-five pounds to portray Bridget.
Though Sam Soon may come across confident through being blunt and loud, she is attempting to overcome her insecurities due to her weight and old-fashioned name. To add onto it, she ends up publicly humiliated while her cheating boyfriend dumps her on Christmas Eve and she loses her job. She continues to persevere despite everything seemingly being against her. Restauranter Hyun Jin-heon (Memories of the Alhambra’s Hyun Bin) ends up hiring her to be the pastry chef of his new fancy French restaurant. Although he sees her potential, the two immediately form a love-hate relationship.
The Legendary Witch (전설의 마녀)
Also known as 4 Legendary Witches, Legendary Witch, and The Legend of the Witch
The bond of sisterhood is pretty sweet. As Niranjan Roychowdhury says, “Having nice friends in life is just like having sweets after a delicious meal. As without sweets, the meal is incomplete, so is life without true friends.” In this 2014 drama, friendship and pastries are what keep four women going after they meet in a women’s prison. Moon Soo In (Marry Me Now’s Han Ji Hye), Shim Bok Nyeo (My Mister’s Go Doo Shim), Son Poong Geum (Radio Romance’s Oh Hyun Kyung) and Seo Mi Oh (Rich Man’s Ha Yun Soo) are eventually discharged and decide to start their new lives from scratch by making some delicious sweets and opening their own bakery together. Unfortunately, things turn sour due to bitter competition by Shinhwa Bakery.
Choco Bank (초코뱅크)
Chocolate isn’t the only snack featured in this drama, it also stars Kai of EXO in his acting debut! This 2016 web series focuses on the story of two young adults who struggle when entering the workforce. It explores the “financial management of start up businesses.” Kim Eun-haeng’s (EXO’s Kai a.k.a. Kim Jong-in) father gave him a name meaning “bank” to assure he would have a lucky life, but initially, it didn’t seem like it was going off to a great start as he was unemployed for five years. He ends up meeting Ha Cho-co (Hello, My Twenties!’s Park Eun-bin), and the two learn as they go when he starts working at her new sweets shop. All together, this drama ends up with a runtime of a short film with only six short episodes. Watching it will be a piece of cake!
What is your favourite bakery-themed K-drama? Which Korean dessert would you like to try? Let us know in the comments below!
If you would like to try more food-themed K-dramas, check out Drama in the Kitchen! Restaurant-Themed K-dramas Served À La Carte and Essential K-dramas for the Food Lover in All of Us!
Cover Image: Kai (EXO) & Park Eun-bin in Choco Bank (Cheil Worldwide Inc.)
Written by Tiffany Simms