The Weekend Binge: “Youn’s Stay”

Take a break from k-dramas this weekend and settle in for a virtual vacation with a reality/variety show involving travel, good food, and some A-list actors. Twelve episodes with an average run-time of 100 minutes equals a weekend virtual staycation in the beautiful Gurye County.


The Plot


Celebrities (including Academy Award-winning Youn Yuh-jung) become management and staff at a hanok (traditional Korean house) catering to foreigners living in South Korea. Youn’s Stay is a pivot on Youn’s Kitchen, a tvN reality show where well-known actors and actresses were tasked to open and run a restaurant in foreign countries (Indonesia and Spain, respectively). The unexpected pandemic and lockdown made it difficult to film abroad. For its third iteration, the show production stayed in South Korea.


The guesthouse in South Jeolla province offered an overnight stay including meals to a variety of foreigners who had been living in the country for less than year. The picturesque location gave visitors a chance to spend the night in a hanok, enjoy delicious meals, and relax in a safe space. This short vacation allowed guests to experience local culture and food, since they hadn’t been in Korea for very long and most likely hadn’t been able to explore due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.


The Review


Korean culture often touches on the concept of “healing” and there is definitely something healing about watching Youn’s Stay. The guests arrive and settle in, explore the immediate surroundings, get to know each other, and tuck into tasty dishes. The groups that arrive range from families with kids to college friends to work colleagues to couples. The dynamics are different with every wave of check-ins, making for interesting episodes. It’s also amusing to see the moment they realize that the staff at their lodgings are people they’ve heard of or seen on the big screen. (A particularly funny encounter has one guest mention Parasite to Choi Woo-sik, who then replies that he was actually in the movie.)


Interspersed with these scenes are ones of the celebrities working hard to ensure that each group has the most relaxing time. Watching Jung Yu-mi and Park Seo-joon whip up delectable meals like seasoned pros, Choi Woo-sik (a new addition to the cast) run about as the all-around employee, all overseen by veterans Youn Yung-juh and Lee Seo-jin is entertaining and relaxing at the same time.

Stream It: if you want to take a short vacation to the countryside, catch glimpses of the off-screen personas of some celebs, while drooling over good food. (Watch after meals or with a snack nearby.)


Skip It: if your reality show preferences run more towards fast-paced, high-tension, competitions. This is definitely the polar opposite of that.


Youn’s Stay is streaming now on Viu Philippines.

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