Gi-hun is a divorced dad with a gambling problem and massive debts who lives with his mother. He has had a bad day: after stealing his mom’s debit card, he recklessly gambled her money on horse races, then lost his winnings and got beaten up by his loan shark. All this happens on his daughter Ga-yeong’s 10th birthday.
He wanted to buy her something really nice for dinner but all he could afford is tteokbokki (spicy fish and rice cakes) – a common, cheap street food. When Ga-yeong tells him that her stepdad took her to a steak house that day, she can see the disappointment on his face, so she tells him that she likes tteokbokki most of all but that her mom won’t let her eat it at home because she considers it to be junk food.