Chocolate (2019-2020) – K-Drama review

Nowadays with binge watch being so common the times I get to watch a drama with it’s live broadcast are rare. But this drama happens to be one of them. The drama finished airing yesterday and my posts are ready. If you want an episode summary and commentary from me which obviously has spoilers click here. For just a spoiler free review continue reading this post!

Country of origin : South Korea

Language : Korean

Directed by : Lee Hyung Min

Written by : Lee Kyung Hee

Starring : Yoon Kye Sang, Ha Ji Won, Jang Seung Jo, Teo Yoo, Min Jin Woong

Released : JTBC , NETFLIX

Broadcast period : 29 November 2019 – 18 January 2020

Number of seasons : 1

Number of episodes : 16

Status : Completed

Genre : Romantic melodrama

The story starts many years ago in a coastal city of Wando. A young Lee Kang sees a hungry and moneyless Cha Young and gives her food. Seeing her cry at how delicious it is, he tells her she can come any time and that he will make her chocolate truffles. On reaching home, Cha Young’s mother has a fight with her father and leaves Wando with Cha Young crying for the truffles, as an eager Kang waits for her.

As he waits, it’s his paternal grandmother, chairwoman of Geosung group who shows up. She wants Kang and his mother to come to Seoul as Kang is also a legitimate heir. His uncle and their son Jun are furious at this, and Kang and Jun have a fight injuring each other. Eventually Kang decides to go to Seoul with his mother.


Years later Kang is an adult and a neurosurgeon who is still at competing terms with Jun who is also a fellow neurosurgeon.

Cha Young meanwhile grows up to be a chef, and a good one at that. The premise of the drama them follows Kang and Cha Young as the two meet once again, years later at a hospice facility. The story then follows their challenges, tribulations, love and the people they meet at the hospice.

Where do I start when I talk about this drama? When I read about the premise I didn’t expect to love the drama as much as I do now. It’s truly underrated and I hope that more people show love to this drama. On analysing this let’s start with the obvious point here. The story is set a lot around food. Food not just for eating but pure soul food. The many montages of several characters cooking and bonding over the food was really special and makes us feel closer to this drama. A lot of the recipes make us feel really interested in Korean cuisine too. So if anyone has recipes for this please do let me know in the comments!

Another obvious and very crucial setting in this drama is of course the hospice. What really should be a depressing and sad place is anything but that. The scene and the sound of the crickets and the flowers and vegetables grown around the complex along with the things kept for drying doesn’t make us feel the harshness of a hospital in any way for sure. And as much as the setting influenced the story it’s the characters that come in the story. We see over the episodes where we are introduced to several of the patients and their loved ones. We bond with them as episodes go by, and we cry buckets of tears as they leave as well. So be prepared with a lot of tissues for this one!

Coming to characters, I will focus on Kang and Jun as a whole and not two different characters. Both of them were co-dependent in a way whether it was in a positive or negative way. What could have been a long and beautiful relationship had many years wasted with both of them being pushed for a goal that both of them did not want. That really makes these characters sink with you, especially with Jun who I felt a real attachment with.

Coming to Cha Young and Kang, yes they are the lead couple but don’t expect any strong romantic moments between the two. Yes it is there, here and there but their intenseness is through the silent gestures, their care for each other and subtely placed dialogues in this drama. The two are hopeless lovers who were strongly fixated on their first loves.

Other than the Entourage of characters at the hospice that come and go, we had a very strong set of supporting characters as well. I wouldn’t say they were on par with the leads but their presence was definitely felt.

Certain things could have been probably avoided like the whole Libya thing in the beginning. Because as vital as it is shown in the beginning it doesn’t have a placeholder with the story whatsoever post that so I felt it was an unnecessary amount of drama. I also felt that the build and the continuation of the drama had a good steady pace considering the heavy melodrama on this drama but I was a little disappointed at how things accelerated towards the end. Or maybe it’s because you really don’t want to part with the characters either. Let me know what you felt in the comments too.

I was heavily drawn into the soundtrack of this drama as well. That would be Special by Yubin, Tree by Car, the Garden and Always Be Here by Jung Jin Woo. The songs just melt us right into the story successfully. I don’t think there are any more perfect tracks for this drama either.

Overall this drama is the slow, hit you in the feels, emotional ride that is not necessarily a rollercoaster but is something you can feel in your heart. it’s definitely underrated in my opinion, and I hope it gets a lot of attention soon. It’s available on Netflix for anyone that’s interested. Let me know what you felt in the comments below. For more detailed episode summaries and my commentary on the episodes click here!

I’d like to end this post by a dialogue that a character said in this drama.

Who told you that only the people in this hospice are terminally ill? We are all terminally ill ,and can die at any moment. For those who are ill, it seems more of a certainity but honestly we are all in the same boat. We must cherish every day. Every moment.

6 comments

  1. […] Like I mentioned in my episode summary for crash landing on you, there were two series which I was not bingeing – but rather watching as each episode released. And that other drama happened to be this one! The point of view I had on this in the beginning, and as each episode passed changed drastically, so here goes the episode summary. If you want a spoiler free review click here! […]

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] The trailer also mentions thay Kim Soo Hyun’s character is a caretaker at a mental facility – I think this will most surely open up to a lot more characters with different issues as well and not just highlight Seo Ye Ji’s or his brother’s condition. Therefore I’m pretty sure we might be having a memorable support cast and supporting storyline as well – kind of like how we saw in Chocolate. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your comment. Chocolate is my fourth K drama. I watched it without expectations and rewhatched and rewatched. Now I cannot find another like it. At first you like it, noticing what it doesn’t work. nevertheless something remains in you and makes you fell in love with it. I would have preferred Cha Young at the end able to show all her passion, but she is always too shy with him. I have not underst why she went away in the finale like other small particulars, but at the end this is what makes this drama closer to real life than others. Cha Young has a SPT and that doesn’t disappear as soon you find love. It takes time. Things don’t miraculously heal and disappear. So by time I understood much more the story and the characters. I loved Lee Kang transformation in whom he really was. I loved Cha Young honest, silent but powerful conquest of him. I loved Lee Jun transformation and sweetness. He is a kind boy as weel as Lee kang. As Lee Kang’s mother says, the adults put them in that condition, but they were kindhearted boys who couldn’t express theirselves. I loved too the way they found each other, both Lee Kang and Lee Jun and lee Kang and Cha Young, but I would have preferred more dialogues at that point, few more explanations, above all when finally the truth about Cha young comes out. I have many questions, some stupid questions like “since Cha Young didn’t say the truth to Kang, how is it possible making a 6 hour car trip with someone you have always loved who has finally confessed his love for you without saying anything?” “did they eat toghether before leaving?”
    “How is it possible that Kang reaches her to a two hour distance town without asking what was she doing there?” “When Cha Young finally tells the truth, what is He thinking? He walks away because he found out He was the other man? Did He understand how blind and mean he was to her?” I was expecting at least an apology. nevertheless this story touched me deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all, thank you for leaving this comment! I see this is your third K-Drama and I hope you enjoy more dramas to come, I’m always open to recommending if you wish to! I agree this drama is so underrated and the bond that we form with these characters are deep and somewhat hard to explain! I agree that maybe there should have been more dialogues. But I guess maybe the show makers wanted the silence and the emotions of the characters to express more than actually mentioning the dialogues. Once again thank you for your lovely comment!

      Like

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