With the 25th anniversary of HK’s return to Mainland China, TVB has been airing series trailing the decades since the return. Communion is one such series, a short 15 episodes focusing on food & beverage industry of Yuet Tak brand.
Chef Au Yiu Cho (Roger Kwok) took over the Yuet Tak restaurant in mid 1990s. During the 1997 financial crisis, the restaurant got into financial trouble as his wife Tang Lai Kuen (Alice Chan) purchased the building but business was affected and payment for mortgage was impacted. As Lai Kuen purchased the building without Yiu Cho’s knowledge, it broke the trust between the husband & wife – resulting in their ultimate divorce.
Lai Kuen took his eldest son Ka Him to Shenzhen to start anew, while Yiu Cho took care of his youngest while managing the restaurant. Over the next decades, Lai Kuen used the Yuet Tak brand in her expansion of restaurants in Mainland China, achieving great results. Meanwhile, Yiu Cho continues to manage the restaurant in HK in a more traditional manner, focusing on neighbourhood businesses and traditional taste. When Lai Kuen’s organisation returns to HK to open a branch, complications arise on infringement of brand name. As a result, Yiu Cho and Lai Kuen’s company are embroiled in legal tussle.
At the same time, both sons are expanding their career in IT. As both their path crosses, brothers encounter conflicts in personality and approach in life. Ka Him takes after Lai Kuen, a lot more mature and rationale, while Ka Kin emphasizes relationship more and a little rash in his judgment.
The series focuses on the relationship of the original nucleus family – trailing their love crossing between HK and Mainland China and over the decades. Although divorced, Yiu Cho and Lai Kuen obviously care about each other very much. During the challenges over the years, both went out of their way to help each other. The brand infringement case brings out the best in both and actually brings the family members even closer.
Although the series is to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the return of HK to mainland, the series did take a lot of opportunities to slip in propagandas on how great it is to be part of the mainland. Although I am sure there are benefits, the propaganda is a little too glaring and obvious. 😀
The concept of metaverse is also explored. And the competition to expand various concepts in IT through the younger generations are great ideas to showcase to the audience as well. Personally, I really like the metaverse concept of using Yuen Tak restaurant as the universe for the general public to have their social life. Not unlike in real life whereby eating with family and friends have always been the focus of ties. Would be interesting to see how this would expand in the future. Profitability is stressed to be an important aspect to make the metaverse a sustainable concept. Frankly, it is a little blurry to me how the whole concept can be monetised.
The dishes introduced are quite special, especially the spare ribs with strawberry and peach. The story behind the dish is touching, and when translated into an introductory promotional video, it is very nice. Very apt to use to promote dishes for a restaurant, especially one featuring the chef and the concept of tweaking the food to suit his wife’s health requirements.
The series do have veteran actors and actresses propping the series and their delivery is satisfactory. I have always liked Alice Chan as her portrayal is spot on as the independent & driven lady who is equally loving towards her husband & sons. Roger Kwok interprets the character in a slight wooden manner, of which I have a bit of mixed feeling. The character is one who is a loyal traditionalist, but Roger’s interpretation is a little weird.
The younger generations of actors and actresses probably need a bit of polishing but are generally not too bad. Chow Ka Lok who portrays Au Ka Kin is very natural, while the actresses who portrays Cheong Loi and On Yeuk Tung (love interest of the brothers) are natural in the characters as well.
Relatively short at 15 episodes, the show is fast-paced. The key storyline focuses on family ties, empathy & loyalty. I find myself rooting for Yiu Cho and Lai Kuen reconciling, mainly from their obvious care and love for each other despite all the odds. Happy endings for all the couples.
A different view of how Hong Kong’s F&B businesses have gone through the past 25 years. My own conclusion – everyone needs to eat. Although a difficult business with marginal profitability and changing tastebuds of customers, F&B won’t go wrong if the right heart is used.