Cover Choi Ung and Kook Yeong-su in "Our Beloved Summer". Photo: Netflix

From #BinJin and #ChaCenzo to #SikHye and #IkSong, these sweethearts are definitely worth shipping

K-dramas remain as South Korea’s most consumed cultural content export according to the study titled, Global Hallyu Trends 2021 by the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange, and its continued success is attributed to two factors: solid and well-structured storylines; and attractive actors. And we couldn’t agree more.  

Through the years, the Korean entertainment industry has been consistently giving us the most out-of-the-box storylines one could ever imagine. South Korean actors, writers, directors and producers are incredibly talented too, and as proof are several prestigious international awards that they have earned in recent years including the Oscar’s, Golden Globe and Cannes. On top of this, they seem to be exceptionally good at casting actors, and where the romance genre is concerned, they almost always come up with the most swoon-inducing pairs to grace the screens. 

Who could ever forget the couple from Lovers in Paris in 2004, who swept the world by storm at a time when Netflix as a video streaming platform was not a thing yet? Or the phenomenal tandem of Gong Yoo and Kim Go-eun in Guardian: The Lonely and Great God? What about the North-vs-South love affair of Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin in Crash Landing on You, which eventually turned into a real-life romance? While the list of notable Korean drama couples goes on, we have selected 12 of our all-time favourites in no particular order. Help yourselves and fall in love with them all over again. 

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1. Choi Ung and Kook Yeon-soo, "Our Beloved Summer" (2022)

Leaving us all smitten early this year are Our Beloved Summer’s 29-year-old lovers Choi Ung (played by Korean-Canadian actor Choi Woo-shik of Parasite and Train to Busan fame) and Kook Yeon-su (played by Itaewon Class’ Kim Da-mi), who taught us that growth, on top of genuine love, plays a key role in a relationship. The premise of the story is simple: two exes who meet again after 10 years to do a documentary following the viral success of their original video from a decade ago. A free-spirited artist, Ung is someone who likes to take things slow, while Yeon-su is a fierce, smart, independent, and realistic PR expert who has a clear vision of what she wants to be in life. 

Even if they were separated from each other for a decade, the deep connection between them naturally resonates, as seen in the way they react and look at each other. Despite their complicated feelings and situations, Ung and Yeon-su proved two things: love waits and love wins.  

Read also: The Best of Choi Woo-shik: 7 Shows and Movies You Have to Watch

2. Hong Du-sik and Yoon Hye-jin, "Hometown Cha Cha Cha" (2021)

Do opposites really attract? In the case of Hometown Cha Cha Cha's lead characters Hong Du-sik (Kim Seon-ho) and Yoon Hye-jin (Shin Min-a), yes, they do. Genius village chief Du-sik or "Chief Hong" is practically an unemployed, jack-of-all-trades darling, who showed us that money and success do not guarantee happiness in life. On the other hand, Hye-jin is a chic, pragmatic and go-getting dentist from Seoul who ends up moving to the suburbs—someone who thinks all good things come with a hefty price tag. In the first few episodes, the two clearly manifest their different views on life and relationships.

Read also: Shin Min-A: 5 Things To Know About The ‘Hometown Cha Cha Cha’ Lead Actress

However, as they get to know each other, they also get to learn from one another. Hye-jin helped Du-sik bounce back from his tragic past while Du-sik brought back the natural kindness and warmth in Hye-jin's heart. They became each other's rock, letting themselves process their pains and heal each other's wounds. 

On the lighter side, the last episode gave us Hye-jin and Du-sik drafting their "agreement" for marriage, assigning each other household chores that they feel they are good at respectively. Whereas, Hye-jin is not good in the kitchen so Du-sik becomes the official cook, while Hye-jin is tasked to wash the dishes. These are small things with such great impact especially in the context of relationships, where give-and-take is important.

If there is one thing we learnt from the #SikHye couple, it is the value of respecting our differences and that everyone can find their own Gongjin where happiness, self-contentment and love reign supreme.

Read also: 5 Kim Seon-ho Shows To Watch This 2021: Start-Up, 100 Days My Prince, And More

3. Lim Soo-hoo and Eun Yeong-ro, "Snowdrop" (2021-2022)

As cliche as it may sound, Snowdrop's North Korean spy Lim Soo-ho (Jung Hae-in) and the daughter of the director of South Korea's Agency for National Security Planning, Eun Yeong-ro (Kim Jisoo) are solid proof that love knows no boundaries. Set against the backdrop of political upheaval in 1987, not even a change in ideology, a demilitarised zone, or a controversial election scheme can tear the beautiful couple apart. Despite the challenges brought about by their situations, Soo-ho shows nothing but genuine love for Yeong-ro as he protects her (and the rest of the 30 hostages in Hosu Women's University) from the dangerous, greedy plans of the North and the South. With their sizzling chemistry, there's no reason for them to not win their fight for love. 

Read also: Snowdrop, D.P., and More: 10 Jung Hae-in Shows To Watch this 2022

 

4. Vincenzo Cassano and Hong Cha-young, "Vincenzo" (2021)

Who would have thought that a cold-hearted Italian mafia consigliere would finally open up and fall in love with a jolly, feisty South Korean lawyer? Such is the story of Vincenzo Cassano (Song Joong-ki) and Hong Cha-young (Jeon Yeo-been) in the epic dark comedy, Vincenzo, which aired in the first half of 2021. With the initial goal to reclaim Geumga Plaza as its real owner, Vincenzo returned to South Korea and serendipitously met Cha-young, then an associate at Wusang Law Firm, the legal representative of the hellish Babel Group. A series of events, later on, resulted in Cha-young leaving Wusang and joining forces with the consigliere to take revenge against the Babel Group. While we got lured by their witty—and often full of twists—scenes, we also can't deny the fact that we have been rooting for the two to have a happy ending whether in Italy, South Korea, Malta or elsewhere in the world. 

Read also: 10 Vincenzo Scenes That Speak Louder Than Words

5. Ri Jeong-hyeok and Yoon Se-ri, "Crash Landing on You" (2019-2020)

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Above Yoon Se-ri and Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok in "Crash Landing on You". Photo: Netflix

Now, let's talk about destiny. A successful South Korean chaebol heiress Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin), who just wanted to have fun, went paragliding one day. The next thing she knew, she had "crash-landed" in the North Korean portion of the demilitarised zone where she met the gorgeous North Korean army captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin) who would, later on, turn out to be the greatest love of her life. The couple may have shown us the stark contrast between the cultures and ideologies of North and South Korea, but they also prove that love is a universal language; that not even a decades-long dispute between the two countries can stop them from being together. 

To the fans' delight, the #BinJin couple became real-life sweethearts, which their respective agencies announced on January 1, 2021. It was the happiest New Year indeed for the K world. Son Ye-jin is expected to be back on-screen in February 2022 for the romantic drama, Thirty Nine, while Hyun Bin has been busy shooting for his brand endorsements and filming movies.

Read also: Duty Above All: 5 Military Characters in K-Drama

6. Lee Ik-jun and Chae Song-hwa, "Hospital Playlist" (2020-2021)

A break from the melodramatic love stories is Hospital Playlist's Lee Ik-jun (Jo Jung-suk) and Chae Song-hwa (Jeon Mi-do). While their romance was two seasons in the making, everyone would agree that the long wait is so worth it. These two doctors at Yulje Medical Center—Ik-jun is an assistant professor of general surgery while Song-hwa is a top neurosurgeon—have been friends since medical school and had strengthened their friendship, the best foundation of a relationship, over the years. Not overly cheesy, they are perhaps the best feel-good couple we've ever had in Korean drama history.

Read also: Hospital Playlist: 12 Reasons It’s the Healing Drama We All Need Right Now

 

 

7. Moon Gang-tae and Ko Moon-young, "It's Okay to Not Be Okay" (2020)

It's Okay to Not Be Okay's lead stars Moon Gang-tae (Kim Soo-hyun) and Ko Moon-young (Seo Yea-ji) anchor their love story on mental issues brought about by their turbulent pasts. Gang-tae is a man who avoids getting attached to anyone while Moon-young is an antisocial who gets romantically obsessed over Gang-tae after they met the first time again in years. While it turned out their pasts are intertwined, they ended up looking after each other and in the process, healing their wounds altogether.

Read also: 9 Best Kim Soo-hyun Shows to Watch: It's Okay To Not Be Okay, My Love From The Star and More

8. Park Jae-eon and Yoo Na-bi, "Nevertheless," (2021)

While a lot would agree that Park Jae-on (Song Kang) and Yoo Na-bi (Han So-hee) deserves the Most Annoying Couple of 2021 award, thanks to their never-ending tug-of-war that gave viewers false hopes episode after episode. However, we can't deny the fact that the two look good together, emitting electrifying chemistry like no other. The friends-with-benefits couple may have been all flair with little substance, nevertheless, they still captured our hearts.

Read also: Song Kang: 5 Things You Need To Know About The ‘Nevertheless,’ Actor

9. Lee Gon and Jeong Tae-eul, "The King: Eternal Monarch" (2020)

Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun fans, relax! We acknowledge that many of you are rooting for Lee Min-ho-Park Shin-ye, Lee Min-ho-Jun Ji-hyun, Lee Min-ho-Son Ye-jin, Kim Go-eun-Gong Yoo, Kim Go-eun-Ahn Bo-hyun, and so on and so forth. We can't blame you, after all, both are such versatile actors who would look awesome with anyone they are paired with, no matter the age or race. However, it was utterly difficult to move on from Emperor Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho) and Jeong Tae-ul's (Kim Go-Eun) playful and blush-inducing romantic stint in The King: Eternal Monarch, which spans across two parallel worlds.

And if it's true that Kim Go-eun is the first lady to appear on Lee Min-ho's Instagram account, well, that says a lot.

Read also: 7 Lee Min-ho Movies and Shows You Need To Watch This 2022: 'The Heirs', 'TKEM', And More

10. Shin Woo-yeo and Lee Dam, "My Roommate is a Gumiho" (2021)

From parallel universes, we now move on to the fantasy world. University student Lee Dam (Lee Hye-ri) has never been in a relationship before and finally, she found someone she really likes, however, there's quite a caveat: the guy, Shin Woo-yeo (Jang Ki-yong), is no ordinary man but a 999-year-old gumiho (nine-tailed fox). A series of unfortunate events forced them to live together and their closeness strengthened their resolve to make things work, even if that meant Woo-yeo must become human. 

Read also: 8 Jang Ki-yong Shows You Need to Watch Now: My Roommate is a Gumiho; Now We're Breaking Up

 

 

11. Lee Young-joon and Kim Mi-so, "What's Wrong with Secretary Kim" (2018)

One of the most iconic K-drama couples that viewers still root for to this day is Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-joon) and Kim Mi-soo (Park Min-young) in the 2018 blockbuster romantic comedy, What's Wrong with Secretary Kim?. Despite the actors having been paired with other top calibre stars, Park-Park stans remain loyal owing to their Cinderella-like office love affair in this series, to which a lot of fans can relate to.

To add, Park Min-young is set to star in JTBC's upcoming romantic comedy, Forecasting Love and Weatheralongside Song Kang while Park Seo-joon is confirmed to join the cast of the Hollywood film, The Marvels.

Read also: 7 Best Park Seo-Joon Shows to Watch: Itaewon Class, Fight For My Way and More

12. Myul Mang and Tak Dong-kyung, "Doom at Your Service" (2021)

Like a match made in heaven, these love birds from the Viu Original series, Doom at Your Service inarguably deserves 2021's Best in Chemistry award, if there's one, that is. Myul Mang (Seo In-guk) is a messenger between gods and humans, whose existence can cause something or someone to disappear, while Tak Dong-kyung (Park Bo-young), tired of her problematic life and terminal illness, drunkenly wished for the world to end. As the two ends up signing a hundred-day contract, both struggle to risk everything they have to live life happily ever after. In the end, they have shown that their love can conquer all, doomsday included.

Read also: 10 Seo In-Guk and Park Bo-Young Korean Drama Series And Films To Watch in 2021

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