I Live in Cheongdamdong Episode 101 Recap


I’ve always wondered at the point of recapping. It’s nice to relive the nuances of an episode, but to do it for every single episode, good or horrific? That’s dedication. And, with the huge array of recapping websites available, it seems a little redundant, since recaps are largely summary-based, with only small asides. (One exception might be A Squeecapper’s Paradise, which holds true to its namesake and offers a pleasantly disproportionate squee-to-recap ratio. Take my word for it, watching Cruel City would not have been the same without their comments.)

However, there’s a black void online in terms of recaps for I Live in Cheongdamdong. ILICDD, a daily drama screened on JTBC, is a monster of a drama at 170 episodes, with very little buzz on the English net. This is most likely because no one has picked it up for subbing. However, everyone who can understand Korean, from ockoala at Koalasplayground to dramanoella at Kdramaguk to Mookie, has declared it a heart-warming, superbly constructed show.

And, with just a peek at Hyunwoo, I was suckered in and decided to brave a few episodes on Chinese subtitles, which led to this, my very first full-length recap.

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Episode 101

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We open in our lovely manhwa house. Moo Sung comes in and gives Jieun sixty thousand. He wants to support her dream to open a noodle house. She immediately refuses, saying that she couldn’t take money from him, knowing his “situation.” (I’m not sure what kind of situation he’s in, seeing as he can pull out sixty thousand on the fly. Is that not considered a lot in Korean currency? I’m going to re-translate that to 6,000…) He insists, saying humbly that he wishes he could give more. Jieun relents and says that she’ll place his name second on the store’s banner. “Who’s first?” he asks. She replies, “My mom.” (Aw… In a land filled with evil step-mothers and immature biological mothers, good mother-daughter relationships make me happy. )

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Spurred on by Moo-Sung’s generosity, Woohyun (right) and Sanghoon (left) also jump to chip in 2500 each. The other manhwa inhabitants gather together a collection of bubble gum, phone cards, and subway cards. Touched by everyone’s support, Jieun accepts everything, even the gum, gratefully. (This is a characteristic of Jieun’s that I noticed in Episode 99 as well, when she secretly pined for Hyunwoo’s dad to send back a designer bag but also understood to be grateful that he remembered her enough while traveling in Europe to send her fridge magnets. Girl knows what she wants, but she also knows to be grateful for what she gets. Although, having jumped in at Episode 99, I’m not sure why she would expect Hyunwoo’s dad to buy her things. Especially when she asks Hyunwoo to tell her what his dad is like, indicating that they haven’t even met in person.)

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And, yay! Our first glimpse of Hyunwoo in this episode! He’s fixing his bike when Jieun comes. “Still tinkering away?” she asks. “Isn’t the bike perfectly fine?” (You can tell I love my little woobies when I start transcripting dialogue.)

“It’s fine for when I ride alone,” he says, which gives Jieun a bolt of happiness.

“Ohh, I see, so you’re doing it for my safety!”

“Yes. You’re heavy and you’re ruining the backseat,” he says, which kind of dampens the compliment, but Jieun’s practical and doesn’t let it get her down. She invites him to go to a faraway food stand, which has gotten rave reviews for its noodles. He looks up at her, “Are you asking me on a date?”

“Would you say yes if I did?” (You go, girl!)

He smiles, “Let’s go together, then.”

(Awww, and end clip of my woobies.)

Meanwhile, Woohyun and Sanghoon sit by Moosung’s side glumly as Moosung waxes on about how Jieun should run her store.Firstly, Jieun should change the store’s name. Originally, she had wanted to call the store “That Day When Noodles Rain Down,” (yeah… it doesn’t sound much smoother in Chinese, either) which Moosung vetoes. When Woohyun and Sanghoon suggest that she make it a 5 story building, Moosung overrides their opinion, asserting that he has the greatest say, being the biggest shareholder (6,000 to their accumulated 5,000). After Moosung leaves, Woohyun and Sanghoon plot to gain more capital so that they can hold more shares than Moosung.

We also get a short snippet scene with the matriarch of the household, Hye-Ja, who finds herself locked into a storage room of the house after finding a book.

And then, jajang!, we have our other love interest, Sangyeob, come in to the restaurant where Jieun waitresses (I realize I’m recapping like this is the first ep, but ah wellz.).Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 7.47.01 PM

He tells Jieun’s boss Jungmin that he noticed her cars’ tires had popped on his way in. Jieun sighs, saying that she had planned on borrowing Jungmin’s car today. Sangyeob jumps to assist, telling her she can borrow his car. He adds cutely, “It’s a package deal, when you get the car, you have to take the chauffeur as well.” (Oh, the lives of the rich.)

Jieun is relieved to hear that, since the noodle place she had wanted to go to with Hyunwoo is far away, But then Sangyeob asks sweetly if he can accompany her to wherever she’s going and Jieun can’t say no after borrowing the man’s car.

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Back in the house, Bohee comes upon Kwanwoo opening his mail. “Wah,” she says, “you have someone who would express mail something to you?” (This was a strange statement to me at first, but now that I think about it, I realize that there are few people and few reasons (professional ones notwithstanding) who would express mail you personal items.) Kwanwoo tells her that it’s a box of personal items he had left with his last landlord as collateral for unpaid rent. Together, they look at family photos of his grandparents and parents, and Bohee notices that both couples have very similar appearances, not to mention expressions.

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Kwanwoo explains that his family has a history of young husbands and older wives. His grandmother was older by 15 years and his mother by 12. He muses that, since Bohee is 9 years older than he, she would be accepted into the family, a thought that earns him a snort.

And then we see the method that Woo-hyun has devised to raise more capital: blackmail. He confronts Jieun’s boss Jung-Min with a photo of a man, telling her that he knows she once attempted to date him, and will reveal this information to everyone if she doesn’t comply with his wishes. He finishes off his grand plan with a maniacal laugh.

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The next day at work, Jung-Min insists that Jieun accept an envelope of cash. Jieun attempts to refuse but Jung-Min steamrolls over her before running into the bathroom. Inside the stall, she calls Woo-hyun, asking if her end is done. He tells her darkly to wait for further instructions (I’m kind of loving Woo-hyun and his faux-darkness). Outside, Jieun opens the envelope excitedly, because Jung-Min owns the swankiest restaurant in Cheongdamdong, where even one dish is more than she can afford. Unexpectedly, there is only 2000 in the envelope. At home, Sanghoon questions Woo-hyun about the decision to invest such a paltry amount, but Woohyun says wisely that they shouldn’t get in over their heads just in case Jung-Min decides to retaliate later. Besides, 2000 is all they need.

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It turns out that Kwanwoo and Bohee not only live together as tenant and landlord, but also  work together in a film studio. She’s his supervisor and gets called over to find out that he had eaten an entire cake intended for a colleague’s birthday. He stutters that he thought it had been for him, which makes her soften her tone as she asks if it’s his birthday. He replies that it was actually a few days ago, but he assumed that everyone had just gotten the date wrong.  (Aw, that tugged at my heartstrings.) Plus, he and his colleague were the same age, so the number of candles on the cake had corroborated with his birthday. Bohee calls off the manager (in the upper left) who still wants to chew Kwanwoo out, saying that he’s her “person,” (which in Asian languages doesn’t always indicate romance, just a meaning of responsibility and communion) and if anyone has to chew him out, she’ll do it. She yells at him a bit for always causing her trouble, especially with his immense appetite (a running gag on this show), but her words don’t have any effect, seeing as Kwanwoo’s too happy about the fact that she claimed him as “her person.” She huffs in exasperation and leaves, with Kwanwoo scuttling after her, saying “Wait! I’m your person! Let’s leave together.” (I’m amazed at how every character in this show has endeared themselves to me. No one is unbelievably nice or two-dimensionally evil; everyone has their moment to shine as a kind soul or make you laugh with their pettiness.)

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We turn back to Hye-Ja for just a moment,still trapped in the storage room. She’s cursing herself for not eating dinner last night and is willing herself to adopt a “monastic” attitude and not think about food. At the same time, she grows more and more pissed that no one has attempted to find her the entire day.

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Meanwhile, Woohyun and Sanghoon call Moosung and Jungmin up for a meeting. (Don’t you just love the way Woohyun is draping himself over the couch now that he has the upper hand? Such a difference from the very first picture of him in this recap.) They tell Moosung that Jungmin is on their team and, guess what, has invested 2000, bringing their cumulative stake to 7000. Jungmin blurts out that she loves their idea of a 5-story restaurant. Moosung leaves, defeated, and Woohyun enjoys his victory.

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Sangyeob goes to the restaurant to pick Jieun up, which is when she apologizes and asks him to go first. Jungmin isn’t at the restaurant and she has to take care of everything (which, retrospectively, I realize is a beautifully subtle way to show that all of the characters’ storylines DO exist in the same world; while Jungmin is off being blackmailed, Jieun has to pick up the slack.) Sangyeob says that he’ll wait for her, which is when Jieun admits nervously that Hyun-soo would be waiting as well. Sangyeob grimaces, but goes off to pick him up.

I had no idea how the two love interests would interact, but it turns out the answer is: BEAUTIFULLY. As soon as Hyun-soo sits down, Sangyeob asks him to put his seatbelt. Hyunwoo pouts, “Can’t you help me put it on? That’s how they do it in the dramas.” Sangyeob grimaces (which seems to be his default expression in matters regarding Hyunwoo), and barks, “Are you a woman?” Hyunwoo wheedles more, but finally puts on his own seatbelt. Sangyeob then says it’s really unfortunate that Jieun needs to borrow his car because Hyunwoo doesn’t have one. I thought Hyunwoo would get tense about this, but he completely brushes it off and continues to cheerily annoy the bejeezus out of Sangyeob, even oohing at the car’s nice condition.

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At the film studio, the staff is handing out boxed dinners and Bohee berates herself as she asks an extra box. When questioned, she says pointblank, “It must be that season,” (which I guess is a way of saying PMS) and rushes off before they can grab it back. She’s berating herself for being crazy, and we get that she’s taken an extra box to give to Kwanwoo, who is currently complaining to the director of the film. Just because a funds manager, not him, of course, had accidentally eaten a cake, the director was now refusing to give all of the funds managers dinner. The director must be pocketing the extra dinner money he had saved for personal purposes, Kwanwoo says, not realizing that he was speaking to the director. At this point, Bohee arrives and the director asks her in disbelief what kind of studio she’s running, where the staff doesn’t even recognize the director of the film. Bohee apologizes and then turns to look at Kwanwoo, already sitting down, eating the dinner she had brought. He stops, oblivious, “This…. you brought it for me, right?” And we can all read that expression on Bohee’s face, the one every girl has put on at least once in her life, that says,”And THIS is the man I think I sorta-kinda-maybe like?!”

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Meanwhile, Hyunwoo and Sangyeob have reached the noodle house, which, inexplicably, is not open yet, even though it is already late at night. Both boys get out of the car and look tensely at the deserted garden/field where the stand is located (even though it looks like a perfectly pleasant field to me,  but that’s fine, because the boys and this field make up the funniest bits of this episode).

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At the manhwa house, Moosung is consoling himself over his reduced status with some soju when he gets an idea. He talks to the other men in the room, telling them that they would be wise to join forces with him. He picks up one wooden chopstick and snaps it in half,”See? It breaks so easily! But… what if we five put our strength together?” He picks up 5 chopsticks and attempts to break them…. which they do. He looks down in surprise, but then soldiers on and finishes, “Well, then! We would have TEN CHOPSTICKS. YEAH.”Moosung and his reconfigured chopstick lesson

(At which point I realize yet again what a lovely drama this is, because my attention is usually centered squarely on the pretty boys/romantic story, but here, I’m not even perturbed to have the screen cut away to Moosung and his reconfigured chopstick fable.)

Now back to the flower boys.

They each can tell the other is scared, but neither want to leave, since that would entail leaving Jieun alone with the other. What happens then is a hilarious round up of determined and scared faces, as the boys tell each other about other scary situations that they bested in the past. “When I was in the Marines,” Hyunwoo says, “I used to sleep behind gravestones! Oh, yes, they were the best because they blocked the wind.” (Note: I find this even more hilarious now because I realize the Marines  don’t spend that much time fighting on land… so Hyunwoo was probably bluffing his pants off.) Sangyeob follows up with his exploits in foreign countries as well (which are probably equally hilarious, but I was just tired of looking up radicals by then).

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(This scene also made me wonder if boys in real life ever get into such cute exploits over their crushes; if so, the world just became a happier place in my mind.)

The next scene followed up with our older couple, Kwanwoo and Bohee, as Bohee has to get Kwanwoo out of another scrape. Their conversation is interrupted when another coworker asks Kwanwoo something food-related. Kwanwoo snaps out of his apologies long enough to beam at his coworker and expertly reels out a long list of dishes. Bohee looks at him in disbelief and then leaves, which is when a coworker approaches Kwanwoo and gives him a picture that she had accidentally snapped of them. When Kwanwoo gets home, he pastes it into his family album with a smile. (Aww, nothing smells more like destiny than a lineage of wifely scowls.)

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Moosung’s chopsticks fable proves successful and he thrusts a piece of paper into Woohyun and Sanghoon’s faces. Adding together the value of all the subway cards, bubble gum, and etc., the manhwa men invested 1200. Yes, that’s right. That puts his total at 7200, 200 more than Woohyun and Sanghoon’s investment. Satisfaction achieved. Boss status reclaimed.

Meanwhile, to prove that he’s REALLY, REALLY, NOT AT ALL scared, Sangyeob tells Hyunwoo that he’ll go into the garden and touch THAT TREE ALL THE WAY OVER THERE. (Are we still in our twenties, boys? Yeah, okay, just checking.) Breathing hard, Sangyeob races into the garden, where he sees in horror something white coming at him…

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Only to realize…

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Sangyeob shakes the bag off and continues on determinedly, but then ahead, he suddenly sees a ghostly-white man in historical Korean garb beckoning him closer. He then proceeds to let out the cutest yelps and handflutters before turning tail and fleeing back to the safety of Hyunwoo. But Hyunwoo is facing his own troubles. Out of nowhere, a hand grabs him.

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And he turns to find

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Throwing her hand off, Hyunwoo races into the garden where our two boys reunite like the bromantic couple we all know and love.

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“I accidentally turned around because it was dark!” Sangyeob says.

“I came to find you because you were gone so long,” Hyunwoo sputters.

Of course, the ghostly girl was just Jieun. And, a man pops out to say that he’s the noodle shop owner. He had tried waving Sangyeob over a few moments ago, but Sangyeob had run away (pahaha.) The three sit down but only Jieun has the stomach to tuck into her meal. The two boys sip water and try to recover, until the shopowner admonishes,”Don’t drink so much water. The restroom is allllll the way over there, in the garden,” causing both of them to spit out their water in a hurry. Nevertheless, nature calls, and the boys align for a common cause. They go to the restroom together and Sangyeob says something along the lines of, “Didn’t you say that singing kept ghosts away?”

So Sangyeob goes into the restroom first and Hyunwoo sings some song outside. I don’t know for sure, but it has the beat of one of those patriotic songs that soldiers sing while going into war, lol. Inside, Sangyeob sings along. When it’s Hyunwoo’s turn, Sangyeob starts earnestly crooning some contemporary love song. I thought Hyunwoo would be scoffing in the stall, but when the camera pans inside, we see him singing along with the goofiest, most content smile ever. Oh, Hyunwoo… it makes my heart tear every time you break one of my expectations by continuing to be the sweetest boy ever.

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The three-wheeling, sort of date ends and Jieun takes her leave. With all ghostly apparitions far away, Hyunwoo and Sangyeob start bickering again and get up in arms (literally). Their fight looks like this, but on repeat.

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Until Sangyeob’s cell rings. It’s Jieun, calling to say that the noodle shop owner promised to make her a secret dish not on the menu if she came back the next day. Will Sangyeob go with her? Sangyeob looks ecstatic that she calls, but then his face takes a turn for the worse when he hears her request. By his side, Hyunwoo listens in, and we close with my favorite bromance of the day:

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Or not, we get one last tidbit which only bolsters this shows ranking in my heart as superb. Hearing that Sangyeob is heading off with Jieun to that horrible place again (meaning, naturally, that Hyunwoo will be going,too), both boys put aside their differences and let go of their deathgrip on each other.

“What a lovely tie that is,” Hyunwoo says.

“And, your shirt is so handsome. Oh, you have a dirty speck, here, let me get that for you.”

Until next time, fellow kdrama lovers.

Update: Had a fit of Hyunwoo-Jieun happiness and recaps started going a lot quicker, so there’s hope for this project after all. 🙂

Ending Thoughts

With only two years of formal Mandarin study under the belt (once again, regret for my lackadaisical attitude at weekend Chinese school as a kid rears its head), I have to pause the screen for each line of long dialogue, and Mdbg.net and Google Translate have been my constant companions. (My dedication to seeing The Cute has educational benefits!)

I originally planned on recapping all the way to 170 but now have to reconsider based on time constraints. Although I’m sure I’ll get faster with practice, simply watching the episode was an expedition of its own, taking about 2 hours to watch this 30 minute show. Going back to write the review and get screencaps was another 4 hours. I truly did enjoy writing it and chewing over ILICDD, but with school starting up in the fall again, I am uncertain if this is a commitment I can take on regularly.

Finally, below are some vocab that I picked up while watching, for all of you viewers who may have struggling Mandarin comprehension but want to try watching the episode as well! Mandarin subtitles are available here.








Bàn miàn

Noodles mixed with sauce





Bào tāi













Make a match (as in dating)



Take/deserve a beating










                 诚信度-                Chéngxìn dù



















Director (of a film)








Wǔ céng lóu

Five-Story Building





Take-out/boxed lunch






Misappropriate (as in funds)



Terror or terrifying (in a ghostly way)


Hǎibīng duì

Marine Corps





Dǎng fēng

Block the wind



Shift (as in first duty shift)


Wěirèn shū






yī huǒ






Zhuǎnle yī quān

Turn around in a circle









Tie (as in business tie)








Zhēn shuài






5 thoughts on “I Live in Cheongdamdong Episode 101 Recap

  1. I’m attracted to Hyun Woo right off the bat! hahaha I am often too shallow a person to admit even to myself. BUT this truly is a daily that got me quite at hello, after an ep or 2, I’m totally in with the writing, and I COULD NOT STOP! Ahhh I still rem that summer, so fondly skipping sleep, getting pimples, eating an obscene amount of ramyun and whole watermelon with a spoon (and shivering how unhealthy that was!)

    • That actually sounds delicious. I’m up at 4am myself right now, haha. I was so happy about writing my first recap that I hustled out another one for Ep 102. 🙂

      No worries about the shallowness, one of my friends said recently, “It’s taken a long time, but I’ve come to acknowledge that I just AM a shallow person,” which only made me appreciate his frankness. Besides, if there’s any reason to be shallow, Hyunwoo would be it.

  2. Wow, you sure did spend a lot of time not only watching the ep, but also working on the recap. I can see why doing all 170 eps would be an issue!

    Thanks for helping to spread the ILICDD love, it really is a lovely show that more people should know about AND have access to.

    Just a couple of things that might help to clarify:

    – the investments in Ji Eun’s noodle shop this ep were all in very small amounts. As a rough guide, 60,000won is equivalent to about 60USD. Which just makes all the dramatics around the paltry amounts extra funny ^^
    – Ji Eun’s not a waitress but the restaurant manager. She used to be a chef but lost her job early in the show and landed here. She dreams of one day opening her own noodle shop. She firmly believes that noodles are the best for a rainy day, which is why she wants to name her shop Noodles for a Rainy Day (not an exact translation, but that’s the gist).
    – Bo Hee is an actress, not a supervisor, and she used to be really famous when she was younger. Now, her star’s faded somewhat. Manager Cho is her road manager, but instead of doing things FOR her, he’s always just getting into trouble instead, which frustrates her to no end. He does nurse a crush on her, and at this point in the story, she’s found that she sometimes has a soft spot for him. That’s always derailed, though, by his next aggravating exploit.
    – The reason the boys were so scared in that “garden” is because it’s not a garden but a cemetery. The mounds on the ground are graves. And so the boys imagining ghosts makes a lot more sense than if it was just some dark garden.

    Hope that helps! And definitely, do consider starting at episode 1 – this series is worth it ^^

    • Ahh, that makes a lot more sense, especially Jieun’s fascination with cooking. It seems like rain becomes a big theme, since I’m on 103 right now, where Hyunwoo is trying to convince her to like rain and they dash home cutely under his jacket. He may be more feminine-looking than the leading men of yore, but he can still pull off swooniness quite well.

      Recapping is going a lot faster actually, haha. I was on a high after finishing my first one, so I buckled down and hustled out the recap for Ep 102. There’s hope for this project! I hope more people can love it with us. 🙂

      • deabak! i wish you can continue recapping, someone like me who dont understand korean or chinese, really hard to understand what are they saying. so this site of yours help me a lot to understand. i really really love this show. thank you very much! I love hyun woo too, ji eun and sang yeob very much!

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