Sad news in the food world as instant noodle king Shin Choon-ho passed away at the age of 91. He was the founder of Nongshim which created the much-beloved Shin Ramyun, reports Manila Bulletin. He died on March 27, 2021, after battling a chronic illness.
Shin was born in 1930 in Ulsan, South Korea, and was the third of eight siblings. He graduated with a law degree in 1958 and worked for his older brother’s company Lotte in Japan, reports the Straits Times.
But the two would end up fighting for the rest of their lives over Shin’s instant noodles. The older brother Shin Kyuk-ho did not like the idea of his company being affliated with instant noodles.
“How dare you put Lotte’s name on instant noodles,” he yelled at Choon-ho.
So Choon-ho left his brother’s company and started his own company in 1965. He named his company Lotte Food Industrial Company but later changed it to “Nongshim” which means “farmer’s heart.”
The company’s first hit snack was “Saewookkang” which are Korean prawn crackers. To this day, the snack is extremely popular in Korea. Meanwhile, his company kept experimenting with instant noodles and in 1986 Shin Ramyun was created.
“I’m not trying to sell noodles using my last name,” Mr. Shin said after the brand launch. “Shin is just a short and simple way to say spicy.”
Shin Ramyun was a hit from the start and kept getting more popular as time went on. It now sells in 100 countries and brings in $390 million annually for Nongshim.
But So Choon-ho’s success drove a further wedge between him and his brother. The two avoided each other and Choon-ho didn’t attend his brother’s funeral last year.
Choon-ho continued to work until February of this year until his illness took over. His last words to his family were “love one another.” While he told his employees to “grow Nongshim with the best quality, built out of honesty.”
Now his oldest son Dong-won is expected to take over his father’s place.