‘Korean Hostel in Spain’ is open for business

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‘Korean Hostel in Spain’ is open for business


Left: A promotional poster for “Korean Hostel in Spain.” Right: From left, co-producers Na Yeong-seok and Jang Eun-jung, as well as scriptwriter Kim Dae-joo introduce the new series at a press briefing in Mapo District, western Seoul, on Tuesday. [TVN]

The producers and cast members of “Three Meals a Day” are returning with another cooking show, but this time, they’re going to Spain to feed hungry hikers.

“Korean Hostel in Spain,” a new tvN reality series kicking off tonight, places actors Cha Seung-won, Yoo Hae-jin and Bae Jung-nam along the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, where people from all over the world come to reflect on their lives or challenge themselves. There, the three cast members will operate an albergue - a traditionally cheap hostel for pilgrims on the arduous trek - and provide shelter and warm, homemade food for Korean hikers looking to spend the night.

Cha, who earned the title “Chajumma” for his remarkable cooking skills on “Three Meals a Day,” is in charge of cooking on the team, while Yoo is the trusty handyman who builds useful tools and cleans the rooms. Bae, the youngest, helps with what he can and shops for groceries at local markets.

The idea for the new series originated from a desire to recreate “Three Meals a Day” abroad in a meaningful location and share Cha’s delicious creations with the people who most need it, according to co-producer Na Yeong-seok.

“We’ve considered going to several different places, including the Himalayas in Nepal,” Na recalled during a press briefing in Mapo District, western Seoul on Tuesday ahead of the series’ launch.

“Then we thought of the Santiago trail. Korea is in a difficult place now, especially for young people. We heard that many young Koreans come to this trail to organize their thoughts during difficult times, so we thought it would be meaningful to provide them a place where they can eat Korean food.”

“Korean Hostel in Spain” is not going to be a sentimental self-improvement TV show where those making the trek share their personal stories, however.

“With Cha in the kitchen, it was up to Yoo to attend to the guests and ask why they’ve come and what kind of concerns they have. But he didn’t ask any of those questions, arguing that they would be meaningless when the hikers probably came here because they were going through a difficult time. We, as producers, learned a lot from him.”

The staff behind “Korean Hostel in Spain” worked hard to make their albergue as realistic as possible. All guests pay 5 euros ($5.70) a night for accommodations, and separate fees are charged for the meals. Guests do not make reservations, but instead come at random times after seeing the hostel advertised on a signboard written in Korean.

“Korean Hostel in Spain” airs on Fridays at 9:10 p.m. on tvN.

BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]
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