Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) - full transcript

Senior Master Chef Chu lives in a large house in Taipei with his three unmarried daughters, Jia-Jen, a chemistry teacher converted to Christianity, Jia-Chien, an airline executive, and Jia-Ning, a student who also works in a fast food restaurant. Life in the house revolves around the ritual of an elaborate dinner each Sunday, and the love lives of all the family members.


Hello? Have you eaten?

Not yet?

Just throw together
some noodles for lunch.

That fish is excellent.

Don't roast it,

that would be a pity.

It just needs to be slightly steamed.

Don't add any salt!
Whatever you do, no salt!

Salt dries the fish and
it won't be tender.

Just get a pot of boiling water

and put salt around the plate...

If not today,

then when will we talk about it?

Small coke, three chickens?

That'll be 100 yuan.

Hey, I ordered chicken!

That is chicken!

Jia-Ning, I can't cover for you today.

Guo-Lun is taking me to the beach.

You have to! Father will kill me

if I'm late for Sunday dinner again.

And I thought you and
Guo-Lun broke up.

We did!

I just want to torture him a bit more.

Then torture him
by keeping him waiting an hour.

- Hurry up!
- Great idea!

How's the new boyfriend?

Hi, Jia-Chien.

Still working on a Sunday afternoon?

New boyfriend's okay, pretty quiet.

Especially after Bo-Kang.

Sounds good.

Let's get together later?

Don't work so hard!

Thanks, but I'm seeing Raymond later.

Raymond, eh, heh-heh-heh?

What does that mean,”heh-heh-heh”?

The difference between
Christians and ordinary people... not only do we have eternal hope,

But we also rely on God...

to give us wisdom
to overcome our difficulties

...and to give us joyfulness
and peace to settle our frustrations.

You okay?

Yeah. Just a little wound up.

Work, you know,

and I just
closed on the new apartment...

...all my savings...

...but it'll be worth it
to get out of that house.

That was wonderful.

Better than when we were together.

It's much easier like this.

We were a disaster as a couple.

All that shouting and fighting.

You want to
come down to my gallery now?

A new woman artist.

You'd like her work.

I have to get home
for the Sunday dinner torture ritual.

Punch your time card.

Change my Sunday schedule, please.

I'll see what I can do.

Hi, Guo-Lun.

I'm Chu Jia-Ning.

Rachel asked me to tell you

she'll be an hour late.

Shit! How dare she!

Don't be angry!

It's just an hour...

even less now.

It's not the first time

she's made a fool of me.

It's not serious.

What would you know?

Have you loved someone who hates you...

...who hurts you every day?

It's my fault really.

She forgot she was covering for me.

I didn't know

I'd cause so much suffering.

You're not to blame.

It's me.

I want to end this addiction to love,

but I'm too weak.

Well, I'd better be going.


Will you tell Rachel to bring back

the red shirt she borrowed?

She can bring it to work on Wednesday.


What are you reading?



Thank you.

Promise me we'll go to choir practice?

I'll think about it.

Brother Chai is the handsomest
man in the congregation...

...and he loves your voice!

Sister Chang,

I don't wish
to be liked only for my voice!

I'll never find a husband for you!

Then stop trying.

Dear God,

please bring luck to our family...

...we are happy
to have God in our hearts...

...and thank You
so much for this terrific dinner...

...and thank You again
for bringing our family

together with happiness.

In the name of Jesus Christ,
thank you. Amen.

These past two days I...

Something wrong?

No, it's fine.


Say it!

The ham was oversmoked.

It's fine!

Father probably forgot to taste it.

Or his taste is getting worse.

My taste is fine!

Yesterday... Our school...

You first.

Jin Fen called from America.

Her mother is coming back.

But her green card?

She just can't stand it anymore.

They fought and fight.

Even the police came!

Mrs. Liang is really hell on wheels!

She can't live there.

The language...

no companion for mah-jong...

...her son-in-law isn't Chinese.

It's a miracle she lasted that long.

It might be a good thing for Jin Rong.

She can help take care of Shan Shan.

She might cause more stress.

It'll be fine.

And Dad
will have someone to chat with.

Like I have time to gossip...

...after taking care of you three?

These past two days, I...

What now?

I have a little announcement to make...

Have you seen the TV ads for

“Little Paris in the East?”

That new luxury apartment building
in Hsin-Den?

A friend, who knows the contractors...

...told me how well built it is.

He was able to
get my bid in for a good price.

I bid on an apartment...

You're moving out!

Not immediately,
of course. It isn't ready yet.

I used most of my savings
for the deposit...

That's good.

Real estate
is a smart investment today.

Then I'll move
when the apartment is ready?


Dad, it's for you.

Hello? What!

...Right away!

There are crab dumplings
in the steamer!

Get them out
when you're ready to eat them!

Master Chu, how are you?

Serve the sea cucumbers first! Hurry!

Master Chu is here!

Thank God, you're here!

Where's Old Wen?

Over here! What a mess, eh?

The boss wanted
the banquet to be perfect.

Now look at this mess...

The menu?


It's all right.

The last four courses are stews...

...we'll make the “Whole Shake Fin.”
and problem solved.

With you here, I can relax.

You can take charge here.

I'll be up front.

That ”Shake Fin”
doesn't look very good.

The guy who bought the fins
didn't know anything.

It looked genuine,

but it fell apart when we cooked it.

Fake fins don't have elasticity
when boiled in hot water.

There's no flavor,

no matter how long you cook it.

What will we do now?

It's a wedding for the General's son!

This is only good for gravy.

The “Whole Shark Fin”
will look like porcupine.

We'll make “Joy Luck Dragon Phoenix.”

Abalone? We'll lose money on this!

Money is not important now.

We'll first settle the situation,

and I'll explain this
to the boss later.

Let's get ready, everyone!

I need lobsters,
abalone and Jade Prawns!

On the 10th floor,
and the windows face south.

Central air conditioning?

Of course!

There's also a guest room for you
to stay when you visit.

What's wrong?


I don't know why I'm upset.

I should be happy for her.

No, I understand.

I should be the one apologizing.

I shouldn't leave Father
in your hands...

...but I just can't
live here with him anymore.

Even though

I'll be just a few miles away,

it's like being in another world.

I don't blame you for being upset.

Why should we be upset?

It's just a matter of time

before you or Jia-Jen

gets married and moves out.

What's the difference?

I'm acting upset because...

...I worry how Father will take it.

He can barely stand
the sight of me these days.

We hardly speak to each other.

It will be
a great relief for everyone.

Anyhow, Dad doesn't need us around.

What he really needs
is a companion his own age... Mrs. Liang!

That's not even funny.

We've tried setting him up,

and it's been a disaster.

The only true love

in his life was our mother.

You call bickering and fighting love?

What do you know?

Maybe it's not romance to you...

...but it was founded on
real old-fashioned respect and values.

It was an old-fashioned war

that ended only when Mom died!

How would you know?

You were a kid when she died.

I was old enough to know her better!

Stop it, you two.

Try it.

This is how it's done.

Jim-Rong is here!

You're all here. Where's Uncle Chu...?

Something came up at the restaurant.

He went to help.

Jia-Chien is busy in her room.

Have you eaten?

It's 8 p.m.! Of course we ate.

Today, Mom burned the fish.

I didn't bring you along to complain?

I'll give you some of
Grandpa Chu's crab dumplings

to take home.

You got a haircut!


I run around like crazy every day.

I don't have time to care for it.
It's easier short.

You look younger.


I wanted to look professional.

Can we go draw now?

Can we draw Grandpa Chu today?

Was it really that bad?

Who knows?

They were both crying and fussing.

Mother said
Jin-Feng wasn't being filial.

Jin-Feng said if Mom stayed with them,

she'd end up divorced.

If Jin-Feng got a divorce, too,

my mother really couldn't take it.

I still feel that
Jin-Feng should care for her.

With your current situation.

You have a job, take care of a child,

...take care of an elder person,

and deal with your divorce.

Which just got worse.

He hired a private investigator
to have me followed!


He'll do anything
to take Shan-Shan away from me.

I can't wait for the final decree.

Why don't you tell her
to come back later?

Forget it.
You and Jin-Feng were old schoolmates.

You know her.

Mother always wanted
to be with me instead of her.

Same thing here.

Father wants to live with me.

It's not the same.

Uncle Chu is much stronger
than my mom.

He takes care of himself and others.

Unlike my mother,
who needs constant attention.

My dad needs attention, too.

How many more
Sunday dinners can we have?

Jia-Ning is young,
Jia-Chien is independent... I'll have to take care
of Dad for the rest of my life.

I'm sure he doesn't want that.

Mom, look!

Auntie's drawing of Grandpa Chu.

It's time to go home.

Wait, I'll get the dumplings.

Please don't.

We're always taking food home...

Don't worry,

you're like
another daughter in this family...

So you really are like
Dad's grand daughter.

I want to show this to Grandpa Chu!

Don't, Shan-Shan!

I want to show this to Grandpa Chu!

Stop running!

Okay! I lied I lied!

Those dumplings are fresh.

Take them home to your kids.

Do you want this to go?

Old Chu,

don't get upset.

Girls eventually leave home.

It was bound to happen.

I'm not upset.

I hope they all move out,

so I can have a quiet life.

Quiet life?

I know you.

What you want, you can't get.

What you don't want,
you can't get rid of.

You're as repressed as a turtle.

That old maid of yours Jia-Jen
will stick to you for life...

...unless you marry her off!

Marry who?

Since she lost
her asshole college boyfriend...

...she's never looked at another man.

You know that.

And now she has the perfect boyfriend:

Jesus Christ...

Don't make fun of her religion!

How is it that for thirty years...

I have put up
with this kind of talk from you?

The truth is...

you should be thankful
someone's around

to tell you the truth.

That Jia-Chien's temper...

she was spoiled as a child.

...I can't take it anymore.

That girl just
didn't come from nowhere.

Jia-Chien's perfect blend
of you and her mother...

Her mother's
stubbornness and willfulness.

And the pickiness and pomposity
come straight from you!

I think I know her better than you do.

I don't understand any of them,

and I don't want to know.

Let them grow up and leave.

It's like cooking.

Your appetite's gone

when the dish is done.

That's not the worst thing.

At least people like your cooking.

Honestly, I'd have to give that up

if it hadn't been for you lately.

My sense of taste
is getting worse and worse.

My food is only as good as
the expression on your face.

Don't be silly!

You rely on
your feelings when you cook,

not your taste buds.

Like that Western deaf composer,
called Bay...


Beethoven. That's right...

...good sound is not in the ear...

good taste is not in the mouth

and good sex...

...God knows where...

You're drunk.

Eat, drink, man, woman.
Basic human desires.

Can't avoid them!

All my life, every day,
that's all I've done.

It pisses me off.

Is that all there is to life?

We should be thankful that
we're still alive and cooking.

By the way,

when will you have
your recipes written up?

What recipes?

Didn't you say that

you wanted to write down
the great recipes

from your memory?

I'm just afraid that one day,


God damn you!

Are you counting the days to
take advantage of the opportunity?


taste this!

Little daughter?

Little daughter?

It's six o'clock!

Get up, lazy-bones!

Jia-Chien, get up!

How many times have I told you

not to fall asleep at your desk?

It's bad for your posture.

And didn't the doctor tell you

that jogging was bad for your back?


Good morning Grandpa Chu!

Morning! Off to school?

Why are you eating
your breakfast here?

I don't have time for breakfast.

Look! Your dumplings from yesterday.

But Mom squeezed the juice out,

So I wouldn't get my hands all greasy.

Come to my house at noon.

I'll make lunch for you.

I have school all day.

All day?

Then where's your lunch box?

The bus is here!

Don't push!

The valence electron
of a typical element... equal to its groups
and its valence electron in turn... equal to its groups.


Okay, let's look at the periodic table
of the elements again.

The Group A elements:

1A, 2A, 3A...

Pay attention!

...4A, 5A, 6A, 7A, 8A.

Okay, let's use
the color red for Group 1A.

Let's take a look.

Who will return the ball?

I'll go!

Very well, I'll do it.

Hey, where'd it go?

Give it back!


Sorry! We missed!

It's okay.

I'll come up and get it.

I can throw it down.

She's throwing the bouquet!

Let's continue!

What's going on?

What's in your hand?

Nothing, Teacher.

Bring it here, let me see it.

There's nothing to see.

Bring it here!

Sit down!

Give it to me!

Writing love letters
in chemistry class!

Love letters are
a kind of chemical catalyst.

Someone wrote it to me!

So what?

What is this doing in class!

Showing off?

Who hasn't
received love letters before?

“A la fin tu es las de ce monde ancien

Bergère ô tour Eiffel,
Le troupeau des ponts bêle ce matin”

The American airline industry
is going through a recession.

This is a golden opportunity
for us to bid

for the Sydney to Bangkok routes...

which the British are also eyeing.

They will be our toughest competition...

And the fight will be fierce.

I'll be able to put a price...

on these routes within two weeks...

...but I feel that there is
significant potential in all of them.


Thank you Deputy Director Chu,
for that report.

this plan poses real opportunities...

...for the growth of our company...

The question is,

“Do we have enough airplanes”

to handle all these cities?”

Be quiet. What do you know?

That kid. My son just graduated.

He'll get it slowly.

That's right. Our chief negotiator!

Everyone, please welcome Mr. Li Kai...

He was the one who single-handedly...

...fought to get us
our Amsterdam routes.

I'm very happy
to see him as a part of our team.

My apologies for being late...

my flight was delayed.

Always kidding.

We have a big battle to wage

I want to announce
that Li Kai is our general in charge.

We are to give him
the manpower and assistance he needs.

By following this order,

one observes the energy
of the chemical element rising...

Go home, study hard. Class dismissed.

Attention. Stand straight. Bow.

Thank you, Teacher.

What happened?

Coach dislocated his shoulder.


My right shoulder always goes.

We need to rush him to the hospital!

They're getting Coach Chai.

What for?

What's up? Out again? Come on!

Thanks Coach!

It's as good as new.

C'mon, let's keep going!

That's it for today.

Everyone, break it up.

I'm bringing Shan-Shan her lunch box.

All right

I didn't have much time to make
you more than a few small dishes.

Spare Ribs, Crab with Vegetables,

Shrimp with Green Peas...

...Bean Sprouts and Sliced Chicken.

And your favorite,

Spare ribs Bitter Melon Soup.

It's not much,
because I was afraid you can't finish.

Come on, eat while it's hot.


Are you catching a bus?

Your shoulder? Can you ride...?

No problem.

Tomorrow, I'll spike the ball again.

Next week's the big tournament.

I haven't seen you before.

I'm the new volleyball coach.
I'm Chou Ming Dao.

Chu Jia-Chen.

Where do you live?

Heping E. Road.

That's a nice area!

It's an old house.

I would have given you a ride
if it were on the way.

The bus is convenient.

Well, I'm off.

Come and root for the team next week!

Why are you here?

Guess. I'm here for Rachel,

who will no doubt keep me waiting
for another hour again.

I doubt it!

How do you know?

She got off work an hour ago.

She said she was going home.

Try this. It tastes great.

The smell is making me sick.

You're just
feeling sorry for yourself?

No, I feel wonderful... Love is torture.

I know that deep in her heart,

she truly loves me.

But she told me
she doesn't love you at all.

If she doesn't love me,

then why is she
wasting her energy torturing me?

That's not true love!

You hardly know each other...

You two hardly even talk.

Tell me,
when was your last real conversation...

...about your thoughts,

feelings and life?

I can't remember,

it's all a blur now.

I'll tell you what's a blur:

Your idea of love.

True love is being with
someone who loves you...

You can feel free
to express your feelings...

Next to her,

you can feel free
to talk about anything.

But I feel free
to talk about my feelings around you.

Is that true love?

Don't be silly!

Here's your Stinky Tofu.


He's still jet-lagged.

He flew in and came straight to work!

Cute, isn't he?

A great teacher said the best way
to increase sexual prowess... to mix 3 ounces of ginseng,
3 ounces of aloe vera...

and 8 ounces of dried sea cucumber...

What are you doing?

That cat's driving me crazy!

At least someone's
having some fun around here!

Ah, here they are.

No wonder I couldn't find them!

I'm sorry about that crack...

I'm sure you'll find someone...

Oh please!

Why does everyone think
I'm looking for a boyfriend?

I already found someone, thank you!

Sis, it's been nine years.

You can't still be heartbroken.

None of your business!

Fine, then.

It's agreed, then.

I'll make you a lunch box every day.

But sometimes
Mama makes me a lunch box,

then what?

We'll trade. I'll eat your lunch

and your mother won't find out.

Can you make one
for Chen Pei-Hsin, too?

She's my best friend.
We had to eat hamburgers every day.

No problem. It's a simple job,

just more ingredients.

Thanks, Grandpa Chu!


Your plant is dying.

I always forget to water it.

You can't take it with you, anyhow.

Am I fired?

Let's not jump to any conclusions.

Of course,
it's premature to tell you this.

...I still need approval from the board...

I've recommended you

to be vice-president
of our Amsterdam office... charge of all our operations.

Chief, I...

Frankly, you're much too young
for the position...

and too beautiful.

But all the men
I've sent over are idiots,

so you'll have to do.

But, Chief, I...

Everyone wants this job.

What are you waiting for?

I just purchased an apartment.

Rent it out!

You'll probably make a profit!

Then again,

let's wait until the board
confirms your appointment.

I felt like cooking!

The kitchen is all yours.

This is Tsu-an-tofu.

you don't have a bamboo steamer,

but taste it anyway.

Where's the tofu?

The tofu is blended in
with the chicken.

And then it's steamed in the pot

until it looks like a bee hive.

Which is then cut into pieces
and stewed with ham in an old broth.

You shouldn't have
rewarded me like this.

I love cooking elaborate dishes.

I wish I could do it at home.

You can't cook tofu?

No, I can't cook at home.

Doesn't your dad have a big kitchen?

Yes. Dad's kitchen.
But it's off-limits to me.

If I cooked there,

he'd come and stop me... if I'd be stealing his thunder.

“Carp with garlic sauce,”

the first dish Uncle Wen “taught” me.

And this is
“Duck Oil Sautéed Pea Sprout.”

One duck, two dishes.
Duck Sautéed with garlic.

A perfect balance.

It's an ancient philosophy.

Food balanced
with energy, flavor and nature.

This I understand.
Like mixing yin and yang.

Take your time.

There's also
a tofu dumpling coming up.

There's enough for 10 people!

I always cook in large servings,

Because I learned
in a large restaurant...

That kitchen...


It's strange,
I don't have any childhood memories...

...unless I cook them into existence...

I can't remember a thing
from my childhood.

You wouldn't believe how fun and warm

my father used to be.

Back then, after school,

before the dinner rush...

...he'd bake me bracelets made of bread...

I used to have a ring...

...full of spices and sugar diamonds
made from dough.

He enjoyed
letting me play in the big kitchen!

Jia-Jen was so jealous!

Here, wear this squid ring,

and then eat it.

Don't play.

How about nibbling my earring.

Stop playing –

I'm sorry

I got so sentimental tonight.

No, I just had too much to eat!

The pepper smells good.

How is it?

Too spicy?

Say something!

Don't make me guess your expressions.

Old Wen! Old Wen! Old Wen!

Name, address, social security number,

family status, relatives.

If he needs special care,

please fill out this bottom section.


You're here.

It's okay now.

They ran some tests in the ER.

He feels better now.

Was it a heart attack?

We'll have to do more tests.

Do you have a pen?

I'll fill it out.

Uncle Wen.


Just like me to be

practically killed by a fart.

Blame your father's cooking.

His cooking is getting worse
and worse these days.

You had too much of it.

Come on, give Uncle Wen a hug.

Why'd you grow up to be so pretty?

To be courted by men.

It seems like only yesterday
you were a little girl...

...following your father
and I around the kitchen.

Back and forth.

You were so smart.

You learned everything just once.

What a talent, right, Old Chu?

Of course.

What's the use?

You still banished me
from the kitchen.

It was for your own good.

You should learn something useful.

You just can't accept
a woman being a great chef.

Don't start again, you two.


If you wanted to be a chef,

you would've been one of the greats.

But your father was right

to send you to college.

You should thank your father...

...for throwing you
out of our smelly kitchen.

you wouldn't have what you have today.

No one ever asked me
if I'd appreciate this.

Don't hold a grudge
against your father.

He's getting old

and just as confused as I am.

But I know that in his heart,

he's extremely proud of you.

Just look at him.

He keeps all of his feelings
and emotions bottled up inside him.

he'll have to express himself to you...

...or he'll end up
in a hospital with something...

...worse than an upset stomach!

There's 10 yuan in change.

Why didn't you ask for it?

We're lucky he got us here
through the traffic in the rain!

The meter was running!

If there's money to be made,
they'll make it!

Tell him to get out
and help with the luggage!

They're supposed
to carry the luggage for tips!

Just like your sister,
you throw out tips like water.

But how much does your sister make

compared to you?

Let's go.

You're all alone now!

Save as much as you can!

Who are you gonna depend on
when you get old!

I'll be depending on
whomever you're depending on!

What? No elevator?

He hasn't come by in a week,

He didn't even call me.

Maybe he's busy with exams.

Weren't you ignoring him?

Didn't you want to break up with him?

No! I was just playing hard to get.

...I love him, you know.

I think I really love him.

That's strange. Is it because...

Why is he ignoring me all of a sudden?

What should I do?

You honestly think
we can pull that many out of Sydney?

Why not Bangkok?

Or Osaka?

I showed you
the projections yesterday.

Do you still have questions?

That's right. Sorry.

I'm not used to working with someone

who's not a certifiable idiot.

Or maybe you're a little too smug?

Probably, but you know what I mean.

Maybe it's because
I sometimes get a flash...

...about how meaningless this crap is.

Or maybe I'm just tired.

You want some tea?

I want liquor.

I sense
a bottle of scotch in the vicinity.

How did you know?

Educated guess.

I figured you
spend so much time in here...

Am I really that much of an old maid?

No, far from it!

You remind me of when I was a student...

...the smartest were often the wildest...

...we used to make our liquor
in chemistry lab

and hide it behind the blackboard.

So you were a chemist?

That's what I studied
to be in a prior lifetime.

Then why this?

Business? The airline business?

The same way you did.

Well, I didn't really plan this.


To your health.

“You appeared like May sunshine
with your rose smile”

“spreading love and warmth”

Torturing yourself again?

Actually, I'm waiting for you.

Do you live here?

Nobody lives here.

I just sleep here.

Your parents?

In China, eyeing real estate deals.

They stop by once in a while
to check up on the place.

Busy making money.

Do they stay downstairs?


just a tenant downstairs.

My grandma used to live there.

...since her stroke,

my parents put her in a nursing home.

Would you like something to drink?

Some ice water.

Ice water.

It's very quiet here.

Do you want to hear some music?


- Are these yours?
- Yeah.

I didn't know
you were into photography?

Not really, I only take pictures
of my grandmother.

I visit her every week.

The camera seems to be
the only thing she responds to... know...

with her eyes.

Probably the flash!

She can't talk?

Maybe she doesn't
want to be photographed.

I had the same thought but...

Here she comes.

I'm on the 10th floor.

There is a window view
overlooking Taipei.

Why can't we go in?

It must be dangerous.

The police shut it down.

That's a big fraud.

What do you mean?

This land is a toxic waste dump!

I don't smell a thing.

The company's bankrupt!

The company took the money and ran!

I told you
you should have invested in art.

Sorry. Bad joke.

Just wanted to cheer you up.

If you don't want to stay at home...

I can help you find a place.

You all right?

Oddly, I feel light and free.

Free enough to fly to Amsterdam!


Where is Mr. Wen, in room 22?

He checked out this morning

against his doctor's advice.

Are you his relative?

He's my father's associate.

Miss, which way is the elevator?

Straight down, turn left.


This way.


May I help you?

What department is this?


Thank you.


Wake up, sleepy head.


Morning, Dad.

Thanks Dad.

Dad forgot to add the shrimp paste
in the flat mushroom.

Mrs. Liang is back.

She repeatedly tells Jin-Rong
what happened in America...

...driving her crazy.

Shan-Shan said Mrs. Liang's cooking

is worse than her mother's.

I have an announcement to make...

It's about my work.

Lately, my company is...

You don't need to tell us.

We read about
your apartment in the paper.

What are you going to do?

Can you get your money back?

Did you put all of
your savings in that apartment?

Of course...

you may continue to live here.

Your t-shirts were in my closet.

These are yours.

Dad should let us
sort our own clothes.

He seems preoccupied lately.


Would I wear
old-fashioned underwear like these?

Did my underwear offend you?

You know what I mean.

I'm afraid I don't.

Dad, are you all right?

I'm fine.

Why did you ask?

No, it's just that...

Do I look bad?


I'm fine!

Grandpa Chu!

Shan-Shan, Jin-Rong, come in!

I should have come sooner
to visit and thank you in person.

Jin-Rong is too busy to bring me over.

I almost had to force her to take me.

She said that

you and your whole family
really took care of them.

It's only my duty.

Jia-Jen and your daughter
Jin-Feng were classmates.

You took care of my daughter
when she was in Tainan.

Now that Jin-Rong is alone in Taipei,

living so close by, it's easy.

Shan-Shan! Little Aunt, can we draw?

One moment.

For Uncle Chu.

Thanks, but...

Jia-Jen, it's been so long!

Mrs. Liang!

Still teaching at the same school?


Still not married?


marriage isn't quite meaningless.

A bad marriage is such a burden.

You might as well get a divorce.

You have to
be insane to marry such a loser,

like Jin-Rong's husband...


It's like a tired dog
dragging some broken cart.

And in the end,

you're left all alone!

- Isn't that so, Mr. Chu?
- Yes.

Ma, why do you have to say that?

But it's true!

Prepare some fruit, Jia-Jen.


Your second daughter?

The youngest.

Hello, Mrs. Liang.

Ah! How old are you?


It's time to have a boyfriend?

Don't wait too long
like your older sister.

Let's sit down.

Let me make some tea.

Can we draw now?

All right.

Mrs. Liang!

You are...


That's right!

You're number two. Aren't you pretty?

Thank you.

Are you used to Taipei yet?

It's okay. Good to be home.

Do you have a boyfriend?

I'm sure you have several.

Keep your options open...

Don't listen to what men say,

but watch their actions, understood?

Isn't that right, Mr. Chu?

Your daughters aren't bad!

Yours are fine too.

Mine are no good!

My oldest is in the middle
of this nasty divorce.

Her husband was so sordid.

He fools around
with several other women.

I can't even mention the details!

And there's my youngest

with her white husband...

...who plays electric guitar
in the garage all weekend.

He eats hamburgers
with onions every day!

And when I fry rice,

the smoke alarm goes off!

I tell you,

it was like
a living hell there for me.

Mr. Chu,
I'm sure you don't mind, do you?

Of course not. Please.

Old witch!

“A breeze blows in... fluttering through
your clothes, across your smile.”

“In a dreamy garret, I am keeping
my late autumn love for you.”

“Late autumn love...”

“So many times,
I want to say I love you...”

“So often, I want to say I'm sorry”

“you cried, this fate. It's over. ”

“It's over.”

“But give me just one moment,”

“one more look”

“Don't take everything away...”

“Another chance... a little tenderness...”

“Don't let me hurt so bad...

“You can make me happy... make me sad...”

“Make me willing
to give you everything.”

Thank you.

I'm new here,
so I'm not familiar with everyone.

So I nominate Teacher Chu for a song.

Be careful!

Teacher, what do you want to sing?

That won't be necessary.

I'll sing, “Love's Commandments.”

“Love is forever, patient, and kind.”

”Love isn't jealous,”

“love isn't boastful or crazy.”

”Love doesn't do shameful things...”

A soprano!

You have a great voice.

You too.

Right. I wanted to ask you!

Are you free this Sunday?

I'm taking the volleyball team
on an outing.

Do you want to come?

An outing?

You should get some sun!

Join us if you've got
nothing else to do.

Think about it and let me know. Bye.

Don't crowd me! Be quiet!

What do you want?

Curried beef and rice!

And you?

Fried rice with egg.

It's too easy for Grandpa Chu.

He won't do it.

Something more difficult.

Here is Mom's lunchbox.

...and tomorrow's menu.


You're right.

The Sydney route is worth
half as much as they're asking.

To think that the chief
was going to offer $30 million!



This is why you get the big bucks.

No wonder
you're so tired all the time!

You should try it...

In one morning,
I've already killed 2,000 aliens

and saved the world.

What did you accomplish this morning?

A small headache.

How could you kill those cute aliens?

I remember now. Forget it.

You have time to give me a hand?


I always wanted to
find something Chinese for him.

He has plenty of these already.

He's interested in Chinese culture?

I wish.

I can't believe that in a few years,

my son is growing up
to be an American.

Sometimes I look at him

and wonder if he's actually my son.

He was raised in America,

and his mother doesn't mind.

His mother?

How does she feel about the time?

She's glad I'm not around.

I think the only reason

we're not divorced... that we're both too busy!

That sounds so cynical, doesn't it?

I'm just as cynical
when it comes to my personal life.

Sometimes I wish I could just...

Pick up and fly away.

Seems like that's
what you'll be doing pretty soon.

I thought that was the answer, too.

As a result, I really messed things up

after I graduated from Chen-Kong.

Chen-Kong university?

Yeah... after graduation,

my old man had a post for me

in his chemical business.


That's right...

remember the “whiskey” lab?

I actually enjoyed it as a subject.

It's the chaos in my life.

There was a lot of pressure
from my parents, my girlfriend.

I guess I didn't have the courage.

So I left.

Then you went to the U.S.?

It wasn't great

but it was better
for everyone in the long run.

You okay?

This looks Chinese?

That's “Harvey”.

You have no idea

how much I suffered
from those kids' shows.

Wanna hear the theme?

Please don't.

What the hell,

I'll just buy this one. He'll like it.

Uncle Chu!


what's wrong?

Is it the detective?

No. Shan-Shan is not feeling well.

She won't be going to school.

So you...?

I was wondering why her lunch box

was always so clean.

No one could ever
finish all my short ribs before!

Hope you don't mind.

Of course not.

But what about
the lunches I'd prepared for her?

I ate them myself,

down to the last bite.

How embarrassing...

a master chef like you,

eating my lunches!

I was more than happy to.

Besides, I lost my sense of taste,

so it's the feeling that counts.

All right. I should go now.

Don't tell Shan-Shan
that I know about this.

She'd like a little secret
between you two.

Yes, I understand.


I loved him so much.

How could he do this to me?

You hardly cared for him!

I was only pretending

because my love for him was so strong!

I was scared of its intensity.

I feel humiliated!

I went to see him, and he...

I don't want to live anymore.

If I only knew,

then I wouldn't have...

I thought you two...

Chu Jia-Ning.


You two...

Dad, do you need any help?

Call your sisters to dinner.



Can't they stop for once?

It's so annoying.

We communicate by eating.

So what's wrong with singing karaoke?

I have an announcement to make.

I know it sounds incredible,

but a lot of times things
happen this way.

Which class did you fail?

I met a boy... a man...

we're in love.

We plan to live together.

His family has a huge apartment,

and his parents will like me.

So I plan on moving in with them.

But the main reason is...

I'm having his baby!

Bye, Dad!

That Jia-Ning!

I'm still in a state of shock.

Do you think Dad's okay?

Where'd he go?

He's probably
chatting with Mrs. Liang.

Don't worry about him.

Take off to Amsterdam.

Just do what you have to do.

Go ahead. I really meant it.

Sis, do you ever think about

what might have been
if you had stayed with...

What's his name again?

Li Kai.

Had you left to the U.S.

with Li Kai after graduation,

What things might have been like?

Why are you asking?

Your life could've been different.

What's wrong with my life now?

Do you want to be stuck here forever?

What if I told you I saw...

That's enough.

This is my home, and it's fine.

“This is my home, and it's fine,”

but it isn't everything!

But it's Dad's everything...

I know him far better than you do!


Why is it that you feel that
you have to meddle in my life?

What gives you the right
to tell me what to feel?

That's right.

My heart was broken by Li-Kai...

...and you probably think
that I'm pathetic

for never getting over it...

...but at least I had a heart to break.

I don't need your pity.

And what do you know of my heart?

Nothing whatsoever,

...because you never felt that

I was worth sharing
your feelings with.

You're wrong!

Ever since Mom died,

You acted more like
a parent than a sister.

You shut me out.

I thought you hated me.


I broke the plate.

It's okay.

“Hi, if it's Bo-Kang,

“stop calling me.”

"If it's Mom,

get Dad to drink the healthy tea.”

“Everyone else,
please leave a message.

Okay, leave a message.”

Hi, Grace.

Please call me
when you hear this message.

Nothing really urgent

but we haven't spoken...

Congratulations, vice-president!

your promotion is official!

My family's from the Hunan Province.

After the war,

my husband and I moved to Shanghai.

There was a Tong De
Girls' school in Shanghai.

We lived behind that alley.

My husband also loved to cook.

He was just very unlucky.

After we came to Taiwan
he got stomach cancer and passed away.

I also had to fight tooth and nail
to bring up my children alone...'s not easy Mr. Chu.

And look at them now.

Their wings grow
stronger and stronger.

They do as they please.
They could care less about you.

It's so not worth it.

That's it.

I'll translate it
first thing tomorrow.

And then you're off to negotiate?

Probably in a couple of weeks.

I'll be in the States for a few days,

Then here, and finally to Sydney.

I requested that
you take a few days off

to come with me.

I'll need you.

You'll do fine by yourself.


with your promotion now,

it's really your decision.

You're my boss,

technically speaking.


I'm your boss, period.

Yes, “Boss.”


What is it?

Don't you know who I am?


Call me Chu Jia-Chien!


Whatever you like.

Call me Chu Jia-Chien,

Chu Jia-Chien!

Chu Jia-Chien, Chu Jia-Chien!


Have you completely erased
my older sister from your memory?

Your older sister?

That's right! My older sister!

Chu Jia-Jen is my older sister!

It's only been nine years

since your romance
with her in college.

She's still living in the past

and refusing to marry another!

You've completely forgotten her!

Chu Jia-Jen?

Now you remember?

I don't remember this person,

but I've heard that name before.


But I really can't remember.

Are you just pretending?

If you feel embarrassed,
then forget it.

There must be
some sort of misunderstanding.

I wouldn't deny it
if I really knew her,

whether she was your sister or not.

I need more information.

The Chemistry Department at Chen-Kong.

What else do you need?

That's impossible.

There weren't many female students
in the Chemistry Department.

What's she like?

She was your girlfriend.

She gave you her first kiss!

I don't know what else to tell you!


she wasn't my girlfriend.

She wasn't even in my class!

Now I recall!

We were in the same department,
but not the same class.

I think she hung out with Jin Feng!

You know Jin Feng?

She was my girlfriend!

We broke up after graduation.

She married an American guy

before I left for the States.

I saw her once in Chicago last year.

Now I know...

She often spoke of her best friend.

That must have been Chu Jia-Jen.

Are you all right?

You mean,
she made it all up! You're lying!

Why would I lie to you?

How did this happen?

She made the whole story up.

Please be home.

Raymond! So glad you're home.

I just heard an absurd story.


who is it?

Oh, no one!

I'm in a little...

Oh, I understand...

I'll call you tomorrow.

Welcome back, Old Wen!

Stop kissing up. Back to work,

you fools!

Chef Wen...

Just a second!

Chef Wen?

Chef Wen?

Where have you been?

Uncle Wen passed away.

B South, 7204.

Should be around here...

I don't want tea.

I want water.

Drink it, Dad.

It's your favorite mountain tea.

You'll feel better.

My taste buds are gone.

I prefer water.

Why is she dressed like that?

I love you, Teacher Chu!

Can a single hand clap?

Even a ballplayer needs an opponent!

Why do I only get to talk
to the air about love?

Who's been writing
these letters to me?

If you have guts. Step up!

Who's been putting disgusting letters
on my desk every day?


Why hide if you had the guts
to write them?

I'm not gonna let this go!

I'll post the letters

to check the handwriting!

I'll see where you can hide!

Go ahead and hide!

What happened?

Teacher said

she'd forgive us
for writing the letters.

You guys really went too far!

The outing has been changed
to next week.

Will you be coming?

Here's what I'll do,
I'll sign you up for now.

If you're busy,

then let me know later?

I'm sorry those jerks
hurt your feelings this way.

I'm sorry about the other night...

It was just a
really confusing experience.

My mind was blank.

Besides you,

I didn't know where else to go.

It's all right.

I should be the one apologizing.

Why should you be sorry?
It's your life.

In any case,

I've made some
decisions about my future.

I want to go someplace

where no one
knows me to get a fresh start.

I knew you could
take care of yourself.

I also have a decision
to announce about my future.

What decision?

You know I'm not the type
to settle down.

I'm still not sure about this...

Nevertheless it's been...

Remember Sophia?


I'm sure I've mentioned her name
to you a few times.

Nothing serious in the beginning,


You're getting married!

I would have told you about it sooner,

but it was all so sudden.

She's really changed my life.

Maybe she'll also change my future.

It sounds more absurd than your story.

I didn't know how you'd take it.


I knew you'd understand!

And I know you'll really like

and admire Sophia.

She's quite a painter, a teacher

...she's also managing my gallery...

And she's a great cook.

But you know,

this marriage is not going to change
my current lifestyle.

She's moving into
my apartment this weekend.

Pretty much the same place,

same job, and the same life.

Of course.

It's two o'clock already!

Oh, I'd better be going.

To where? I'll take you.

I'm fine.

Actually, I've got two hours to spare.

Will we be continuing
with our “friendship”

status like before?

I mean,

you do know about
the office in the back,

Sorry! I should go now!

Let's keep in touch.

Please think about it some more,
Master Chu.

The restaurant
really needs your presence.

With so many good young chefs,

you can easily find someone.

But none with the expertise

in the art
of Chinese cuisine like you?

Just your presence there

would be a living, treasured cookbook.

Do I just stand in the kitchen
until I rest in peace,

like Old Wen?

It's been said,

“People die for money,
birds die for food.”

To die for money is a man's business...

but to die for food?
That is for the birds!

Is it worth it?

There's truth to the saying.

But your life has been devoted
to the art of cooking.

What a pity to just let it go.

People today are so insensitive.

They can't appreciate
the art of exquisite dining.

Chinese cuisine
has traveled to Taiwan for 40 years.

And just like the rivers
that eventually flow into the sea...

It's all the same in the end.

Even a mess of slop can pass for
“Joy Luck Dragon Phoenix!”

What more can I say?

What is "pity"?

Only when a heart
feels dissatisfied can it feel pity.


I don't plan on
wasting my whole life on this stuff.

Miss Chu...

please help me
to convince your father not to retire!

Dad, you plan on retiring?

It's his own business.

He can make his own decision.

Master Chu, are you thinking
of opening your own restaurant?

Bu sure to let me know,

I'll follow you!

I see that Mr. Chu worries a lot

about his daughters.

Isn't that parenting?

It's harder for a single man.

It's been so many years.

When did Mrs. Chu die?

When Jia-Ning was 4 years old,

about 16 years ago.

A widower usually has a short life.

Why didn't he remarry?

Maybe because of the children.

He needs to wise up.

He's raising his daughters for others.

Only the ones
nobody wants end up with you.

If you were so wise,

you wouldn't be
haranguing over my divorce.

And you shouldn't
blame Jin-Feng either.

What do you think of Mr. Chu?

What about him?

He seems like
a nice person and a great cook.

He doesn't talk much...

but we really connect.

I have a little announcement to make.

You know,

just like Jia-Ning, I...

You're pregnant?

Nonsense! Of course not!


it's just that...

We just couldn't wait... he wants to...

But I'm a Christian.

We asked the priest
to marry us this morning...

Hold on!

He's waiting outside right now!

One second!

Come in! Come in!

Dad, Jia-Chien,

this is my husband, Chou Ming-Dao!



You scared me!

You're gonna be late!

What are you doing?

Packing Jia-Jen's things.

Let me help you.

I'm okay.

I loved this room when I was a child.

When your mom
wanted some peace and quiet...

...she also liked being in this room.

Mrs. Liang says

this room is airy
and has plenty of light...

...and it would be the perfect place
for an exercise bike.

Mrs. Liang?

I went to Jin-Rong's place last night

and told them Jia-Jen's news.

I'm running late.

I'll be back early from work.

Don't move any more stuff

until I get back.

Let me tell you...

Kids are creditors

collecting for the sins
of our past lives.

They know no compassion.

It's better off not having any.

“Life is a boundless sea.
Only returning to shore is happiness.”

Marriage is a source of sin.

A series of worries, disappointments,
misery, conflict and ingratitude.

I tell you,

every family has a book
of unspeakable problems.

I have a cause for celebration!

Jin-Rong's divorce decree
came through.

I should have it framed.

I want her to remember
her mother's words forever.

I warned her not to
marry that bastard!

I'll have this divorce decree framed

and hung on the bathroom wall.

You shouldn't worry so much.

Whatever will be, will be.

Instead of thinking
about those creditors,

why not think more about yourself?

Be careful! Watch your step!

Dad's really willing
to give the vase to me?

Not really.

But if you don't take it,

Mrs. Liang will.

What do you mean?

She's been here almost every night.

You're kidding.

I decided not to go to Amsterdam.

You okay? Be careful.

No problem!

He's not Christian.

Why did you agree to marry him?

He will be...

Welcome. Table for one?

I'm meeting someone.

Sure, help yourself.

Thanks for coming.

I thought you might not show up.

Why not?

The other night...

What kind of tea would you like?

What are you having?

Mountain tea.

Same for me.

Thank you.

You know, I understand

what you're going through...

...although I can't explain it.

Neither can I...

It's complicated,

but I can understand that.


I heard that you turned down
your promotion.

Everyone's shocked.

I hope I wasn't a factor.

Not at all.

Well, maybe a tiny bit

I don't know.
It's a whole series of things;

A family wedding...

actually, two marriages...

...and someone passed away.

And a really bad investment;

all of a sudden everything's gone.

Plus my father's health.

So I've decided to
stay with him for a while.

I think he needs me...

The chief asked me
to try to change your mind.

But, what the hell?

It's just a job.

I'm glad, you know?


That we didn't make love.

Not that I still wouldn't want to!

But seeing you like this
makes me happy.

I'm happy, too.

I think that we can be
really good friends.


Then, good friends?

Good friends.

When you were a baby,

I'd spin this for hours.

You wouldn't let me stop!

Well, please stop now,

I'm getting nauseous again!

And I should go.

I told Dad
I'd help shop for Sunday's dinner.

Why did Dad send formal invitations?

Is it for Guo-Lun and Ming-Dao?

He said he has his own

“little announcement” to make.

Mrs. Liang!


I think, unlike you and Guo-Lun...

...they won't rush their engagement...

so hopefully, he'll have
enough time to think it over...

...and realize what a nightmare she is.

But I don't think
he will fully recover

from the shock of recent events.

Had I known he'd go crazy,

I wouldn't have...

Don't blame yourself.

He's not going crazy.

He's an old horse.

Horses don't get married.

What do you think?

Over here, Ming-Dao!

Okay! Okay!

Don't just run around!

One of you chase it,
the other grab it!

Over here, Ming-Dao!


Got it!

- Jin-Rong, Mrs. Liang.
- Grandpa Chu!

A tie for your father

and a bottle of good wine.

Also for your father.

You shouldn't have.

I should've been here earlier to help.
How's my pin?


I hope we're not intruding.

No, not at all.

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Come, a toast.

Come on...

Please help yourself.

Everyone, please help yourself.

It's a simple meal.
Please help yourselves.

Mr. Chu, you've prepared too much.

Winter Melon Soup.

Red Seven Star Fish was too big.

They're best at 2 pounds.

Listen to yourself! So picky already!

You'll never find a husband
when you grow up.

You girls are lucky!

Your father's a great cook.

Look at this wonderful cuisine!

Looks, smells
and tastes good. It's all here.


You two, bottoms up!

Jia-Ning... You two, bottoms up!

Don't drink too much!

I'm fine!


Bottoms up!

Fate has brought us
to this table tonight...

That's right!

Although we're not actually related,

...we're still considered family.

And since we're one big family...

there's really nothing
we can't say to each other.

I've kept this
inside me for a long time.

It wasn't as if I was trying to hide
any secrets from you...

I just feel that
I shouldn't allow my personal affairs... be the family's worry and,

thus, become a burden.

As a family,
living under the same roof...

...we can still live separate lives.

This worry
that we have for each other is

what makes us a family.

I've done nothing wrong
by not telling.

By telling, I can end this lingering.

I cannot live my life
like my methods of cooking.

I can't wait until all the ingredients
are prepared and then cook.

Of course, after the first bite,

whether it's sour, sweet or spicy...
it's totally up to the individual.

That's it for now.

I'll continue after dinner!

Dad, what are you trying to say?

We already knew.

You do?

Let Dad tell us.

Go ahead and say it.

The dishes are getting cold.

Since the situation has come this far,

I'll say it.

To me, this house
contains several old memories.

But now, it's so empty,

and almost everyone has left.

I've decided to sell it.

I found a really nice place on Guandu.

It's a bit old and may
require some remodeling.

But it's a great place.

It should be ready in a few months.

Great. It's always nice
to move to a new place.

New people, new house, new life.

Great. I'll make a toast to you...

”Auntie” Liang

I haven't taken care of Jin-Rong

...but I can swear to Heaven...

as long as I, Old Chu,
have one last breath...

...I'll see that they both shall
never go cold or hungry...

...and that you're
always welcome in our new home.

Take a look.

This is a medical report I had done

at Veteran's Hospital last month.

Please, Auntie,
we ask for your approval.

I'll first drink a toast.


Dad, you should stop drinking.

You're getting drunk.

I'm not drunk.


Uncle Chu and I
have been planning for a long time,

but because of this terrible divorce,

our love was a secret until now.

Although love should be
between two people...

...Uncle Chu loves all of you.

And he loves Shan-Shan also.

So he really wishes
for your approval and understanding.

As for me,

I only hope to
be with him at his side.

I'm willing to be with him.

Jin-Rong! That's enough!

Don't say anymore!

Is there a mistake?

Dad, are you crazy?

I'm not crazy.

I know exactly what I'm doing.

Mom? Mom?

Loosen her collar!

Don't touch me!

Keep your dirty hands off of me!
Damn you, Old Chu!

How dare you snatch my daughter!

Help me carry her
to the sofa! Guo-Lun.

Be careful!

Damn you! Don't touch me!

Take me home, Jin-Rong.

Let me tell you,

don't even think
about it for as long as

I still have my last breath.


Let's go. Shan-Shan.

Mom, calm down!

Let's take her home.

Okay, okay.

What kind of world is this?

I want to die!

What kind of family is this?

I'll take Shan-Shan!

God won't let you get away with this!

I want to go back to America!

Hello? Guo-Lun, how are you?

Fine! But we've been up all night.

I don't have the heart to wake them.

Don't wake them. Get some sleep.

I'll be back again in a few months.

I'll come visit then.

Bye, then.

Tell us all about Amsterdam
when you come back.

And thanks for your help
these past months.

Take care of your wife and kid.

Of course.

Say hello to Jia-Jen
and Ming-Dao for us.

They can't make it either.

They've got a big day
today themselves.


Do you believe that
Jesus Christ has forgiven your sins

and made you a new person?


Do you believe in following
Jesus Christ

unto eternity and never regret?


Believe in your heart.
Say “yes” from your mouth:

In the name of the Father,

Son and Holy Spirit,
I baptize you. Amen.

How are you feeling?

Fine, just a small headache.

You should get going?

All right...
I'll pick up Shan-Shan on my return.

Get some rest at home.


I love you!


- Hi.
- Hi. Please come in,

you'll be the only one here tonight.

Everyone else called to apologize,
because they had plans.

Where's Shan-Shan and Jin-Rong?

Jin-Rong's not feeling well today.

Shan-Shan is with her grandma.

No need to take off your shoes.

Just come in.

Did they tell you
the ultrasound results?

I don't want to know.

Another daughter?

Have a seat. Dinner's almost ready.

What's wrong?

Nothing. It's delicious. But...

But what?

You put too much ginger in the soup.

Its effect is ruined.

Too much ginger?

This is the same as Mother's recipe...

I remember you
bickering about this back then.

You're too timid with ginger.

It's just a comment.

Don't boss me around the kitchen.

I wasn't. It was a minor criticism.

The taste...


What about the taste?


your soup...

What about my soup?

Your soup,


I can taste it.

You can taste?

I can taste it.

Some more...