Director Ang Lee's follow-up to his surprise box-office hit The Wedding Banquet is another look at ethnic and sexual conflicts in a Chinese family, with meals as a centerpiece of the film. Master chef Chu (Sihung Lung) is a long-time widower who lovingly cooks large Sunday dinners for his three daughters, who view the meals as too traditional.
Secretly, however, successful airline executive Jia-Chien (Chien-Lien Wu) loves traditional cooking and would like to be a chef like her father, if women were permitted to do so. Her older sister Jia-Jen (Kuei-Mei Yang) is unmarried and cynical about men, but she becomes attracted to a volleyball coach and eventually pursues him vigorously.
The youngest daughter, Jia-Ning (Yu-Wen Wang), is a college student who becomes pregnant from her frequent sexual escapades. As the film progresses, the personal relationships between the daughters and their significant others change unexpectedly.