I’m in the midst of getting back into a schedule for drama watching and blogging. Hooray! That said, I surprisingly fell in love with The Perfect Match and I’m recommending it readily. The review will be a bit lacking in gifs as my slow-loading internet is still holding a grudge against me. At least I can spend some time talking about this drama as I’ve enjoyed it beyond measure.
The Perfect Match is a Taiwanese drama that heavily centers itself around cooking, family, and love. It stars Chris Wu and Ivy Shao who have some pretty sizzling chemistry together if you ask me.
I don’t often take a chance on Taiwanese dramas without a strong recommendation from someone else. I’ve started more than I’ve finished, but there have been some really rare gems that have made me re-evaluate my stance on them. The Perfect Match started me on a t-drama kick (that I’m heavily enjoying), so I’m genuinely excited to delve deep into this drama.
Insta-love is very, very rare in t-drama world for me. There have been a few cases where I’ve enjoyed enough to recommend on this blog—such as Murphy’s Law of Love or anything by Aaron Yan. Chris Wu (who plays Huo Ting En here) is completely new to me, but his work here made me want to seek out more of his projects. Any fellow Chris Wu fans have any recommendations?
For the most part, I do struggle with the format and storytelling of t-dramas, but they are growing on me. The Perfect Match really knocked it out the park, so I’m anxious to give more Taiwanese dramas a chance. Sometimes I find Taiwanese dramas clunky or too long as it can be hard to sit through hour and thirteen minute long episodes. I do love that they’re more open about skin ship and physical touch, but it’s still handled somewhat modestly, which I appreciate.
Huo Ting En is an exemplary chef who has a fancy French culinary degree. He is very meticulous, a stickler for details, and tailors his recipes to suit any of his customer’s dietary (or otherwise) needs. Ting En works at La Mure, his family’s successful and fine dining restaurant. There’s no denying that he’s a distinguished chef, but it isn’t until he meets rookie, night market chef, Fen Qing, that his world expands in a colorful way he never expected.
At a young age, Huo Ting En’s mother married into the Hou family. Ting En ends up becoming a chef and manager at the Hou family’s upscale, fine-dining restaurant La Mure. He runs a tight ship and believes in cooking quality meals for his customers—taking into consideration food allergies, diet restrictions, and more. While he can be tough on his employees, he only does it to get their best results. He has good intentions at heart, which makes him a rare breed in dramaland. Who doesn’t love a genuinely decent guy from the beginning? While his actions weren’t initially known, he is a great guy who is eager to helps others: case in point Fen Qing. From the night he met her cooking at the night market to their bet, Ting En recognized Fen Qing’s potential and saw something in her.
You know how that saying goes? The ones we’re harder on are those who have potential because we want to see them reach their full potential? That applies in spades here. Ting En, as a kindred spirit, senses her complete adoration for cooking. Not to mention, her talent of perfect taste. Her skills do not escape him and he finds a way to shape this young chef into a truly skilled chef.
Fen Qing is proud, hard working, and spends her evenings work at the night market and serving her specialty: shrimp curry burgers. She has a very close relationship with the night market people and considers them to be her family. Her inspiration from cooking was influenced by her now deceased father. Her goal is to reclaim the ‘curry king’ title her father once possessed. She lives with her mother and younger brother. At her side, she has many of the night market people—including Ah Wei, who Xiao Bin calls little Aaron Kwok.
Ah Wei wasn’t my favorite aspect of the series, but he had the most growing up to do of anyone. Even though I hated his relentless pursuit of Fen Qing, his heart always seemed to be in the best place. I most enjoyed his interactions with Xiao Bin.
Along the way, Fen Qing and Ting En grow closer through their mutual love for cooking. At one point, to avoid an arranged marriage, Fen Qing pretends to be Ting En’s fiancee. They clash a great deal, but when it comes down to what matters the most, both are running to each other’s corners and being supportive. While opposites, they complimented each other nicely.
I have to admit, I was frustrated with a certain plot point towards the end of the series. Although there were issues that needed to be resolved, I hated that Ting En played the noble idiocy card. That was my biggest gripe.
All in all, I loved this drama and recommend it readily. While it didn’t necessary bring anything new to the table in terms of content, it still was touching, fun, full of good food, and sincere. There were also a variety of characters that were nicely developed. This is a series where you can actually care about more than just the leads. And rest assured, while some of them are noticeably absent by series end, I feel that the The Perfect Match still did most of our cast of characters justice.