It turns out Qing said a lot more than just “I will always be by your side.” She also said some nice things about how she’ll share her love for cooking with Ting En until he can rediscover his own joy. And how it’s okay for him to feel lost and directionless and homeless. She’ll be his home and be with him wherever he goes. She’ll protect him. He leans for the kiss and this time she doesn’t shy away. They make out in the pouring rain, then eventually move to shelter and do a bit more than just make out…
Poor Ah Wei seems to have stayed up all night again waiting for Qing. Xiao Bin stayed the night at Qing’s mom’s place for some reason, and in the morning he and Ah Wei bicker, but then Ah Wei asks him if he would be interested in managing a new restaurant. Xiao Bin is hesitant to help his best friend’s rival, but Ah Wei invites him downstairs to chat more. By the time Ting En and Qing get back, they’re buddies.
Qing’s mother and brother prep a room for Ting En. Ah Wei shows Qing the money he fundraised from their friends and family and said that he already got Xiao Bin onboard to manage. Ting En… doesn’t have a role, because Qing will be the head chef, but maybe he can do dishes or something? Ah Wei, seemingly a bit jealous that Ting En is staying with Qing’s family, reminds him that he has to contribute something to the family and can’t just expect to be given free food and housing.
Ting En sits in the bathroom, a far cry from the luxury of his own place, and wonders why he feels so lost when this freedom from La Mure, the Huo family, and Yanisi is everything he’s wanted. He can’t contribute much to the Weis, but he can clean the bathroom. So he does that.
Afterward, he finds himself dressed like a boho hippie buying groceries from street stalls. He wanders around feeling out of place, yet he also seems to enjoy himself. After spotting a poor man sitting despondently on the street, he asks to borrow a street hawker’s food cart and cooks up a meal for the street hawker and for the poor man.
When he gets back to Qing’s building, all he has is a daikon radish and a carrot. He runs into Ru Xi, who is shocked to see his appearance and says that she and her dad can help him. One phone call and he can be working at any number of fine dining restaurants. He belongs there, not here in some ragtag clothes buying groceries on the street. But Ting En responds that maybe fine dining is not what he wants to do. He can tell that Ru Xi is turned off by his appearance and calls her out on it. She doesn’t respond, but Qing comes downstairs and says, “I like him like this.” They go upstairs.
Ah Wei, always looking to stir trouble, asks why Ting En was gone for so long but only has two vegetables. He complains that the rest of the night market fam will be hard at work and they want to eat meat, not two measly vegetables.
While they all head off to work, Ting En is bored out of his mind at home. He ends up trying to figure out a way to make “meat” from the ingredients he has at hand, and finally comes up with a “meat” patty, which he delivers to the night market. Turns out it’s not meat – it’s tofu. Ting En spots Ah Wei’s “Help Wanted” sign and decides that he’ll help Ah Wei out as his new employee.
After they close up shop, Qing stays up trying to brainstorm recipes for her new restaurant. Ting En offers to help, but she rejects his offer saying she wants to figure it out on her own now. She asks him what he was doing when he was shopping for groceries. He tells her about cooking on the street and talks about how he’s trying to figure out who he wants to be and what he wants to do. He used to think being a chef was about being in the kitchen, but now he’s realized that seeing a customer’s smile is most important to him. So he plans on being a chef and cooking for people without opening a restaurant.
Tian Zhi drinks moodily by himself and reflects on the past few days. He’s troubled by Ting En’s fall — which he forced — and he doesn’t like that Yu Qing was scheming behind his back. He calls Yu Qing out to meet him. They argue about her motives and whether she actually loves him or not – she refuses to say she does, and Tian Zhi thinks she’s only in it for his family status. She claims she does everything for him. Besides, she’s backed by his mother. But Tian Zhi is done with all that and breaks up with her.
Yu Qing cries as she walks away, but then steels herself and says to herself that she knows what she wants.
Ru Xi drinks by herself as she broods over how Ting En was correct in his assessment of her: she was turned off by his appearance. No wonder he doesn’t want her. But she’s interrupted in her pity party by a phone call from Tian Zhi, who says that he’s in the worst mood and could use some company. Nice.
They end up drinking together. Tian Zhi offers Ru Xi a shoulder to cry on, which she accepts.
Ting En and Qing end up late night cooking. He teaches her how to make currywurst and tells her about the history behind the dish. Of course, there’s a romantic backstory involving star-crossed lovers and World War II Germany.
Tian Zhi and Ru Xi end up wasted and stumbling together on the streets. All sorts of confessions come out. But there’s a real big zinger: Tian Zhi tells Ru Xi that he’s not actually a member of the Huo family. His mother had an affair. His mother doesn’t even know that he knows.
Tian Zhi has known since high school and blames himself for not telling anyone earlier. If he did, then maybe Ting En wouldn’t have been kicked out. Yet he also can’t say anything because he wants to protect his mother.
Ru Xi drunkenly says that she thinks Tian Zhi is a great person and doesn’t care about who he is. She might be drunk but it’s definitely heartfelt.
The next morning, Ting En and Qing are cooking breakfast when Ah Wei shows up. She asks him if he remembers a recipe they once made together. Upon hearing the ingredients, Ting En names a dish, but neither Ah Wei nor Qing knew it was called that. I’m not sure why this matters but I’m sure it will somehow be significant next episode?
Meanwhile, Tian Zhi wakes up, hungover and half-naked. He stumbles into his clothes, then stumbles into a wall and finally realizes that he’s not in his own room. He checks the bed… it’s Ru Xi. And she’s also naked. Oops.
DAMN. Didn’t see that coming. The Tian Zhi being an illegitimate son part. Ru Xi and Tian Zhi? Anyone could see that coming.
I’ve been really curious about this episode because I’ve seen multiple reviews stating they felt the show should’ve ended at 17 episodes. What about these 17 episodes felt so conclusive? And what did they dislike about the last five? I can probably guess.
This episode wasn’t really about Qing and Ting En. They already established themselves last episode. This episode was about each of them trying to figure out themselves — Ting En trying to figure out who he is without his Huo family identity, and Qing figuring out who she is now that she has the freedom to branch out on her own. But I feel like the main focus of this episode was Tian Zhi, and I’m glad he got the screen time. Tian Zhi did so many out-of-character things last episode that it’s good to finally clarify that he did not suddenly have a personality change. He has an ulterior motive and not necessarily an evil one. It feels like he and Ru Xi have the more cliche rom-com drama in store for them though…