The film starts with Heejoon walking around a rather new apartment unit with Seonwoo in the kitchen, preparing and talking about the ingredients for the pasta they’re cooking. Their conversation begins with how they feel about their old apartment back in college. Seonwoo says he doesn’t like it because it lacked sunlight, a huge contrast to his current, properly lit unit. Heejoon thinks otherwise, believing it’s actually cute and cozy — the first of their honest but conflicting opinions. They reminisce about their college days, and Heejoon mentions the food Seonwoo would always cook, something Heejon likes. Although he accepts the compliment, Seonwoo throws in his rather truthful impression: he thinks Heejoon just pretended he liked the food.
When Seonwoo tells that Heejoon doesn’t always sound genuine, Heejoon goes on the defensive, insisting that he has always liked Seonwoo’s food. As if testing Heejoon, Seonwoo then drops a question that catches the former off guard: “Why did you ignore my messages when we broke up?” It stumps Heejoon, and he stutters. Before he can even finish his reasoning, Seonwoo cuts him off and admits that he’s just kidding around. He comments on how Heejoon still takes things a little too seriously, a trait that hasn’t changed about him since college.
With the tension fading out, they carry on with the cooking. Seonwoo teaches Heejoon how to prepare the ingredients, including efficiently cutting onions and the number of seasonings and other flavors. Heejoon tries the sauce, and figures that it doesn’t taste quite right. Seonwoo fixes it with a bit of lemon juice. He dips his index and raises it to Heejoon, telling him to taste it from his finger. Heejoon hesitates at first but gives in. He smiles when he finally finds the exact taste they have been looking for.
As they prepare the pasta, their conversation carries on to other topics including Heejoon’s sister who’s already pregnant. Seonwoo says Heejoon could’ve brought her, but Heejoon differs, thinking it could make the visit awkward because she doesn’t know of their past. Seonwoo then teases him and asks if Heejoon visited him because he misses his ex. In the usual, awkward Heejoon fashion, he denies it and says that he just genuinely wants to know what Seonwoo’s been up to these days. They learn that none of them have been seeing anyone and that they are both single.
Seonwoo then breaks the fact that he knows Heejoon is stalking his Instagram. He even teases him about the latter liking his photos sometimes and tells him that he could’ve just followed Seonwoo. Heejoon defensively stutters yet again, to Seonwoo’s amusement. The banter gently shifts to Seonwoo learning about Heejon’s travel to Baekdo. Heejoon says that the place reminded him of their visit back then when they still dated — a time he recalls as one of the happiest moments of his life. He wonders if something as nice and happy as that could happen again. Seonwoo smiles and does not comment.
With nothing else to talk about, Seonwoo begins to open up about his actual feelings after they broke up. He confides that he really had a hard time when they called it off. Back then, whenever he tried to meet someone, he’d always wonder if it would get tough like before, and he admits that he was terrified of entering new relationships. But after telling his honest feelings, he assures Heejoon that he’s okay now. In fact, he believes that one day, he’ll have the kind of happiness he and Heejoon had when they were still together.
The pasta gets done, and they both have their shares. They sit and eat silently, but not without sharing a short, genuine smile.
It’s already nighttime when they part. As Heejoon bids goodbye, Seonwoo pulls him in for a hug, which surprises Heejoon. With Seonwoo’s arms still wrapped over Heejoon’s shoulder, they stay silent for a while. Seonwoo then tells Heejoon to send his regards to the latter’s sister, and that Heejoon should just follow the pasta recipe he gave.
With a bit of hesitation, they separate and part ways. As Heejooon walks away, he looks at his bag and sees a token with a small handwritten note that says, “Don’t forget about me!” He looks back, but Seonwoo’s no longer behind him.
‘The Summer Pasta Recipe’ can be a little awkward — exes meeting again will always be awkward. But its simplicity and candid dialogues are its biggest charms. It’s not often that you get to let your feelings and honesty out, especially when you have hurt someone in the past, more so if it’s a person you used to romantically love. And while the truth may not always be the closure that everyone needs, for Heejoon and Seonwoo, it’s probably the healing they have been looking for.
Watch ‘The Summer Pasta Recipe’ on GagaOOLala