The Tasty Florida is a South Korean BL series that deals with love, food, brotherly relationships, and rivalry on the side. Set in a popular restaurant that offers comfort Korean food, the series revolves around 4 friends who help each other maintain the restaurant and a newcomer who works part-time.
Sometimes referred to as Florida Banjeom, this is one of Idol Romance’s offerings for 2021. It stars rookie actors Cha Woo Min, Kim Yoo Hwan, Moon Kang Hyuk, and the 2 members of Seoulite – ZeZe, and Joon.
Idol Romance (via Moving Pictures Company and Emotion Studio) is well-known for bringing quality BL content “Wish You: Your Melody in My Heart” and “Nobleman Ryu’s Wedding”. The current BL series The Roommates of Poongduck 304 and Once Again are two of its most recent productions.
Personally, this series is not part of my watchlist. However, I got a couple of messages that asked me what I think about The Tasty Florida. I got curious and watched the entire show in less than 12 hours, so here’s my review.
Seo Hae Won (Cha Woo Min) is a provincial kid staying in Seoul for his Uni studies. He lives in a hostel right in the hustle and bustle of the SK capital. At the top of the hostel, there’s a famous restaurant, uniquely called Florida Banjeom. It attracts young people out for good food and mingles with its attractive staff and owners. Hae Won applies for a part-time job at the restaurant, upon the insistence of co-owner Cha Ji Soo (Moon Kang Hyuk). However, the head chef, Baek Eun Kyu (Kim Yoo Hwan) appears to dislike him. Yet, how could the head chef feel such animosity, when he was the first guy he met and he likes him already? [Synopsis © Psycho-Weird]
Cast of Characters
Cha Woo Min (21) is a rookie actor who debuts in The Tasty Florida. He deviates from his original plan of becoming an athlete. He’s known for being competitive in swimming and Judo since early childhood. Switching from sports to entertainment appears like a random decision, yet he wanted the challenge.
Kim Yoo Hwan (30) is an actor managed by JUST Entertainment. He is a former member of the disbanded K-Pop group SPEED. He also plays a supporting character in Bad Prosecutor. In a recent interview, he reacted that playing a lead character for a first-time project puts plenty of pressure, but he’s excited to do the role justice.
Moon Kang Hyuk (22) is a fashion male model and actor represented by YG PLUS. The Tasty Florida is also one of his debut acting projects. Recently, he grabbed a major role in My Rocket Ship, a corporate-romantic series with Kim Ji Hoon and Oh Se Young.
Rounding off the cast are Seoulite’s members – Zeze who plays Jin characterized as a playful member of the restaurant team, and acts as a superb, approachable staff. On the other hand, Joon plays SeoHyuk who features an active relationship with Jin, giving the series some comedic, fun interactions.
There are certain aspects of the series (and a movie released subsequently) which stand out for me:
- The initial encounter outside between Hae Won and Eun Kyu sets the tone, giving off romantic feelings earlier than expected. What is good about this series is that it elevates the relationship gradually and is not forced;
- The OST (including musical backgrounds, and their timing) can’t get any better. Without sounding too cheesy, the romantic songs are played during the right scenes, giving off a more complete vibe. It highlights the acting even better since what we have here are rookie actors. What do they know about acting techniques yet, right?;
- Cha Woo Min, who plays the part-timer, looks so good on camera. He’s not the best actor in the group but his chemistry with co-star Yoo Hwan is noteworthy. The judo challenge and the initial kiss feature intense performances, and he delivered well;
- Kim Yoo Hwan at 30 appears so youthful, and how he handles his personal style is an essential part of his on-screen persona. As a lonely young man who longs for his Dad (who lives in the State of Florida in the US), I can understand the apprehension and hesitation to dive into a relationship;
- Moon Kang Hyuk is the jealous part-time owner who has the hots for Woo Min’s Hae Won. The initial confrontation between his character and Yoo Hwan’s Eun Kyu is understandable. I don’t see why some viewers would question the ‘sudden’ burst of anger. It’s a rivalry for love and relationship. I guess, the 15-year friendship is at stake, but wait a bit and you’ll see the resolution, after all;
- The fact that the production team cast rookie actors say a lot about intent and purpose. While there is an economy in casting newbies, there is also the gamble of performance failure. In this case, I would say the team was successful.
The ending episode may appear too sentimental, yet there is no emotional outburst to speak of. Yoo Hwan’s delivery of his teary-eyed comeback comes off as simplistic but effective.
Making Of Video
There are teasers and about 3 more making-of videos on Idol Romance’s official YouTube channel. Here’s one of them:
An old-timer BL fan way back in 2007. I started out loving BL after watching the Takumi-kun series from Japan, went on collecting BL manga, and watched old BL anime such as Junjou Romantica and the likes. Love of Siam allow me to transition into Thai, while Amphetamine gave me glimpses of Taiwanese BL magic. I love to write reviews and I’m one of the administrators of Psycho Weird.