27 Popular Romantic Korean Dramas you must watch
If you want to learn Korean, or you are a big Korean Drama fanatic, or you love watching romantic dramas, or it is snowing outside and you are locked in your room with nothing better to do, or you have a Korean boy friend / girl friend, or you want to watch something different yet romantic or you are in love with Korean Culture, or you have heard of hallyu but dont know what it is, or you are just a die-hard fan of lee min ho, or you are just plain getting bored, or you are feeling lonely, or you just had a break up with your boyfriend / girlfriend, or whatever your reason might be, but if you have even the slightest of interest in Korean Culture or Korean Entertainment then here are the top 27 dramas you must watch.
If you are very new to Korean culture and if you find this list overwhelming then we recommend that you watch atleast the top 5 dramas that we have shortlisted and let us know what you think.. And even if that is too much for you then we recommend that you watch at the least – Coffee Prince – and we guarantee that you will come back looking for more..
Top 5 must watch Korean Dramas
Boys Over Flowers - 꽃보다 남자
At the prestigious Shin Hwa High School in Seoul, four boys comprise the group known as the Flower Four. The crème de la crème of most powerful families from Korea, these spoiled, rebellious, flirtatious and cruel boys rule the school. Enter Jan Di, a girl of humble upbringing who is accepted into Shin Hwa on a swimming scholarship after accidentally saving the life of a Shin Hwa student. Not one for following the rules blindly, Jan Di faces immediate scrutiny from the entire school and in particular the boys of the Flower Four and their leader, Goo Jun Pyo (Lee Min Ho), who dislikes her instantly. Through her charm and undying optimism, she slowly begins to capture the hearts of those around her, even the icy boys of the F4.
You’re Beautiful – 미남이시네요
You’re Beautiful is hilarious fun with a solid grounding in romance and emotional heart, and unfolds with the Hong Sisters’ creative trademark flair. The innocent, young Go Mi Nam has never interacted with the “real world”; after she and her identical twin brother are abandoned as children, she grows up in a convent. After her brother successfully auditions to become the newest member of pop group A.N.JELL, all that changes. When her brother suddenly disappears to the U.S. his manager desperately decides to enlist Mi Nam to play the part of her brother until he recovers. Mi Nam, unwilling to give up on the dreams of one of them becoming famous and finding their mother, reluctantly agrees. The innocent almost-nun has no idea what she’s in for, particularly when it comes to Hwang Tae Kyung, the neurotic, prickly band leader who opposes her joining the band. When the other members, kind Shin Woo and lovable Jeremy, fall under the spell of their newest member, things start to get complicated. And when Mi Nam herself starts to feel strange sensations toward reserved, perfectionistic Tae Kyung, who has his own set of parental issues, chaos ensues. Punctuated by original music and propelled by the pitch-perfect performances, You’re Beautiful is an enjoyable romp from start to finish.
Playful Kiss – 장난스런 키스
An adaptation of classic manga Itazura No Kiss, Playful Kiss is a warm, bubbly drama about falling in love and growing up along the way. Oh Ha Ni, nicknamed “Noah’s snail” by her father and friends for her ability to keep trying even though she isn’t the brightest in the bunch, has one goal in mind: to capture the heart of school genius, Baek Seung Jo. After harboring an all-consuming crush for years, she finally gets up the courage to give him a letter confessing her feelings. Seung Jo, an icy perfectionist, coldly rejects her. When Ha Ni’s house is destroyed by an earthquake, she and her father move in with an old family friend—none other than Seung Jo’s father. Now, Ha Ni and Seung Jo must deal with the awkwardness of living under the same roof. Can one determined, warm-hearted high school girl melt the heart of this closed-off genius?
Coffee Prince – 커피프린스
One of our most popular dramas, this romantic comedy tells the story of Han Kyul, the handsome son of a wealthy hotelier family who is set in his bachelor ways and constantly deflects his family’s attempts to make him commit. The constant pressure to get married drives him to hire a goofy young delivery boy Eun Chan to pretend to be his gay lover to scare away his family’s set-ups. Trouble starts when Han Kyul begins to get to know the hardworking and lovable Eun Chan, and begins to develop real feelings for him—only to discover that “he” is actually a girl disguised as a boy. A rare drama that deals with homosexuality, this controversial series received multiple awards, such as the 2007 MBC Acting Awards for Yoon Eun Hye and Gong Yoo, as well as Best TV drama award at the 2008 Korean Producers’ Awards.
Secret garden – 시크릿 가든
This quirky, high concept drama follows a neurotic businessman and a passionate stunt woman who come to possess each other’s hearts and bodies…literally! Kim Joo Won is the arrogant, eccentric heir to a large company. Poised to inherit a large department store, he constantly rejects the girls his matchmaking mother sends his way. When he meets Gil Ra Im, a beautiful, driven stunt-woman, she changes his life, as he becomes fascinated by her strength and vulnerability. Ra Im wants nothing to do with this oddball, drawn more to his pop-star cousin Oscar, whose music she admires. Ra Im and Joo Won are thrown together when, due to a magical accident, they end up switching bodies. Now, they’ll have to live each other’s lives, coming to know each other (and themselves) in the process better than they would have thought possible…
Other Korean Dramas
City Hunter – 시티헌터
For Lee Min Ho fans, this intense, beautifully shot romantic thriller loosely based on a manga of the same name by Tsukasa Hojo, is a revenge drama done right. In 1983, 21 South Korean military operatives are sent into North Korea on a secret mission. After completing their mission, they are executed by their own side in a government cover-up. The sole survivor, Lee Jin Pyo, watches as his closest friend dies beside him. Taking his friend’s son under his wing, Jin Pyo raises him as his own and trains him with one goal: to take revenge on the men responsible for this massacre. Some twenty years later, a brilliant young man joins the international communications team of the Blue House (Korea’s White House). Lee Yoon Sung has but one mission in mind: to find and bring down the five men responsible for the murder of his father. To do so, he must hide his identity and fighting skills to infiltrate the government. During his quest for revenge, however, he also enacts justice, and is given the nickname City Hunter by the populace, who knows only of a shadowy figure exposing corruption in their city. Torn between his surrogate father’s drive for vengeance and the innocent girl he loves, Yoon Sung must fight to survive, and choose the path he will take.
Personal Taste – 개인의 취향
Personal Taste tells a story of confused love and sexuality. After being dumped by her long-time boyfriend, Park Kae In, a furniture designer and daughter of a famous architect, is convinced she will never love again. Enter Jeon Jin Ho, an architect who needs to scout out her house for his latest business deal. After Kae In assumes Jin Ho is gay during an early encounter, Jin Ho capitalizes on the opportunity to pretend to be gay in order to move in with her. Once there, he gradually embarks on a mission to make over the tomboy, but in the mayhem of makeover and hiding his true orientation, he begins to fall for her. What will happen when, despite strange boundaries, these two fall for each other? Lee Min Ho finally returns alongside Son Ye Jin in this quirky series.
I’m Sorry, I Love You – 미안하다, 사랑한다
A hallyu sensation that won viewers across Asia, I’m Sorry, I Love You stars Cha Moo Hyuk, a man who was adopted by an Australian family but treated cruelly and then abandoned at a young age. By chance, he meets Song Eun Chae, a fashion coordinator dedicated to her employer, singer Choi Yune. Their meeting will have implications for the rest of Cha Moo Hyuk’s life as a devastating turn of events leads him to delve into his past, and ultimately find happiness. I’m Sorry, I Love You is an unpredictable melodrama that became so successful that an animated version was produced in Japan.
My girlfriend is a Nine Tailed Fox – 내 여자친구는 구미호
Cha Dae Woong is a spoiled brat with plans to become a successful action star. One day, on the run from his rich grandfather’s latest fit of rage towards him, he accidentally frees a nine-tailed fox, Gu Mi Ho, who has been imprisoned in a painting for 500 years. Frightened at first, he runs away to the woods and ends up getting seriously injured. Feeling indebted to him, Gu Mi Ho gives him her ” fox orb ” a powerful part of her life force, to heal him. When he wakes up, the two form an awkward partnership, as Dae Woong begins to rely on the power of the orb to shoot his action sequences, while also giving in to Mi Ho’s request to teach her how to act human. Though Dae Woong is initially acting out of fear, things start to change as he gradually begins to fall for her. However, Mi Ho will be faced with a terrible choice as her time in human form runs out in this heart-wrenching comedy. My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox is a snappy, quirky, folklore-infused romantic drama about a star-crossed couple played by actor/singer Lee Seung Gi and Shin Min Ah.
Full House – 풀하우스
Han Ji Eun is a naive script writer who lives alone, until she gets swindled by her best friends into thinking she’s won an all-inclusive trip to China. Once she’s gone, they sell off her house for their own personal gain. On the plane, she meets Lee Young Jae, a hotshot actor in Korea. Once she realizes she is stuck in China with no friends or money, she is forced to go to Lee Young Jae for help getting a ticket back home, though when she finally gets back to Korea she finds that she has no home to return to. In a bizarre twist of fate, it turns out her old house is now in the hands of the man she met on the plane, and he’s on the brink of proposing marriage to his best friend Kang Hye Won, but a media frenzy causes Young Jae to pretend he is with Ji Eun. Now Ji Eun can get her home back—if she promises to marry Young Jae for a year! Their professional relationship starts becoming personal when Young Jae finds himself caring more and more for the charming girl who always stays cheerful despite her many hardships.
Heartstrings – 넌 내게 반했어
Real-life rocker Jung Yong Hwa from Korean rock band CNBLUE plays Lee Shin, a college student majoring in modern music. A talented singer and guitarist, he is known for his good looks and passion for music. With a cold personality, he only cares about his music, uninterested in a traditional career or future. Shin is infatuated with a dance professor at his university, but this all changes when he meets Lee Kyu Won, a bright, outgoing student born into a prestigious family and majoring in traditional Korean instruments. Kyu Won’s grandfather is one of the top traditional musicians of his age whose only wish is that his granddaughter will become a traditional music prodigy. Trying to live up to her grandfather’s expectations, Kyu Won immerses herself in training and knows nothing besides traditional music. One day, Kyu Won’s friends drag her to a concert to watch Lee Shin’s band, and she is instantly captivated by the man she sees on stage…
Faith – 신의
Lee Min Ho stars in this thrilling fantasy epic, as an elite warrior in 1300s Korea who travels to the 21st century to find a doctor capable of healing the Queen. In a comic twist, his search for a doctor with godlike abilities leads him to a popular plastic surgeon. When she refuses to believe his outlandish story, he kidnaps her, dragging her back into the past to save the Queen. Will this stoic warrior give up his code of honor and choose love over war, and will this career woman ever consider a life less modern? Only time will tell—literally.
Mary stayed out all night – 매리는 외박중
With a story that quickly gathered a cult following, Mary Stayed Out All Night is a screwball romantic comedy about how much can happen in one night. Moon Geun Young and Jang Geun Seuk won several awards for their portrayal of a young bohemian couple in love. Mae Ri has a deadbeat father with whom she’s spent her entire life on the run from debt collectors. Upbeat despite her situation and able to survive on almost no resources, her life starts to change when she runs into indie rocker Moo Kyul. Almost as penniless as she is, Moo Kyul is happy in his life as a musician playing with his band on street corners and small clubs. The two castaways find a common bond and look out for each other. When Mae Ri’s father hatches a plan to force her to marry wealthy young heir Jung In, Mae Ri turns to Moo Kyul for help. He reluctantly agrees to pretend to be her husband, and the two stage a mock marriage. After Mae Ri moves in with him, the two begin to find the home with each other that they’d never had before. Moo Kyul, scarred by his mother’s abandonment, isn’t ready for commitment however. As Jung In, suspecting that the marriage is fake, begins to pursue Mae Ri, their fragile happiness is tested. Can Moo Kyul step up and hold onto Mae Ri? Will Mae Ri trust him?
Lie to Me – 내게 거짓말을 해봐
Combining the stirring romance of classic dramas such as Lovers In Paris with the wit and verve of a modern romantic comedy, Lie to Me is a delightful drama featuring two top stars. Kang Ji Hwan and Yoon Eun Hye combine forces to create sparks that light up the screen. Driven by the intense chemistry of its powerhouse leads, Lie to Me is an addictive, fluffy ride. Gong Ah Jung, a mid-level government employee in the Ministry of Culture, has been single ever since her friend So Ran stole her first love in college, Jae Bum. When So Ran, now married to Jae Bum, re-enters Ah Jung’s life and triumphs over her, Ah Jung impulsively lies that she is also married. Enter Ki Joon, president of a hotel chain and one of Korea‘s wealthiest, most eligible bachelors, whom Ah Jung had previously met and clashed with. A snowball of minor misunderstandings later, the rumor has spread to everyone that Ki Joon and Ah Jung are married. When Ki Joon reluctantly agrees to sustain the deception for a while to help Ah Jung, he has no idea that he will fall madly in love with her…but when his ex-fiancé returns to his life, and the marriage deception returns to haunt them, Ah Jung and Ki Joon will have to fight for the love that has just blossomed in both their lives.
My Princess – 마이 프린세스
A bubbly, enchanting romantic comedy featuring superstars Song Seung Hoon and Kim Tae Hee, My Princess is a real life Cinderella story. Sunny, stubborn college student Lee Seol has a fairly ordinary life. She squabbles with her adoptive family, has a crush on her good-looking professor, and works a part-time job as a decorative Korean “princess” at tourist events. Her life is turned upside down when she discovers that she is in fact a real princess, a blood descendant of the last emperor of Korea. With a large faction of the government pushing to turn Korea into a constitutional monarchy, she’s quickly instated into the palace. Park Hae Young, a spoiled rich boy whose fortune will be lost if Korea‘s monarchy is restored, ends up assigned to tutor the Princess in etiquette and the two immediately clash. Hae Young devises a plot to save his fortune and make sure Lee Seol doesn’t come to power, but soon he finds himself falling for her and his life becomes infinitely more complicated.
Love Rain – 사랑비
From the famed director of the seasonal dramas Autumn in my Heart, Winter Sonata, Spring Waltz, and Summer Scent comes a new melodrama about young love in the 1970s, and in the present day. Jang Geun Suk and SNSD’s Yoona star as the ill-fated lovers over two generations. Suh In Ha is a sensitive artist who falls in love at first sight with fellow college student Kim Yoon Hee. The two of them develop feelings for each other, but before they can do anything, In Ha’s best friend Lee Dong Wook professes his love for Yoon Hee. Not wanting to ruin his friendship, In Ha takes a backseat and watches as the girl he loves gets farther away from him. Fast-forward to the present day Seoul, where In Ha’s son Suh Joon meets and falls in love with Ha Na, Kim Yoon Hee’s daughter. The children are completely different from their parents in personality, but fate pulls them together. Will they be able to stay together, and undo their parents’ mistakes?
Rooftop Prince – 옥탑방 왕세자
A prince from the Joseon era travels to present-day Seoul with a special team he put together, in order to solve the mysterious death of the woman he loved. To his surprise, when he arrives, he meets a woman that looks exactly like her. However, it’s not only the princess who has a modern-day doppelganger—everyone seems to have one, including the prince himself. Popular singer-turned-actor Micky Yoochun (Sungkyunkwan Scandal) stars in SBS’s newest romantic comedy.
King 2 Hearts – 킹2hearts
Korea’s hottest actor/singer Lee Seung Gi and star of Secret Garden Ha Ji Won lead the cast of this high concept romantic comedy, set in a South Korea that is still under a constitutional monarchy. Lee Jae Ha is the crown prince of South Korea, and younger brother to the king, Lee Jae Kang. He has no intentions of being a proper soldier, or of ever becoming king. However, that all changes when Jae Kang announces a joint participation in the World Officer Championship with North Korea. In an act of goodwill, he enlists Jae Ha to be part of the North-South Korean team. Jae Ha resists, but he then learns of Kim Hang Ah, the daughter of a North Korean general and the only girl on the team. He becomes more willing to participate, but little does he know, Hang Ah isn’t the easiest woman to get along with it. Things get worse when the two enter an arranged marriage for political reasons.
Flower Boy Ramen Shop – 꽃미남 라면가게
Cha Chi Soo is an arrogant high school student who happens to be the heir of the biggest food conglomerate in Korea. Yang Eun Bi is a university student preparing for her civil service exam. Attracted to each other initially, Eun Bi ends up student teaching in Chi Soo’s high school, where she is turned off by his arrogance. Later, the two find themselves together again when they both end up working at a ramen shop where only “flowerboys “—or “pretty boys “—are said to work. Eun Bi’s father hopes that she and the ramen shop owner, Gang Hyuk, will become an item—little does he know that Eun Bi is growing closer to Gang Hyuk’s half-brother, Chi Soo. Complete with a lot of twists and turns, this love triangle unfolds over a backdrop of good food and fun.
The Princess’s Man – 공주의 남자
Princess Se Ryung is the fearless and strong-willed daughter of Grand Prince Su Yang. Seung Yoo is a noble “old soul” who captures her heart. The only problem is that their fathers are powerful rivals, and both will stop at nothing to defeat the other and ascend the throne. Featuring breathtaking cinematography and gorgeous locations, The Princess’s Man is a lush historical romance is widely loved, and will capture your heart. This epic Romeo and Juliet-style romance features Moon Chae Won (Shining Inheritance) and Park Shi Hoo (Iljimae) as the star-crossed lovers.
The Moon That Embraces the Sun – 해를 품은 달
Set in the Joseon dynasty, two brothers find themselves falling in love with a female shaman, who does not remember her noble past. Lee Hwon is the Crown Prince, but he finds the role a burden to bear. He would rather have his older, more talented brother Yang Myung play the role, but because Yang Myung is an illegitimate child he has no right to the crown. When Lee Hwon tries to escape the palace walls for a little adventure, he encounters Heo Yeon Woo, the intelligent daughter of a nobleman. It’s love at first sight for him, but Lee Hwon is also set to marry another nobleman’s daughter, Bo Kyung. Little does Hwon realize, but Yang Myung is also falling for Yeon Woo.
Oh! My Lady – 오! 마이 레이디
Choi Si Won of the popular group Super Junior and Chae Rim star in this fun, upbeat story of a spunky housewife and a demanding superstar who fall in love. Yoon Gae Hwa is a divorced single mother forced to hand her daughter over to her ex-husband when she runs out of money. Her latest temporary job as housekeeper for superstar actor Sung Min Woo turns out to be a stepping stone when she’s offered a job at a Min Woo’s production company. The company’s president offers her a deal: get Min Woo to take the lead in the company’s upcoming musical, and he will hire her full-time. Desperate to make enough money to get her daughter back, Gae Hwa agrees, but soon both are put in a tailspin when a little girl appears at Min Woo’s apartment claiming to be his daughter. Min Woo hires Gae Hwa to look after the girl in exchange for starring in the musical. Hijinks ensue as Gae Hwa sets out to make him a better actor and a better father.
Greatest Love – 최고의 사랑
Goo Ae Jung is a former girl group member whose popularity has waned despite her sweet personality. Dokko Jin is the top action star in Korea who privately has an arrogant side. When Goo Ae Jung enters a variety show that fakes marriages between celebrities and “normal people,” she gets entangled in a love square with her ex-bandmate Kang Se Ri, Dokko Jin, and adorable Eastern medicine doctor Yoon Pil Joo. From the famed Hong Sisters of You’re Beautiful and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho comes this hit romantic comedy about true love in the fake world of entertainment.
Scent of a Woman – 여인의 향기
Scent of a Woman follows a young woman who receives a grim diagnosis, and finds out she only has a matter of months to live. Deciding to live her life to the fullest, she quits her job at a travel agency so she can enjoy what time she has left. She attracts the attention of her handsome doctor, as well as the eye of an aimless chaebol who is heir to a tourism company. Watch as Kim Sun Ah works her way through her bucket list while two eligible men fall for a woman who, sadly, doesn’t have much time left.
A Gentleman’s Dignity – 신사의 품격
Jang Dong Gun and Kim Ha Neul headline in one of 2012′s most anticipated dramas about four men proving that forty is the new thirty! Described as the “male version of Sex in the City”, Kim Do Jin is a playboy architect who refuses to admit he’s getting old; Im Tae San finds himself in a complicated relationship with a cold-hearted woman; Choi Yoon is a timid lawyer, struggling to get over the wife he lost seven years ago; and Lee Jong Rok is a vain man who married an older woman for her fortune. Kim Do Jin finds love at first sight when he continuously crosses paths with Seo Yi Soo, a local high school teacher. The only problem is, Yi Soo has her sights set on one of Do Jin’s best friends!
I Do, I Do – 아이두 아이두
I Do, I Do starring Kim Sun Ah and Lee Jang Woo
Hwang Ji An is a successful shoe designer whose life revolves around her work. She’s fiercely protective of her designs, though they are constantly being copied, flooding the market with cheap knock-offs. Park Tae Kang is a young, talented designer, but still regularly rips off Ji An’s designs for the easy money. A particularly bad day for the both of them brings them together over drinks, leading to a one-night stand. They swear never to see each other again, but things get complicated when her company hires Tae Kang as a new employee, and Ji An discovers that she’s pregnant with his child!
Haeundae Lovers – 해운대 연인들
Hardcore prosecutor Lee Tae Sung takes a deep dive when he goes undercover to take down an infamous crime syndicate in Haeundae, Busan. Things are looking good for justice, up until Tae Sung loses his memory in an accident. In a turn of slapstick comedy, Tae Sung, now convinced he’s a gangster, sets to terrorizing the waterfront town in true form, eventually falling for the ultimate mob princess Go Sora: a former kingpin’s daughter.