Nongshim founder Shin Choon-ho dies of chronic illness

On 27th March, Nongshim founder Shin Choon-ho passed away at Seoul National University Hospital due to a chronic illness.

Shin Choon-ho was the founder of South Korea’s largest global instant noodle company, Nongshim. Because of the company’s huge success in manufacturing ramyeon noodles, he was nicknamed “King of ramyeon” in Korea. 

History of Nongshim & how it was founded

shin choon-ho
Image credit: Nongshim

Shin Choon-ho initially helped his older brother, Shin Kyuk-ho, with Lotte Group. However,  he left Lotte Group after a conflict with Shin Kyuk-ho. In 1965, he founded the Lotte Industrial Company. In 1978, he renamed it Nongshim to distance it from the Lotte Group.

shin choon-ho - saewookkang
Image credit: 농심 (Nongshim)

Nongshim’s first product was the Korean version of a Japanese prawn cracker snack called Kappa Ebisen, manufactured by Calbee. Nongshim’s prawn crackers are called Saewookkang and it was launched in 1971. The snack remains popular today.

shin choon-ho - shin ramyun
Image credit: 농심 (Nongshim)

Shin Choon-ho decided that he wanted to launch Korean ramyeon and set out with a team of staff to create an instant ramyeon that would be popular with Koreans. In 1986, the iconic Shin Ramyun was launched. 

The success of Shin Ramyun spurred Shin Choon-ho to launch a greater variety of ramyeon. Aside from Shin Ramyun, Nongshim also sells Shin Ramyun Black, which has a stronger broth, and Soon Veggie Ramyun, an instant noodle made without meat products.

shin choon-ho - chapaguri
Image credit: @kristennn_eats

Nongshim also launched Chapagetti and Neoguri. These 2 instant noodles gained international interest when they were combined to make chapaguri in the Oscar-winning Korean film, Parasite.

Eldest son will take over Nongshim

Before Shin Choon-ho passed away, he appointed his eldest son, Shin Dong-won, as the heir of the business.

Shin Dong-won intends to continue expanding Nongshim globally and develop healthy food items. He has also decided to work on increasing the popularity of Nongshim’s mineral water brand, Baeksansu. 

Shin Choon-ho’s legacy

Shin Choon-ho’s hardwork and dedication to creating an iconic Korean ramyeon has allowed us to enjoy the Shin Ramyun that we have today. The next time you make a bowl of Shin Ramyun, take a moment to remember the hard work that went into creating this simple meal.

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Cover image adapted from: Eatbook and Nongshim


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