Founder Of Popular South Korean Instant Noodle Brand Nongshim Passes Away At 91

Rest in peace, sir.

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Founder Of Popular South Korean Instant Noodle Brand Nongshim Passes Away At 91

Thank you for your invention.

The founder and chairman of South Korean instant noodle brand Nongshim, Shin Choon-ho, has passed away on 27 March.

According to a report by The Straits Times, the nonagenarian, who passed away at the Seoul National University Hospital due to a chronic illness, leaves behind his wife, three sons, and two daughters.

His eldest son, Nongshim vice-chairman Shin Dong-won, will succeed his father.

His immensely successful instant noodles business had its own share of struggles and family feud before becoming what it is today.

Rise of an empire

Shin Choon-ho left a lasting legacy.
His late oldest brother, Shin Kyuk-ho, was the founder of conglomerate Lotte Group and while helping out his brother at Lotte's confectionery business in Japan, he developed an interest in instant noodles known as "ramyeon".

His brother didn’t have any interest in instant noodles business, but that didn’t deter Choon-ho from starting a separate business against his brother’s will.

Lotte Industrial Company was later renamed Nongshim, which translates to "farmer's heart", in 1978.

Nongshim soon became the largest instant noodles and snack company in South Korea with an annual revenue of 4.3 trillion won (RM15.8 billion) and assets of 4.5 trillion won (RM16.6 billion).

The company also operated internationally in more than 100 countries.

The famous Nongshim noodles.
Its first product was shrimp crackers known as "Saeukkang" launched in 1971 and later, the iconic Shin Ramyun launched 1986.

The instant noodles were inspired by a traditional South Korean cabbage and beef stew and they were an immediate hit in the market; the company market share hit 46.3 per cent in 1987, and exceeded 50 per cent for the first time in 1988.

In 2011, Shin Ramyun Black, which comes with an extra packet of beef stock soup, was released.

The company’s ram-don product also made an appearance in the Academy Award-winning film ‘Parasite’, which made a lot of people try out ram-don recipes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rocky relationships

Choon-ho (center) trying out his instant noodles.
On the family front, Kyuk-ho and Choon-ho avoided all family gatherings for over 50 years, due to the fact that Choon-ho went against the will of his brother to start the instant noodles company.

However, when his brother passed away in January 2020, Choon-ho sent his eldest son Dong-won to offer condolences.

This time around, when Choon-ho passed on, his brother’s eldest daughter, Shin Young-ja, attended the funeral while his eldest son, Shin Dong-bin, who is living in Japan sent a wreath to express condolences.

Hope the family feud will be over now that the two brothers have passed on.

Condolences to the family.

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