Fermentation Family - Korean Drama

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  • Drama: Fermentation Family (literal title)
  • Revised romanization: Balhyogajog
  • Hangul: 발효가족
  • Director: Park Chan-Hong
  • Writer: Kim Ji-Woo
  • Network: jTBC
  • Episodes: 24
  • Release Date: December 7, 2011 -- February 23, 2012
  • Runtime: Wednesday & Thursday 21:00
  • Language: Korean
  • Country: South Korea


Set within the famous Korean restaurant Chunjiin, known especially for their kimchi dish. Ko Ho-Tae (Song Il-Kook), who grew up as an orphan, begins to work at the restaurant.

Ho-Tae was abandoned in front of an orphanage when he was only 4 years old. He then left the orphanage at the age of 18 and soon became involved with the mafia. More recently, the #1 crime boss in his group was hospitalized. The #2 man in their crime group begins a loan sharking business. Ho-Tae doesn't like the #2 guy or the loan sharking business.

One day, Ho-Tae goes to a western food restaurant where a woman named Kang-San (Park Jin-Hee) works. Ho-Tae arrives to meet a man who is in debt to the crime group for a past loan. Ho-Tae warns the man that he has only 2 days left to pay back the loan plus interest. While eating his lunch, he also complains about the salad. Kang-San overhears Ho-Tae's complaint about the salad and asks exactly what is wrong with the salad. Then, Ho-Tae's subordinate's phone rings and they leave with the man in debt to them. Kang-San becomes worried about the guy in debt and goes out to stop them from taking him. Before they leave, Ho-Tae tells her that that the salad is overpriced and too sweet. More vinegar would make the salad much better.

On the roof a building, the #2 crime boss demands the indebted man to give up his $500,000 dollar apartment as compensation for his $50,000 dollar debt. Ho-Tae finally reaches his boiling point and snaps. He beats up the other gang members including the #2 crime boss. Afterwards Ho-Tae eats lunch at a restaurant which he isn't happy with. He sees on TV at the restaurant a story about Chunjin Restaurant. Ho-Tae feels something from the story. He decides to go to Chunjin Restaurant. He stands in front of Chunjin Restaurant and remembers years back when he stood there as a young child. Ho-Tae then receives a phone call from his subordinate.

Meanwhile, Kang-San decides to add vinegar to the salad dressing and, to her surprise, notices that the salad tastes much better. At that time, she receives a phone call from her sister Woo-Joo (Lee Min-Young) who informs her that she has to come home on her dad's birthday.

Ho-Tae arrives at a junk yard to meet his subordinate, but finds himself surrounded by other gang members from his group. Ho-Tae is beaten and, during this time, a car with a siren blaring arrives in front of Ho-Tae. The driver from the car gets out. To Ho-Tae's surprise, the driver is Kang-San (the woman from the western restaurant). Kang-San takes Ho-Tae away and tries to take him to a hospital, but he refuses.

The next morning, Ho-Tae wakes up in a strange room. Ho-Tae remembers being the room when he very young. Ho-Tae goes out of the room and meets all of the family members from Chunjin Restaurant. Kang-San's father Ki-Chan (Kang Shin-Il) asks Ho-Tae to stay at Chunjiin Restaurant a couple of more days. A man then arrives offering to buy Chunjin Restaurant but Ki-Chan kicks him out. Kang-San and her sister Woo-Joo have arguments over Chunjin Restaurant and personal matters. Kang-San wants to sell Chunjin Restaurant, but her sister Woo-Joo wants her to quit her job at the western restaurant and take over Chunjin.

The next day, Ho-Tae still can't remember exactly why Chunjin Restaurant is so familiar to him and decides to ask Ki-Chan. But, Ki-Chan is gone and left behind a note saying it's up to you whether to sell Chunjin Restaurant and I have to go take care of something. All of the people at Chunjin Restaurant are dumbfounded.

Ho-Tae leaves without an answer. He goes to meet his subordinate who asks Ho-Tae to hide until the #1 crime boss recovers. Without Ho-Tae, the #1 crime boss can't get control back.

Meanwhile, at Chunjin Restaurant, Kang-San and Woo-Joo do not know what to do. With the help of longtime employee Do-Sik (Choi Jae-Sung) they are able to open up for business, but Kang-San is still thinking about going back to work at the western restaurant. Woo-Joo then tells her sister that she called the western restaurant and informed them that she quit. Kang-San immediately calls the western restaurant to tell them she will still work there, but is informed they already hired her replacement. Kang-San now decides to stay at Chunjin Restaurant until her father comes back. Ho-Tae then comes back to Chunjin Restaurant ...


  1. Filming began late September, 2011.
  2. "Fermentation Family" is followed by "A Wife's Credentials" on February 29, 2012.


Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Song Il-Guk 1.jpg Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Park Jin-Hee 1.jpg Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Lee Min-Young.jpg Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Choi Jae-Sung 1.jpg Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Kang Shin-Il 1.jpg
Song Il-Kook Park Jin-Hee Lee Min-Young Choi Jae-Sung Kang Shin-Il
Ki Ho-Tae Lee Kang-San Lee Woo-Joo Kang Do-Sik Lee Ki-Chan
Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Kim Young-Hoon 1.jpg Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Yoon Hee-Soo.jpg Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Lee Dae-Geun.jpg Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Kim Byeong-Chun.jpg Fermentation Family (Korean Drama)-Lee Il-Hwa.jpg
Kim Young-Hoon Yoon Hee-Soo Lee Dae-Geun Kim Byung-Choon Lee Il-Hwa
Oh Hae-Joon Na Eun-Bi Mr. Sul Han Pyung-Man Jung Geum-Joo

Additional Cast Members:



Leave a Comment


random1 love this drama, i kept salivating at all the meals lol. i checked the cast list and i can't seem to find the actress for the female reporter from ki ho tae and hyun soon's orphanage. does anyone know who she is?

Aj This is one of the sweetest love stories in KDrama. It is also a warm story about family with a dash of mystery, heartache, humor, reconciliation and so much more. I have loved SIG since Jumong and have seen most of his work: this is my favorite of all his performances. He develops such a strong, touching character; plus he and PJH light up the screen in a mature, funny, beautiful romance.

Tony Reynolds I have recently discover Drama Fever via Roku in the USA. My wife and I are really into Korean dramas. We really like Fementation Family - called Kimchi Family with English subtitles through Drama Fever. I am still feeling my way to learn more of the details. Does anyone know where in Korea this was filmed? Where is the house/restaurant located? I did find the official website but I do not read Korean.

Virtue One of my favorite kdramas. Worth watching. I am always excited what kimchi to prepare every episode. Like the actors and actresses, too. Also, one can learn so many lessons in life here. I urge everyone to watch this.

Gift Alex intelligent, active, wonderful in acting and very lovely oppa, ride on. love your acting.

herbmom Beautifully photographed film. Strong story lines. Good acting. Loved the life lessons that came from the foods prepared. Warm, entertaining drama. Only wish was for a bit more romance, although the one kiss was pretty good.

mercy song ll Guk is very intelligent guy and keep it up

cristy ramboyong nice drama series...i've already finished to watch this series...i am also touch the series...and of course song il gook is my idol..all of his movie or drama series are so nice...hi song!!!i hope mor movies and tv series to come...u are very handsome and ur still young....pls..send me ur message personally.just happy moment...thank you...

Jewels This was a beautifully done series. I've been away from Korea for 40 years and this is the first time that I was actually homesick for the land, the culture and the people. Story of what makes a family and cultivating relationships, old or new, were heart warming. The scenery shots in the series were simply breathtaking to me. Just Loved it!

dodz Haven't posted in an online forum for a long while but I feel the urge to do this now after having just completed watching this drama series. It's been a long while since a book I've read or a movie or drama I've watched has spoken to me so clearly, so movingly and so personally as this drama has, It's not just about kimchi-making. It's also about how the making of kimchi is so closely tied to the life you've led and are leading & to the people you've met and are with in your life. More so, the story of making kimchi is wonderfully wrapped up with the core idea of the importance of the ability to accept yourself (flaws and all) and your place in life among the people that matters to you. All the characters (major and minor) have unitedly performed so well to bring about a sense of wholesomeness to this drama series. There is no other word than the word 'superb' to describe Song il Gook's portrayal of Ki Ho Tae or Ko Han Dol in this drama. There is such a great scent of invigorating freshness to the idea of humanity after watching this drama. I do thank everyone involved in the production of this series for such a beautiful piece of work.

jb i'm only on episode 5, but already its becoming one of my favorite dramas i've seen in a while. Each character is played so well by the actor/actresses

NewKDramaAddict Excellent drama! Watched it twice!

Gasenadi Who plays Chairman Oh's 2% Mistress? A familiar face with more exposure than the "movie star and family".

Gasenadi Who plays Ho Tae as a child? I could understand leaving some of the cameos from the credits. But these are two characters (the Chairman's Sec. and Ho Tae, child) that repeatedly appear and are crucial to the understanding of the storyline. Saludos desde Puerto Rico.

Gasenadi Who plays the Chairman's Secretary, Woo Tae Bok? He's not listed in the credits which is strange, it's an important role. Otherwise, a very entertaining drama. Another one where we're invited to empathize with the orphaned gangster trying to rehabilitate himself. The music is also unique to this drama. Just love it. Saludos desde Puerto Rico.

Leah Fermantation Family is Perfect!!!! Jung Ae Ri great acting too. Congrats to the whole cast!

Jana Thank you so much for another great show. I just love the way how Kimchi is a way of life and family. The show really brings together suffering and love in a beautiful way. I can't believe that Song Il Guk can play all these different roles. I still refer to him as Jumong. All his different father loss scenes are amazing. I just miss Tae Kwon Do in this show. Maybe next time again.  :D

jomapu He is a wonderful actor. Can suit any place in the drama. This is good drama...I love it

songj-je I'm sure that you will be good as always My Dear Song Il-gook.Wish you Luck!

kathybourdon can't wait,,, i always like too see song il guk's act since i saw him at Jumong... hwaiting oppa :)

rory I look forward to watching the movie! Obviously SIG will be the best as usual!

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