We just love a good love story. The romance genre is timeless and enduring. It’s a genre many film directors have fallen back on because of the high demand from audiences. And Korean dramas, of course, are full of that aforementioned cheesy attractive romance. So, why are Korean Drama romances so loveable?
We viewers love the thrill of the chase. The suspense of watching love unfold and gradually grow. Like a satisfying reward after a long-drawn-out wait, edged on by the wholesome romantic moments weaved nicely into each episode.
Playing together under the water sprinklers and laughing under the moonlight. Going on a date at the amusement park wearing matching animal ears. These sweet slice-of-life moments make us squeal and cheer for these characters as we slowly become invested in them.
And with that, with no spoilers, of course, we have listed our four romantic Korean drama recommendations that you most definitely should try watching!
Megan: I watch my K Dramas at 1.5x Speed… “it's about drive it's about power we stay hungry we devour.” What about you Brando?
Brandon: Woah woah…calm down there!! It’s normal speed for me, so that I can enjoy every single bit of idealized love & laughter ~ (even if it makes me feel even more single…)
Megan: Ah…I see. It’s ok Brandon watching sweet Korean drama couples no matter the speed gives single people like us hope? I guess? HAHAHA
Brandon: Well…that’s very optimistic of you…HAHAHA. ANYWAY without further ado, let’s see which of our dreamy couples made the list!
Hotel Del Luna
Megan: 7/10 (A good fantasy drama dealing with several heavy topics! Yet could have been more relatable)
Brandon: Haven’t watched it yet! (but definitely on the list!)
Only appearing at night, the hotel’s guests and staff are ghosts who are unable to cross the bridge into the afterlife due to unfinished business they still have in the living world.
Jang Man-wol is a strict and hot-tempered female hotel owner who is tied to her hotel after committing a sin about a thousand years ago.
Gu Chan-sung, an assistant manager for a multi-national hotel corporation from the living world, meets Man-wol years after his father had signed a contract with her in order to save his own life. The contract states that Chan-sung has to work for Man-wol. His employment at the hotel sets about a series of events in which the secrets and past of the hotel and Man-wol are slowly revealed.
Just what do the gods have in store for Man-wol and Chan-sung?
I watched this show way back in 2019. The show has managed to stick with me given its unique plot and memorable strong and feisty female lead Man-wol. (Her dramatic shouting and eye-rolling is something I find really relatable…)
Hard topics such as trying to overcome the loss of a loved one were touched on well. If we love someone, we must come to terms with whether we are willing to go through that painful inevitable goodbye to them when they pass on.
The supernatural plot also curiously dabbles with interesting unanswered and debatable questions such as what happens after death, toying with the ideas of reincarnation, the afterlife and retribution.
That said, the show wasn’t one I related to or could parallel with my own life and it wasn’t a show I really remembered for the love plot either. But if you love the dynamic of a confident and bossy girlfriend with a scaredy-cat boyfriend, then this show is for you!
Side note: Watch this funny compilation of Man-wol’s dramatic screaming in the hotel! What a sassy queen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLfKZlS3IbQ
I’ve only caught glimpses of this show through brief compilations on YouTube or the occasional Instagram K-drama edits. From what I know though, IU playing the strong confident partner of the relationship is already a pretty good reason to tune in.
The emotional weight of loss, grief and memory is also a compelling one with lots to unpack but I can see how fans of a typical feel-good romantic comedy may be less inclined to watch this. Nevertheless, I’d be willing to give this a shot, especially considering it’s one of the most-watched dramas of 2019.
Megan: 9/10 (!!!) (My love for this show is as big as my fictional black credit card…)
Brandon: 8/10! (Nothing but pure, cheesy and hilarious love <3 but I wish it had more time)
Business Proposal is a romantic comedy based on a webtoon of the same name. The show begins with Shin Ha-ri agreeing to be set on a blind date, taking her best friend Jin Young-seo’s place in order to scare off Young-seo’s prospective husband.
However, things take an unexpected turn when she goes disguised as Young-seo but her blind date turns out to be her boss, Kang Tae-moo! Tae-moo himself is in his own awkward predicament and is in need of a girlfriend in order to appease his grandfather.
Tae-moo, taking interest in Ha-ri’s blunt and informal mannerisms, proposes a business proposal in which they pretend to be in a relationship. Will they succeed in fooling everyone? Or does love have other plans for this unexpected duo?
This show has to be my favourite Korean drama of all time! There were so many adorable little bits where I was squealing and laughing excitedly, swishing my tablet up and down!
What’s more, the show’s romantic bits rarely come off as too over the top and have a more slice-of-life tone to them. They have dates at everyday locations such as cooking fried chicken together at their local fried chicken restaurant.
They also get to know each other better at their workplace of course. That sneaky office romance between the CEO and his employee definitely gave opportunities for the scriptwriters to strike comedy gold.
I felt like I learnt about how love goes both ways in a relationship. Characters both care for each other in mutual quality time and acts of service.
They also get to know each other's secrets and pasts before deciding they are in love with each other. Such challenges the idea of “falling” in love and that love should be built and developed over time.
All in all, there's this idea that love comes unexpectedly and that the world may have something in store for you would not have expected it. It is a really wholesome dynamic, discussing how love transcends backgrounds and occupations.
Shoutout to the second lead couple between Tae Moo’s secretary Cha Sung-hoon, who is the perfect embodiment of an attractive flower boy, and Young-Seo! Their “hyper girlfriend calm boyfriend” dynamic is priceless!
Side note: The OST for Business Proposal is a great listen! Feel like you’ve stepped into the drama itself and romanticised your life. I love listening to this on my bike rides or when I am in the kitchen cooking. My favourite song is ‘You Are Mine’. Click the link to the album here: https://open.spotify.com/album/3mus1JiTJRZUfhOExy71lY?si=i1ug_-S6Q_6eY6fwdgbUZQ
This show was an absolute blast for me to watch. Ever since the very first episode, I was hooked by the well-written dialogues and scenes as well as the sheer audacity of them to give us viewers the most rom-comiest rom-com I’ve seen in a long while.
Although the classic rom-com trope of pretending to be someone else while on a date has been done many times before, Business Proposal’s iteration never felt cliche or forced.
Instead, it was so refreshingly funny and I loved that they even poked fun at the typical romance tropes WHILE unabashedly leaning into those very same cheesy scenes themselves.
The relationships depicted were extremely wholesome in their displays of love and what it means to care for each other. Like Megan mentioned, the idea that love should not be defined by someone’s background or status was also a great message they conveyed.
Finally, even if rom-coms aren’t your thing, give this a try just for the amazing chemistry between the cast. Not just the romantic ones mind you, the bromance between the male leads and the dramatic sisterhood of the female leads were often the highlights of many episodes for me.
Brandon: 9/10!! (very emotional, very inspiring but also very real..)
Megan: I just started watching the show! (Brandon’s time to flex his favourite show)
Twenty-Five, Twenty-One is a romantic drama that depicts the relationships and lives of five characters across the years 1998 to 2021. As her daughter stumbles upon her diary in the present day, Na Hee-do’s story of young love and youthful struggles unfolds.
In the wake of the IMF Crisis where dreams seem out of reach, Na Hee-do is an ambitious teen fencer who is determined to reach the pinnacle of her sport. She meets a hardworking young man named Baek Yi-jin, who went from ‘riches to rags’ and is seeking to rebuild his life and family.
Over the span of several years, we see the relationship between Hee-do and Yi-jin develop as they navigate their respective careers and the trials of adulthood.
I really loved this show for two main reasons - the chemistry between not just the main leads, but all 5 core characters as well as the realistic depiction of how difficult growing up can be.
While this isn’t a super fun and cheesy romance like some of our other favourite dramas, I think it’s even more appealing precisely because the romance isn’t overdone and it just feels so real (but don’t be fooled, this show is hilarious in its own right).
Na Hee-do & Baek Yi-jin’s mutual support and adoration for each other serve as the focal point of the show and it’s incredibly heartwarming to see them pursue their dreams because they feel so inspired by the other person.
The fencing aspect of the show is equally captivating as well, from the tension they build during competitions, to the cathartic relief of Na Hee-do when she wins a match.
Furthermore, the relationship with her rival, Ko Yu-rim, is one of the best I’ve seen in any drama (maybe more so than the romance if I’m being honest)
Now I can’t say for certain because well, I didn’t exist yet…but from what I’ve heard, the show also does a brilliant job of capturing the nostalgic setting of the late 90s.
There’s something quite charming about seeing people form genuine friendships and relationships in a time when it was not quite so convenient to do so. Not to mention, it’s absolutely hilarious when they scoff at the idea that handphones could one day be used to watch videos.
I only recently started watching the first two episodes of this sixteen-episode series, won over by the show's promises of a blast to the past and TikTok edits of the “hyper girlfriend calm boyfriend” dynamic of the leading couple.
I especially love the lovable and hyperactive Na Hee-do! I find her really relatable and someone very alike to me. From her dramatic reactions and her energetic playfulness.
Brandon: 9.5/10!! (maybe a lil biased but this show has everything I love ~)
Megan: 5/10 (an interesting slow-paced drama at a chill beach town…maybe a little too slow)
Set against the peaceful backdrop of a small seaside town, Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha tells the story of Yoon Hye-jin, an ambitious yet affable dentist who leaves her big office job in Seoul and decides to set up a dental clinic in Gongjin.
After a series of unfortunate mishaps, she encounters village chief Hong Du-sik, a jack-of-all-trades handyman who does just about everything and is respected by just about everyone.
Chief Hong’s cavalier and easy-going nature clashes with Hye-jin’s more pragmatic and conservative mindset at first, but their repeated encounters makes them realise that perhaps there’s more to life than what they knew.
If there’s one word to describe this drama, it’s wholesome. There’s something inherently peaceful about watching people go about their lives in a small seaside village and the interactions between our leads make it ever so entertaining.
It also balances its rom-com moments brilliantly with emotional beats, creating a captivating story that’ll have you binging this in no time.
The slice-of-life nature of the series is further complemented by the presence of the other residents in the town, all of whom have their own unique personalities and engaging stories.
Instead of being relegated to minor roles, the supporting casts also have their fair share of the spotlight - a nice change of pace compared to other dramas that tend to focus only on the main actors.
I would say that I can see why the show is enjoyed and well-loved by many. Just like Brando mentions, it has this really wholesome energy especially since it is set in a small fishing town.
It really shows how such towns embrace different people and support one another in their small community with their neighbourly acts of kindness.
I think for me, however, I didn’t finish the show and stopped midway because it felt like a slow-paced show where the plot revolves around them going around town and dealing with people’s problems.
Plus, the dynamic of the main lead couple was not as impactful to me. Maybe cause they were always quarrelling and had a dynamic more similar to siblings. People may enjoy this dynamic however so I would say give this show a shot if you resonate with what Brandon’s thoughts are!
And there you have it! Hopefully, you give these shows a try and we hope you enjoy all that cheesy yet loveable romance that's to come!
written by : Brando and Megan