- Title: Delicacies Destiny
- Also Known As: 珍馐记 (Zhen Xiu Ji)
- Director: Guo Hao
- Genres: Historical, Food, Romance, Adventure
- Country: China
- Type: Drama
- Number of Episodes: 16+1
- Aired: Apr 7, 2022 – May 2, 2022
- Original Network: Bilibili
- Where to watch: Disney+
Delicacies Destiny Synopsis
Delicacies Destiny is a Chinese romance drama released in 2022, with food and historical as the background story. This drama has 16 episodes, plus 1 additional episode about the alternate ending. The story was focusing on the talented young chef Ling Xiaoxiao who was determined to become the world’s best imperial chef. She was adamant to fulfill her father’s dream of becoming an imperial chef. So when the palace was recruiting a chef for the crown prince’s kitchen, she tricks her former employer to get out of a 10 years contract.
To fulfill her dream, she must conquer her biggest obstacle, Zhu Shoukui, the notoriously picky palate crown prince. Yet her superb cooking skill wins the attention and (finally) love of the crown prince. With the help of Zhu Shoukui, Ling Xiaoxiao managed to get through multiple difficulties. Nevertheless, their biggest challenge is themself. Will they choose love over dreams and responsibility?
Delicacies Destiny Review
I’m a foodie and a great fan of cooking videos. My Youtube history is an endless list of cooking videos. So when I accidentally stumbled on Delicacies Destiny on Disney+, it felt like I found a hidden gem.
Delicacies Destiny is a romance drama, with some historical, food and comedy flavor, about the imperial family. But this drama doesn’t like any other drama that tells you about the complicated harem stories. There is no such thing as concubines fighting one another, face slapping scenes, or complicated murder attempts. Delicacies Destiny’s main story is about the relationship between the talented young chef and the picky eater crown prince.
It’s All About The Food
The story itself was relatively simple, or if I should say… too shallow. On the other hand, the main star of the show is the food. The cooking and eating scenes were straight cooking or mukbang videos. Some of the cooking scenes were taken by a close-range shot so you can see all the details. The foods, the ingredients, the chopping, the stir-frying, the boiling, the braising, and the sizzling sounds… it dazzled me, hard!
And the food platings… oh my God! The foods were made for the royals. So you can imagine how beautiful and colorful they are.
The eating scenes were emphasized by the animation of blooming flowers or jumping fishes to portray the delicacy of Ling Xiaoxiao’s dishes.
Not Much of The Storyline
Aside from the food scenes, this drama takes us to follow the footstep of Ling Xiaoxiao while she paves her way in the imperial kitchen. Albeit multiple difficulties ahead of her because of the petty and narrow-minded people around her. Honestly, regardless of her superb cooking skill, I found it’s a bit hard to fall in love completely with our main leads characters.
Ling Xiaoxiao is a beautiful young girl, her determination to achieve her dream and filial piety toward her father don’t win me completely. Sometimes she becomes too stubborn and the ways she banters with the crown prince makes me think, does she, as a commoner, have a sense of decorum?
She was so indifferent towards him and the crown prince was furious but didn’t do anything to her.. while on the other hand, he was violent towards another servant. Isn’t it a bit biased? And at the end when he became too drawn to his sadness shows his weak character.
That also makes me feel that the crown prince character is less likable. In my humble opinion, a crown prince should be a dignified person, not childish. Please note that I do watch too many historical dramas, and so far my favorite prince character was Wang Kai’s Xiao Jingyan on Nirvana in Fire drama. So to compare Zhu Shoukui and Xiao Jingyan was was like comparing an apple to an orange. But my standard was already too high and I can’t help it.. I’m sorry.
The First Impression
This is my first time to watch He Rui Xian and Wang Xing Yue as a main lead. He Rui Xian is a beautiful actress, she was able to act as a stubborn and ambitious Xiaoxiao. Wang Xing Yue also fit perfectly as a childish crown prince. The way he pouts and stomping his feet really makes me feel the urge to slap his head 😆😆
The writer of Delicacies Destiny, Yu Zheng, used to be the writer of The Story of Yanxi Palace. So I do have a high expectation of this drama. Yet after many episodes, I feel an utter disappointment. But I managed to watch it until the end, even though my delicate heart is bleeding..😆😆
The production put too much focus on the foods rather than the story. The story was too marred. They do put an effort to explain why the crown prince had a fallout with his brothers and the reason for the insecurities he felt about himself. And the ending is too unsatisfactory despite the production putting another episode of an alternate ending for our main leads.
All in all, Delicacies Destiny were destined for those who consider themself as a foodie. But it will not appease your greed for a good story plot.
Delicacies Destiny Characters
Ling Xiaoxiao (played by He Rui Xian) doesn’t want to be trapped in a small restaurant. She wanted to spread her wings, and her desired target is non-other than the imperial kitchen. She dreamed to become the world’s best imperial chef. And to join the chef competition, she doesn’t hesitate to cheat her former employer.
Her character which was adamant, ambitious, as well as clever, sharp-tongued, and bold, were the characteristics of a modern person but trapped in the body of the Ming Dynasty’s young woman.
Ling Xiaoxiao is a good person, but sometimes her bold temperament annoys me.
All the way from the beginning to the end, she stays true to her character, for Ling Xiaoxiao, cooking is not only a job. It is her soul.
Zhu Shoukui (played by Wang Xing Yue) is a boorish crown prince. He’s hot-headed, often throws temper tantrums, and finicky. He shouts to the servants, kicks them when they make mistakes, and flips the table if the foods are not for his liking. He’s also arrogant and pouts all the time. Regardless of his childish behavior, Shoukui is a very dedicated crown prince. He’s a hard-working crown prince and he took the emperor’s word and scolding seriously.
The lack of affection from his father emperor makes Shoukui questions his ability. And the cold relationship between his father emperor and his mother empress were the root of Zhu Shoukui’s insecurity in a relationship. He became overly zealous when he falls in love with Ling Xiaoxiao. You’ll about to see a respectable crown prince of a kingdom washing dishes in the kitchen. It’s a strange sight for an ancient Chinese environment, but from my modern point of view, it’s a bit sweet…
It’s a bit boring to watch this drama if it weren’t for the kitchen trio, Ming Mei, Chun Chan, and Xi Yan. They were funny, affectionate, and entertaining. Ming Mei is an intuitive person, Chun Chan is an affectionate person, and Xi Yan is a straightforward (or I should say, naive) person. Together they liven up the kitchen atmosphere.
Delicacies Destiny Story
(beware, spoilers ahead)
It started when Ling Xiaoxiao has to cheat on her employer to release her from a 10 years contract to join an imperial chef competition. She cooks various dishes to attempt the boss. While he was busy stuffing his mouth, Xiaoxiao made him sign a letter that freed her from her contract with the restaurant. The mission was successful, and she happily goes to the competition.
Meanwhile, the palace is in a dire state. The crown prince, Zhu Shoukui, refuses to eat dishes made by the imperial chef. He got furious after 3 bites of food and violently flipped the table full of food. He demands a new chef to satisfy his palate.
In the meantime, a single egg dish made by Xiaoxioa has enticed the eunuch Li who is responsible for the competition. But it doesn’t stop him to try to extort money from her. At the critical time, the prince’s personal eunuch, eunuch Zheng, came and demands another chef. In order to preserve his life, Eunuch Li appoints Xiaoxiao to be the new imperial chef.
Ling Xiaoxiao tries to grasp the reason why the crown prince refuses to eat dishes from so many renowned chefs. She tries the food, and checks on the recipes but found none of them were wrong. But then, she found that the real reason is the knot in the crown prince’s heart.
Blessing in Disguise
The former chef, chef Chen is Shoukui’s favorite chef and he regards chef Chen as his friend. Bu then chef Chen contracted a disease and the imperial doctor says the only way he could survive is to stop working as a chef. So Shoukui had him kicked out of the imperial kitchen to stop him from working as a chef but secretly send him enough money and a doctor to cure the disease. But he missed the food made by his only friend, and that’s why he cannot eat other chef’s dishes.
To attract the crown prince’s picky palate, Xiaoxiao made him a simple rice dish wrapped in lettuce. Shoukui was flabbergasted, fired Xiaoxiao, and make her leave the palace. After Xiaoxiao left, Shoukui was not satisfied. He decided to try the wrapped rice before determining the punishment for Xiaoxiao.
Unexpectedly, the common dish fits perfectly to his liking. So he got Xiaoxio back into the palace. But she refuses to go back unless Shoukui agrees to her conditions; a salary increase, a right to control the Delicacy Kitchen, and the Crown prince must not make any demands, he must eat whatever is offered to him.
Things Getting Harder
As the day goes by, more problems arise. The younger brothers of Shoukui are returning to the palace. Shoukui has a restrained relationship with his brothers, Prince An and Prince Jin. They decided to put Shoukui in a hard time by demanding Shoukui’s Destiny Kitchen to create a dish that could satisfy both princes’ taste buds.
The problem is, that they both have polar opposite tastes. Prince Jin prefers a light taste dishes but Prince An prefers heavier, spicy tasted dishes. Xiaoxiao solves the problem with the help of her kitchen staff. And also help Shoukui mend his broken relationship with his brother. In the end, three princes happily walk hand in hand for a meal.
Not only do the princes create a problem for Xiaoxiao, but the Emperor, the Empress, the Noble Consort, and her kitchen staff also makes things difficult for Xiaoxiao. Especially the Empress who realizes that her only imperial son is attracted to his chef and trying so hard to keep them apart. In the end, Xiaoxiao is able to pass all the hurdles in front of her with the help of Shouikui who finally admits that he fall in love with her.
At a banquet, Shoukui confesses his love to Xiaoxiao. Unexpectedly, she refuses his feeling. Xiaoxiao told him that she came into the palace only to reach her dream. Unbeknownst to the two of them, Noble Consort Li invites Jiang Yinnuo, Shoukui’s old acquaintance to come into the palace.
Her goal is to make Jiang Yinnuo a candidate for the crown princess position. This is her strategy appease the empress so she could get out of her confinement. Shoukui uses Jiang Yinnuo to make Xiaoxiao jealous. And it works. Xiaoxiao was jealous and realizes that she has also fallen in love with Shoukui. Finally, we all could see some lovey-dovey scenes between Xiaoxiao and Shoukui.
A Little Too Sweet
As the relationship developed, the Empress force Xiaoxiao to learn the proper etiquette as a crown princess to be and forbids her to enter the kitchen. The stubborn Xiaoxiao manages to secretly went to the Delicacy kitchen and cook. The empress caught her and make her choose between Shoukui or her career.
Later, The emperor summon her to hear her decision. Shoukui was surprised when Xiaoxiao turned up in a chef attire. She had her decision. As his last resort to change her decision, Shoukui invites his older sister who’s married out of love to a commoner to help him persuade Xiaoxiao. The princess failed the mission.
Xiaoxiao then decides to leave the palace and open a restaurant. She spends the day cooks for her guest while reminiscing her relationship with Shoukui. Everything went well until one day, she heard the news about the death of Shoukui. Xiaoxiao is devastated. But little does she know that the death news is only a cover-up for Shuikui to give up his crown prince position. He then went to Lingyun Town to be reunited with her.
The ending is not how I expected it to be. The spoiled crown prince decided to give up his position because Xiaoxiao refuse to give up her dream. It doesn’t seems right to me. There should be some compromising to get a win-win solution for both of them.
Perhaps the producer and writer could imagine a reception similar to mine. So they decided to add an episode with an alternate ending. On this extra episode, Shuikui was still a crown prince and Xiaoxiao decided to choose the love of her life over her career and they live happily ever after as an emperor and empress.