Zenra Meshi (Naked Dining) – J-drama Episode 3 Recap & Review

Feelings like Tajin powder

Episode 3 of Zenra Meshi starts with Souta back to his usual self at work. He promptly finishes up work and does not refuse from taking up more tasks when his boss asks him to. His coworkers wonder if he had made up with his partner which was the reason for his positive attitude. However, Souta is actually looking forward to the weekend so that he can spend more time at his grandmother’s house, cooking with Mahiro.

He recalls how Mahiro had accepted his apology and his request to make every single dish in his grandmother’s recipe book. A flashback shows Souta and Mahiro helping the villagers as they harvest vegetables that grow on the organic farms. Souta joins Mahiro at the fish market where they buy some white fish for their next dish.

He learns that Mahiro had been taking care of his grandmother’s house by cleaning and regularly harvesting the land. Souta thanks Mahiro for his help. Mahiro wonders if Souta remembers him but Souta still hasn’t placed Mahiro as his former classmate. They decide to call each other on a first-name basis.

Once they get back home, Mahiro helps Souta wear an apron to prepare him for cooking. Souta tells Mahiro that he was a civil servant who usually worked overtime and did not bother wearing an apron while he cooked for himself at home. Souta tells Mahiro that he was sort of a pushover at work and that he always gave in when his colleagues asked for his help with work.

Mahiro tells Souta that he too had a job in the city but had given it all up when his mother passed away. He came back to his hometown to take care of his mother’s vegetable shop, and together, the two start preparing the dish of the week – Pescado Frito with Tajin powder. Mahiro teaches Souta how to slice the fish and Souta is impressed by his skills.

He teaches Souta the techniques of slicing and chopping precisely. Together, the duo manage to prep the ingredients for the dish. Souta gets to frying the battered fish but makes Mahiro laugh, all thanks to his fear of putting the fish in hot oil. As Mahiro laughs at Souta, the latter finds a piece of coriander on Mahiro’s cheek and cleans it for him, leaving Mahiro shocked.

Mahiro leaves Souta to enjoy the meal all by himself, which leaves Souta wondering if Mahiro left him alone because of his habit of eating naked. Souta asks Mahiro if he can join the party in the village the following day and Mahiro invites him. Once back inside the house, Souta locks the door and strips down naked. He enjoys before-eating the Pescado Frito as a quesadilla.

Meanwhile, Mahiro makes it back to work with a grin on his face. His colleague wonders why Mahiro was so chirpy. The next morning, Mahiro and the rest of the village farmers gather for a meeting where they discuss the crops that could be harvested to benefit the villagers.

Souta joins the meeting as well and learns how the villagers were grateful for Mahiro’s knowledge about crops and harvest produce. Souta is smothered with food items made by villagers. Despite the attention he’s getting, Souta cannot help but feel jealous when a girl named Riho joins the meeting and starts chatting with Mahiro.

The two seem close and Riho feeds Mahiro. Mahiro talks to her with a smile on his face, which leaves Souta in a sour mood. On their way to the train station, Mahiro and Souta talk about the dinner party. He asks Mahiro about his relationship with Riho, but Mahiro states that Souta is overthinking and there’s nothing between the two of them.

Mahiro drops Souta at the train station and promises to prepare the ingredients for the next dish. Souta is coming back the next weekend. Mahiro asks Souta to clock out early from work and come back to the village sooner.

Back to the present day, Souta works as fast as he can to make it to the village. However, the episode ends with his colleague asking for Souta’s help just as he is about to leave for home. 

The Episode Review

It is very likely that the liberation Souta feels when he eats naked is actually an analogy to the liberation he feels when he is away from work. In his suit and tie job in the city, Souta is constricted to a set routine which is why eating naked at home is liberating. This is why hanging out with Mahiro is liberating to him as well.

Knowing the fact that Mahiro harbours a crush on Souta, it is very endearing to see that the latter was jealous when Riho gave Mahiro some attention. It is clear that the feelings of infatuation are mutual for the two.

Mahiro is really cute and it is possible that he knows about Souta’s habit of eating naked. This could be the reason why he left so Souta could enjoy the meal comfortably. The promo for the next episode promises chaos and I am here for it.

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Expect a full-season review when the season concludes!


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