VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

A must read, if you don't already know ...








Written by Funn Lim


"If you like Lawrence Ng, watch this series and you'll love him. One of the best and well acted as a cast of a series that I have seen this year and highly entertaining as well."




SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!



Cantonese Title
Mei Mei Ching Yuen (direct translation and please don't laugh..."A Delicious Love Affair"..yummy)

No. Of Episodes
25 episodes

Character-Cast
Ha Tau (Kong Seong Yau) - Raymond Lam Fung
Joyce Kiew Fa Chi - Flora Chan Wai San
Ma Yau - Lawrence Ng
So Mei (Sue) - Joyce Tang
Gordon Lung Chi San - Joe Ma Tak Chung
Kuk - Suet Lei
Candy - Miriam Yeung
Esther - Winnie Yeung
Fan Si - Tang Siu Juen
Misc - Wong Wai, Ma Tai Lou, Liu Kai Chi, Hillary Tsui Ho Ying, Jojo Zhou, etc

Basic Description
Relationships, cooking, food, jealousy and unrequited love.

Plot Summarized
You can read Seagull's review for a more in-depth plot analysis. I will provide for a brief summary. Be warned...spoilers galore...spoilers galore...spoilers galore...

Ok. The plot. Let's begin with the Hundred Miles Seafood Restaurant in Lamma Island.

There was once this famous chef who owned a famous restaurant named Hundred Miles Seafood Restaurant famous for it's 3 dishes. This owner named Kong Yew Chu was happily married to a happy go lucky descendant of the Chinese medicinal family named Kuk and they both had a son named Ha Tau. Unknown to the wife and son, this man once had an affair with a woman many many years before the birth of the son (maybe not so many years but since Flora is the lead, I logically deduced her character must be at least 10 years older though if we look at her mannerism, I might say just 2 years or so) and they had a daughter named Kiew Fa Chi, or Joyce. She didn't follow her father's family name. Years later this man died and left his beloved restaurant which is no longer as famous as it was years before to his irresponsible but talented son, Ha Tau. Later the workers of the restaurant as well Kuk and Ha Tau found out 50% of the shares was bequeathed to a girl named Joyce Kiew, who refused to reveal that she was actually Kong Yew Chu's daughter, she called herself a creditor who now owns the restaurant by 50%. Ha Tau was determined to sell the restaurant so that he could run off onto his beloved boat and explore the world. But Joyce was determined to save the restaurant, and enlisted the help of a very talented but temperamental chef, Ma Yau who felt indebted to Mr Kong's kindness, agreed to help her after much persuasion. The business began to pick up and Ha Tau who had feelings for Joyce began to learn the tools of the trade. But when he found out she was his sister, he went back to who he was before and acted rather childishly. But Joyce never gave up on her brother, Ma Yau, the lazy workers and the business. After much hardship, they all stood united and the restaurant became famous again. But then the worst began to happen.

One day, a waitress who worked for Jade Corporation began a relationship with a the Executive Chef of Jade chain of restaurants, Gordon. Gordon was obviously smitten by her individuality but later the ugly truth began to surface. Sue was once Ma Yau girlfriend and they were so serious, they were almost married, but Sue's ex-boyfriend who was jealous of their relationship told Ma Yau a white lie and Sue never saw Ma Yau again. Never knowing what really happened, she began on a journey of self destruction but 2 years later her wound, though still deep but she was beginning to let go of her love for Ma Yau by loving Gordon. But she never really loved Gordon because one day she bumped into Ma Yau and she found out that their relationship ended because of one silly lie. She began to feel tortured and at last realised she loved Ma Yau more. She went back to Ma Yau and Ma Yau accepted her back because he found out she suffered too much when he left her without any explanation. That meant his relationship with Joyce which was in early stage of formation was halted and Joyce quietly went back to pretending nothing ever happened, though everybody knew Ma Yau and Joyce were in love. Ha Tau was the one who felt his sister was cheated and angrily left the restaurant and his sifu, Ma Yau and went to work for Jade Restaurant on the recommendation of a girl named Candy. In that environment, he realised Gordon had a personal vendetta against Ma Yau and did all he could to humiliate Ma Yau. When Sue finally realised Ma Yau loved Joyce and not her, she was the one who said they should separate but she met with an accident along the way. Gordon thought she attempted suicide and blamed Ma Yau. Ma Yau and Joyce both feeling guilty drifted further apart and Joyce fired Ma Yau and he left the restaurant. But Gordon declared war against Ma Yau and aimed to destroy the very one thing Ma Yau treasured; the Hundred Miles Seafood Restaurant. Ma Yau tried all her could to prevent the destruction of the restaurant because of his love for Joyce and Joyce did all she could because of her love for her family business but to no avail. The restaurant will be closed and Gordon's plan succeeded. Joyce left to travel the world, Ha Tau left to see the world and Ma Yau became a hawker.

And then Sue woke up from her coma.

What will Gordon do? Will Joyce and Ma Yau be reunited and will the Hundred Miles Seafood Restaurant ever open to business again?

Well, I will reveal the ending, but not now.

Q & A
My reviews are never short so I won't break with my tradition of being long winded. Anything about the plot not revealed above will be revealed below.

Where is Miriam Yeung, and Hilary Tsui, and Winnie Yeung, and Suet Lei???
Miriam is Candy, a young rich girl who aspires to be a singer but rich daddy wants her to learn business. By the way her daddy is the CEO of Jade Corporation. She sees Gordon as her big brother and mentor and Gordon sees her as his little sister, always looking out for her best interest. But when daddy said no to her singing career, she ran away to Lamma Island. After a few misunderstanding with Ha Tau, Ma Yau took her under his wing and treated her like his own sister, and we see the softer side of Ma Yau every time he talks to Candy. She works in the restaurant to earn money to release an album and in there, she met her friends and fell in love with Ha Tau. Later her father had a stroke (not because she induced it but because of natural causes) and she decided to let go of her singing career and take care of the family business.

Hilary Tsui plays a girl whose name I can's remember. She is Ha Tau's best friend and is secretly in love with Ha Tau though he only sees her as a "brother". She owns a rival seafood restaurant in Lamma Island though there isn't mush rivalry in business between Ha Tau and her because well, they're both best buddies. Later when she found out Ha Tau loved Candy, she was heart broken but decided friendship is stronger than jealousy or love and so she returned to her old happy go lucky self.

Suet Lei plays Kuk, Ha Tau's mom. She hates mistresses and men who have mistresses. To her Yew Chu was the perfect husband, but when she found out Joyce was Yew Chu's daughter, she became angry and showed her jealousy in front of Joyce. However, she realised Joyce is a nice girl, and is there to help the restaurant with a sincere determination. She accepts Joyce as her daughter.

Winnie Yeung plays Esther, a PR with Jade Corporation who has the hots for Gordon but obviously, he feels nothing for her. She is the happy go lucky type who knows a lot but doesn't reveal much. Nothing much with this character actually, except that she lives with Sue and is bet of friends with Sue and Joyce. By the way, Joyce and Sue are friends as well, even before the Ma Yau incident.

How on earth Ha Tau found out about Joyce being his sister?
Actually Ma Yau knows about the truth first when he overheard a conversation between Esther and Joyce and she realised why Joyce never gave up on Ha Tau. At this time, Ha Tau was having this crush on Joyce who has always treated him with utmost respect. During one night both were drunk after a happy celebration at the restaurant and the workers who knew Ha Tau liked Joyce put them together into one room. Ma Yau found out about this and quickly rushed home to stop any incestuous act. Luckily Joyce who was quite drunk then heard Ha Tau mumbling about liking Joyce and she quickly left the room and sat on the sofa and began to think what she should do. Ma Yau came and they both talked. That was when Ha Tau overheard the truth and so did everybody else who was standing near the door to the dormitory. By the next morning, Ha Tau felt so embarrassed that he ran away and said hurtful things to Joyce, not wanting to believe that his father had a mistress. At the end of the day he realised Joyce was truly wonderful as a sister and felt so guilty for the hurtful things he said begged for her to stay when Joyce told everybody he was leaving. The truth was she was leaving for HK and will be back tomorrow morning, since she stayed in HK and worked in Lamma Island. Everything was ok, and only Kuk didn't know.

How on earth Kuk Found out?
She was at Joyce's apartment in HK and there was fire. They ran out and Joyce took her beloved possessions, some of which were her school's exam reports. They flipped through it and Kuk saw the one picture Joyce didn't want her to see; her father with her mum and Joyce as a young girl. Kuk who knew Joyce was the product of an affair between a married man and a mistress (she didn't know who though) became very angry and immediately left. Of course she later accepted Joyce as her daughter/

Why Joyce was so determined to save the restaurant?
She realised her father gave her the restaurant so that she could make it better and so that she could safeguard it until Ha Tau was ready and mature enough to take over the business. She fearlessly protects her brother and encourages him to learn from Ma Yau because she knew Ha Tau was very talented but not very motivated. All her life her father spent very little time with her since he didn't see much of her. His life was centred around his only son. To her, perhaps taking care of the business and her brother was something her father had wanted her to do and she felt a bit of familial love when she was in the restaurant. And so why she was so determined to save the restaurant? Because of her father and his legacy.

Why Ma Yau agreed to work for Hundred Miles Seafood Restaurant?
First of all, Ma Yau agreed to work for Joyce, not the restaurant. Not that he was touched by her sincerity. This Ma Yau was an egoistical, obnoxious and arrogant man who knew a lot about food and cooking but very little on communication between human beings. He wasn't particularly warm and friendly, in fact he was downright rude and cold to everybody else, except Candy, Joyce and Sue. But this was a man who knows what gratitude meant.

When he was a little boy, he was starving and he was soaking wet in the heavy rain. A chef took pity on him and cooked for him the best fried rice he ever tasted and because of this one friend rice and that man's kindness, he had the will to go on and he later learned from the King of Chefs, together with Gordon (who was Ma Yau's "brother" of the same sifu). That man who showed him such kindness was Kong Yew Chu. By the way, Kong Yew Chu was never his sifu. It was another chef.

How come Joyce fell for Ma Yau and vice versa?
Probably because Ma Yau was the only one old enough, decent looking enough and the only one eligible bachelor? Nahhhhh....she admired him. Period.

Why Ma Yau loved her is even simpler. She was really nice to him, really sweet and always very polite and encouraging. She never once belittled him or ever distrusted him. In her, Ma Yau perhaps became even softer, relaxed a bit more and even kicked his smoking habit.

So how come there was a So Mei?
Ahhh...that pest. You see, they were once very close and then ex-bf showed Ma Yau some intimate photos (here I must say this...they were just photos of a guy and a girl, nothing sordid or illegal) between him and So Mei and Ma Yau thought she was two timing her. Heart broken he left without demanding for an explanation. So Mei never looked for him to ask the all important question; "Oi! Idiot! What happened?? Where were you??"

Never.

Then how come So Mei came back?
So Mei was seeing Gordon and Gordon wanted to challenge Ma Yau and become the best chef. You see, sifu once told Gordon that his technique as a chef is meticulous and perfect but he lacked what Ma Yau has; real talent. So he wanted to defeat Ma Yau. So Mei then knew Ma Yau and Gordon were "brothers" of the same sifu. Gordon happily went to the competition but So Mei didn't want to go. On the day of the competition, she told him she loved Ma Yau. Ma Yau by that time has seen So Mei again and knew that she has a tendency to over eat until the brink of death, which was what she went through 2 years before when Ma Yau left without any word. So he can't possibly reject her without hurting her. Moreover, So Mei was so convinced Ma Yau still loved her. Which was why Ma Yau decided to cook a So Mei dish which he invented 2 years before in the name of So Mei instead of the dish he had invented together with Joyce. That pisses Ha Tau and more so when they lost. Gordon was the King of Chefs but he wasn't happy. Ha Tau wasn't happy, Joyce wasn't happy, Sue was very happy, thinking by cooking that So Mei dish Ma Yau was telling her that they could give their relationship another try but the truth was, Ma Yau was miserable.

So how come So Mei fell into a coma?
Gordon was destroying the restaurant by proposing that the Jade Corporation's latest billion dollar project named Seafood village be built at Lamma Island, and so all restaurants, shops and business along a specific road must be bought over. Interestingly, Hundred Miles was situated right smack on that road and even more interesting, decades of business and they never really owned that piece of land that the restaurant was situated on. The owner decided to sell his land to Jade Corp and so the business must be closed. So Mei at that time was spending every waking hours with Ma Yau but one night, she saw Ma Yau hugging Joyce and telling her he couldn't let go of her and he would stay to fight on in keeping the restaurant with Joyce. Ma Yau was willing to let go of a golden opportunity to work in France when Joyce was begging him to leave. So Mei was upset, understandably so and cried in front of Gordon. Later she went to the airport pretending nothing had ever happened to wait for Ma Yau and Ma Yau arrived. Before he could say anything, she realised she can't force love. And so she proposed that they separate. Ma Yau went home to Joyce and told her what Sue told him and then Joyce received a phone call. Sue met with an accident and was in a coma. Gordon sincerely thought she wanted to kill herself and so did everybody else. Because of this Gordon was determined to destroy Ma Yau and the best way to hurt him is to hurt Joyce which means he must destroy the restaurant. Candy at the end lost her respect for Gordon and ignored him. Gordon began to feel guilty and when Sue woke up to tell everybody the truth, Gordon realised he was wrong but he couldn't say those three hardest words to say for a man with pride; I am sorry. This went on for 2 years and by that time Joyce had already left to travel the world and Ha Tau has already left with Ma Yau's sifu to see the world.

So happy ending?
Yes, very happy ending. For one I am very glad Gordon didn't end up with Sue (again).

2 years later, Ma Yau was a hawker. He and Gordon patched things up again and became like brothers they once were thanks to their sifu who insisted that they cook something together and their sifu yelled at them that why can't they be like they were? Why can't they just talk? Why fight over money, fame and women when they could just cook a dish and eat until the anger is over? Gordon realised at the end of the day he wanted to be a chef, not fame not money but the joy of cooking. And so he quit his high paying job and works in a small restaurant, finding himself again as a chef. So Mei opened a flower shop and was her happy self again, and became good friends with Gordon and Ma Yau. Ma Yau was told by Gordon that the plan to create Seafood Village was scrapped off and so Gordon gave the restaurant back to Ma Yau who immediately went looking for the former employees and reopened the business. Ha Tau came back and basically, well...he came back and he will propose to Candy who has been waiting for him for 2 years. As for Joyce, she became a famous food critic named Chi Mei and reunited with Ma Yau again.

THE END.

My Comments
Many months before, there was a request that I write a review for this series but I didn't because I never watched this series. The reason was simple. Lawrence Ng, Flora Chan and an unknown named Raymond Lam didn't sound altogether appealing to me. Then I watched this on ASTRO and well.....it was free but I would have happily paid for the video rental fee if I had known it was such an entertaining series.

First of all, I must compliment the script writer for giving us such strong characterisation of characters. Each is an individual in his/her own right and each is given ample time to develop as a character in terms of personality and individualism. In terms of the relationships, characters and emotions, I must say this series is top notch and definitely a cut above A Step Into The Past, more so in the relationship between a master and his student. You could clearly see a teacher-student relationship in here, full of witty and sarcastic exchanges between Ma Yau and Ha Tau. You can see plenty of personalities and plenty of strong characters, from the ke-le-fe to the leads. All clearly mapped out. For an example, the character of Ma Yau. Truly despicable and yet not quite so and this series will back up the reason for each character's actions with some really good reasons. We might see Sue was someone strong and always laughing but actually deep down she is a very tortured woman, because of love and at the end we see what a mess she has become all because of her love for Ma Yau. Really excellent depiction of human emotions for all of the characters, and everybody has a chance to tell a bit of their story, though the leads may have more time to develop on their characters, I do think all the characters in here have distinct personalities that one could clearly see.

Secondly, the food. I am convinced, so very convinced every time Ma Yau talked about why certain food is so and so because all were very logical.

Finally, the simplicity of the storyline. You have someone you could hate, one you could pity, one you could cheer, one you could cry for....this is actually a drama about relationships but very little on the action sequence. For one, we won't get car chase scenes or some over the top emotional scene like someone dying unexpectedly but you could feel that anger in you every time that So Mei comes into the picture.

I wouldn't say the story was perfect. Same old formula with a really uninteresting ending which was rather rushed though the story closes itself nicely. We have some illogical stuff which I will reveal later. But some scenes stood out as the best;

Best Scenes
The relationship between Ha Tau and Ma Yau, Ma Yau and Joyce, Joyce and fellow employees and Kuk and also the relationship between Ha Tau and Candy. Individually they are not very interesting to watch but put them all into one scene or as pairs, you will see some amazing stories. I especially like the relationship between Ha Tau and Ma Yau, a relationship between a sifu and his student. Ma Yau calls Ha Tau "immature" whilst Ha Tau calls Ma Yau "heartless and wimpy". They don't like each other but they recognised each other's talent. I find their relationship so very real and so very humorous at times.

When Sue was coming over to the restaurant, look at how Ha Tau treated her. Rude but I would have done the same as he did but I don't have his guts.

Best Dialogues
The scene where Ha Tau wanted to fire Ma Yau and Joyce couldn't do it because she promised that Ma Yau will be in charge of the kitchen and the administration of the restaurant and so Joyce can't fire Ma Yau if he did nothing wrong. So Joyce told Ha Tau the best advice;

"You can learn from him, learn everything and then you can kick him out of the restaurant."

Very true don't you think? Ha Tau of course said yes, but half heartedly.

Any exchanges between Ha Tau and Ma Yau, with Ma Yau's infamous "Get out of my kitchen" and Ha Tau's "Ok, if you say so" and then Joyce would be the one to run after Ha Tau to beg him to come back.

And many more of course.

Worst Aspect
Every time the themesong is played. Like many many many times in this series until I am so sick of it. It wasn't even a good song and was badly sung by Miriam Yeung but hearing them again and again and again made me numb in my brain.

The ending was a bit rushed. I wouldn't mind an episode more to nicely close the chapter to the relationship between Joyce and Ma Yau.

Favourite Character
I quite like Joyce who is soft spoken and often bullied by her employees, Ma Yau included. But I don't like the way she handled the situation with Sue's coma. When she fired Ma Yau, I thought she shouldn't have done that. That isn't very nice, but Ma Yau was gentleman enough to simply walk away without a scream or fight. Of course Joyce felt guilty for what happened to Sue but frankly, that doesn't mean poor Ma Yau should be thrown aside, considering what he had done for the restaurant, he deserved a better farewell notice.

I quite like Gordon at first but when he became jealous of Ma Yau, I thought well understandable but when he plotted for the downfall of Hundred Miles Restaurant, that was when I agreed with what Candy said of him;

"What happened to you? What's wrong with you? You used to teach me good things and now...you used to be a gentleman...."

Ha Tau is not my favourite character though he is one character who is honest in the way he expresses himself and probably the only one who could think clearly amidst all the mess that Sue created, although he may be immature and sometimes irritating when things doesn't go his way. he is after all just a young man.

So my vote would be Ma Yau. I hated him at first but I thought this guy has got character. But when he mellowed down a bit and seeing the way he treated Candy, I thought this guy is actually a nice guy, but was an angry man because of the supposed betrayal by So Mei (Sue) 2 years before. Ha Tau called him wimpy, perhaps it's true since he obviously loved Joyce and yet he went with So Mei, for very good reasons of course. Definitely Ma Yau who takes his time to reveal to us his true nice self by slowly peeling away one layer at a time, the masks he was wearing to hide his true self and his pain. And ever notice this; he was so talented and yet he never fully realised his full talent, since he worked for small restaurants and even became a hawker. He certainly has an attitude problem which makes him a hot tempered and temperamental employee. But I still like him.

Most Hated Character
I so hate this character. So Mei or Sue. I can't understand why on earth Gordon loved her as much as he did. She seemed so pretentious when she was with Gordon and so desperate when she was with Ma Yau, especially the way she clung to him when Joyce was around. And even when she was in a coma, she could create havoc in people's life. She had the wonderful Gordon and yet she couldn't treasure that relationship because she felt that she was cheated of Ma Yau. That they both parted ways for trivial reasons. The reason why they could easily part perhaps as Ma Yau said; "Our foundation wasn't very strong". Even when Ma Yau repeatedly told her to forget the past and move on, this woman will cry, scream, cajole and practically crawl her way back to Ma Yau and in the process hurting Gordon, hurting Joyce and making Ma Yau a miserable man. Notwithstanding the fact that Gordon was ready to leave his high paying job and a great big promotion so that he could leave HK with her (she wanted to run away from Ma Yau at first, actually her way of dealing with things is either pretending nothing ever happened or to run and avoid the problem) and that Ma Yau was reluctant to accept the job offer in France (where she herself told everybody at Hundred Miles that Ma Yau has accepted the job offer), this woman still could not be satisfied or clear headed enough to see the real truth.

Perhaps I should rephrase that.

She knew Ma Yau loved Joyce but she pretended nothing ever happened. This is called lying to one self and in the end, she hurts only herself. I really really hate this woman.

Most Boring Character
Esther. Somebody please tell her to just shut up. She talks on and on and on and on....boring woman, no wonder Gordon looked at Sue rather than her.

Most Unbelievable Scenarios
Sue is a waitress. I assume Esther leads a comfortable life. But their apartment is way too big.

And Sue wanted to emigrate to another country. She is just a WAITRESS. Let's look at this practically. Even Stephen Chow with his millions and millions of dollars couldn't migrate to Canada, more so a waitress?! Come on, let's be logical. TVB always makes migrating to a country so easy. Hey! I may not even get a visa to visit USA more so migrate anywhere!

The way Joyce became a food critic. Ma Yau certainly taught her a lot but somehow, TVB makes changing jobs so easy. She so easily leave her kindergarten teaching job to run a restaurant and traveled 2 years and she became a famous food critic. So simple but not quite so in real life. You can of course run after your dreams but reality is, it's not that easy as depicted by TVB.

They were in a competition. Joyce was helping Ma Yau. See something wrong in this picture? What is Joyce doing in a cooking competition when she can't even cook right? Why not ask Fan Si, the assistant to assist? Why Joyce? Ahhhh.. to create the obligatory tension between the two of them. Lousy reason though.

Funniest Scene
One woman ate Ma Yau's food and she said his food was very delicious but lacked something.

"Lacks what?", asked Ma Yau.

And the lady answered in the most serious tone; "Compassion".

I was laughing so hard. Hmmm...how do you cook compassion? Clean a beggar and cook at the same time? Cry and cook at the same time? Hmmmmmmm....

Well she explained herself of course. She likes going to Hundred Miles every year not because the food is magnificent but because she likes the people in the restaurant whom she sees has known for years and they're all very close. So the food lacks closeness between individuals... Hmmm....still can't see how Ma Yau could cook a food like that!!

Classic response.

The Performances Evaluated
Not one excellent performance in here though I am very surprised by how some did so well.

Raymond Lam
First series I think and definitely over acted in some scenes, like really emotional. But his character, Ha Tau is very young and so very reckless and emotional. I thought he was such a joy to watch and he did a great job in conveying Ha Tau's stubbornness and immaturity.

Miriam Yeung
Never thought I could like her but I like her Candy. Her performance has certainly improved but I would have wished she had taken some speech lessons. Half the time she was mumbling her lines or talking with a mouth full of saliva, really lazy type of speech. But she was quite effective as the determined Candy and she looks good with Raymond Lam. They also have my vote for the Best Couple award because they were so very cute together.

Winnie Yeung
Some said she improved a lot, as Esther. I thought her performance as Esther was so pretentious and mediocre. I would have wanted to shut her up because as Esther, she talks too much. I don't like her performance which seems to cartoonish, too false and too happy go lucky-ish. Not one shred of jealousy when she realised Gordon loved Sue. Not even one hint. Such a nice person. I would have liked it if she feels something, like a bit of jealousy. So this character is not human at all and I feel Winnie Yeung made her even more unbelievable. And too preachy as well.

Suet Lei
Never liked her as an actress and in here, luckily she had little screen time and so I can stand her as Kuk, a happy go lucky woman who likes her son, shies away from responsibilities most of the time.

Joyce Tang
I hated her character but I thought she did well in conveying the insecurities of Sue, whom I loved to smack. I do think her character is a bit too fake but then since Sue never loved Gordon, I could believe those fake qualities, the pretentiousness of Sue as logical and believable. But frankly, she has little chemistry with Lawrence Ng. Looks forced but she certainly looks good with Joe Ma. They would have my vote as the Best Looking Couple.

Joe Ma
A very good performance. Nothing much to say except, he was very good. I never saw him as a villain, and his Gordon is a nice guy who misunderstood the whole situation at the end of the day. I don't hate his Gordon, in fact I pitied Gordon. He certainly deserved someone much better than that emotional wreck named Sue.

Flora Chan
Frankly, I thought she was a miscast. First of all, her Cantonese is a bit off. Second of all, she is playing someone whom I suspect is very young, naive, soft spoken and innocent and yet Flora has the face of a career woman, a strong woman and please forgive my language, a b***h, like the one in Healing Hands and Mr Diana (Feminine Masculinity). I can never buy her as someone who is young and soft spoken. The truth is she did her best in here, and gave one of her finest performance in her career, and she certainly looks pretty and sometimes young. But I wouldn't say she gave the best of all the performances by a female in this series because she was really horrible in the scene where she was crying and begging Ma Yau to accept the job offer in France. She over acted in that scene and it reminded me of her over the top crying scene from ATE which was such an embarrassing scene to watch. She certainly improved but I can't quite see her character as someone really young, and so when she acts really young and looks so mature, my only conclusion or my impression of Joyce Kiew Fa Chi as a person is that she is a bit of a featherweight in the brains department. At the end of the day, I like her Joyce, but I feel a younger looking actress or at least a more innocent looking actress would have made Kiew Fa Chi as more believable character to watch. With Flora Chan in this character, you would have to ignore many obvious facts and just stretch the limit of your imagination.

Hilary Tsui Ho Ying
Bland performance and nothing great with her performance. In fact, the worst performance. If I go on any further commenting about her performance, I am afraid I might offend her fans. Just let me put it this way; she was a eyesore not just in looks department but in her interpretation of the character she was playing. The 3 Bs would apply to her; Boring, Bland & Blahhhhhhh.

Lawrence Ng
I have been asked, quite often whether I am a fan of a certain actor or actress and if yes, how I could criticise them in certain series and yet praise them in the next. This is why. I do not believe in blind devotion. Some actors have their ups and downs, I'll criticise when I think they didn't do good enough and I'll praise if I think they did well. I don't care if they're my favourite whatever. To me, I rather look at the performance rather than the person, which is why I am often accused of biasness when I praise those I like and yet accused of being disloyal when I criticised the very same person I have praised many many times. It's quite hard to make a reader understand my point of view, but do take Lawrence Ng as an example.

Everybody knows that I am not a Lawrence Ng's fan. I have never been his fan even when he was mega famous in Healing Hands or even in later series for example, HSDS 2000, where his performances left much to be desired. You have got to give this guy some credit; he is not afraid of the possibility of making a fool out of himself by acting in a role that many deemed him as unsuitable and he is certainly not afraid to take on roles that has a streak of meanness, as long as at the end of the day the role he had is a good guy, deep down in his heart, guts and lungs.

And so I will have to admit; this guy is a revelation in this series. I do think there must be some truth in this observation; that when an actor plays someone close to the real him, he often does it well. As Ma Yau, Lawrence Ng in my opinion gave his finest performance. I like his Ma Yau who is my favourite character and Lawrence Ng gave such an excellent interpretation of this obnoxious man, I do think in real life Lawrence Ng must be someone arrogant, obnoxious, egoistical but you must take time to really peel away his masks to know the real him. When he snaps back at Ha Tau or the way he looks at Candy with this softness in his eyes, or the guilt he has when looking at Sue or when he looks at Joyce with admiration, respect and love, I do think of him as attractive and he possesses this handsomeness I have never seen in him. I wouldn't say he was flawless in this series as he overacted in some emotional scenes. Certainly he has got his voice acting right and he does have a mesmerizing voice sometimes but take note of his hand movements and body language. He certainly seems unsure as to where to put his hands, where to point, when to move. Ignore all that and just listen to him explain how to cook a certain dish, and he can be so very convincing as a chef. The chemistry he shares with Flora seems lacking at first but look for those stolen glances, those longing stares and of course, those angst looks that he will give Flora as Joyce and vice versa. Put them together into one scene and you could almost see fireworks, well ALMOST. Look for scenes of the way he talks to Miriam as Candy, and you will certainly like his Ma Yau. I could see a difference between his Ma Yau when he was with Joyce Tang's So Mei, his Ma Yau before the appearance of Flora's Joyce and of course, the great big transformation when he realised he loved Flora's Joyce. The sudden changes in his tone, his voice, and the way he looked at everybody. The best performance in this series. And I just realised he didn't wear his glasses in this series, which makes him less educated looking and certainly quite angry and sarcastic looking.

Everybody Else
Even that old man whom I had said can't act did very well in this series because he had little scenes. Everybody has their share of the story in this series and I thought everybody did well, especially Liu ka Chi as the perpetual gambler and Tang Siu Juen as Fan Si. I have always liked Tang Siu Juen as an actor, he may not have the looks but he certainly could act if given an opportunity.

Verdict
A must rent. If you like Lawrence Ng, watch this series and you'll love him. One of the best and well acted as a cast of a series that I have seen this year and highly entertaining as well.

Rating
N/A


Most Interesting Names
All the names have something to do with food.

So Mei - fish
Ma Yau -fish ( I had Ma Yau for lunch earlier!!)
Ha Tau - Shrimp Head
Kong Yew Chu - scallop (could also be dried scallop, definitely not shark fins)
Lung Chi San - I guess some superior part of an animal or something
Tim - Candy
Fan Si - noodles (you know, "Eat Fan Si like it is shark fins?")


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