[PICK] Food K-Shows That Have Gone Viral Overseas

Edited by Hwang Hong Sun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

A reality show selling food in overseas satisfies both the fun of traveling and cooking. Common food in Korea stimulates the appetite as a delicacy for foreigners, and exotic scenery stimulates the viewers’ travel instincts. The cast broke away from their usual celebrity-images and showcased a whole new charm as they work hard as a novice kitchen staff. These days, when it’s hard to go abroad due to coronavirus pandemic, why don’t we watch these Korean Variety shows again and go on an overseas trip with delicious food?


Infinite Challenge, Parasitic Houseguest (MBC)

Credit: MBC

In 2009, the special episodes of “Parasitic Houseguest” that features the cast selling their own food at Korean restaurants in New York were aired. Trial and error in the process of learning and making Korean food, such as rice balls, kimchi pancakes, and bibimbap, drew laughter. Customers who visited the restaurant decided on the value of the food with money, providing tension as teams competed to be the final winner.


Youn’s Kitchen (tvN)

Credit: tvN

It is producer Na Young Suk’s entertainment show, which depicts actor Yoon Yeo Jung running a small Korean restaurant overseas. Season 1 took place in Bali, and season 2 took place in Garachico, Spain. The show was evaluated as a combination of the merits of Three Meals a Day and Grandpas Over Flowers. Yoon Yeo Jung acted as the main chef, and Shin Goo, Lee Seo Jin, and Jung Yoo Mi will take on various roles at the restaurant, such as a server, cashier, kitchen assistant, and barista. In season 2, Park Seo Joon joined the team, making the composition of the cast even more colorful. The nature of the show does not have a grand goal of promoting Korean food overseas, but rather gives simple happiness in eating delicious food and resting comfortably at a local restaurant. It was scheduled to film season 3 this year, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the production was postponed.


Olive Pocha (Olive)

Credit: Olive

It is an entertainment show that tells the story of running a Korean-style pocha (carriage that sells food) at a famous tourist attractions in Europe. Park Joong Hoon, Ahn Jung Hwan, Shin Se Kyung, Lee Yi Kyung, Sam Okyere, and Yoon Bomi appeared and were in charge of cooking and serving. The food they sold were mostly simple snacks, including kimchi, tteokbokki (spicy rice cake), and egg rolls. World-renowned French novelist Bernard Werber made headlines when he visited the pocha after receiving SNS messages from Shin Se Kyung.


Boarding House in Spain (tvN)

Credit: tvN

Cha Seung Won and Yoo Hae Jin, who can tell everything by looking at each other’s face, left the fishing village and headed for Spain. The show features the cast running an Albergue (a hostel-like lodging) on Camino de Santiago. While other shows choose to aggressively attract customers by renting restaurants or food trucks at the place, Boarding House in Spain is quite unique in that it focuses on accommodation and waits for people to visit.


4 Wheeled Restaurant (tvN)

Credit: tvN

It is a show that tells the process of a star chef and celebrities running a food truck together overseas. Instead of a fixed location, they drive the food truck around to visit the “hot places” and target locals’ tastes with different menus every time. Starting with Thailand in season 1, the show visited China in season 2, the US, in season 3 with the curiosity about whether Korean food will satisfy the locals. In season 2, chef Lee Yeon Bok made headlines with his reverse idea of selling Korean-style Chinese dishes in mainland China. Season 4 is scheduled to air on May 19 after changing its concept to 4 Wheeled Restaurant Korea under the theme of delivering food in Korea after being unable to travel aboard due to the influence of COVID-19.

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