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[Newsmaker] Nongshim ups promotion of ‘ram-don’ from ‘Parasite’


In light of Korean filmmaker Bong joon-ho’s historical victory at the Oscars with his film “Parasite,” the Korean manufacturer of instant noodles featured in the film is riding high on the bandwagon.

Jjapaguri -- translated as “ram-don” in the English subtitles -- is a mixture of Chapaghetti black bean instant noodles and soup-based Neoguri ramen. Having aroused the curiosity of cinemagoers around the world, the recipe quickly spread via social media, with Bong’s spin of expensive sirloin steak on top to reflect the social division of Korean society.

Receiving unexpected attention, Nongshim, the manufacturer of the two instant noodle brands, on Tuesday released a YouTube video explaining how to cook Jjapaguri with subtitles in 11 languages: English, Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, German, Burmese, Spanish and Portuguese. 

Ramping up efforts to satisfy the curiosity of overseas audiences, Nongshim has also started to offer free samples of the instant noodle products and recipe posters -- first in Britain, where the movie hit box offices on Friday.

“Jjapaguri’s appearance in the movie was not an advertisement. It was not product placement,” a Nongshim official told The Korea Herald. 

“Similar to how K-drama has driven the popularity of chimaek (fried chicken and beer), it is a great way to advertise Korea’s food culture via such cultural contents,” the official said. 

A day after Parasite swept four trophies at the Oscars, the famous siroin steak Jjapaguri was served at the CJ ENM cafeteria on Tuesday. CJ ENM is the entertainment giant affiliate of CJ Group, the investment distributor of Parasite.

While Chapaghetti and Neoguri may come off as novel to the global audience, they have been steady-sellers for some three decades in South Korea’s 2 trillion-won ($1.69 billion) instant noodle market.

Nongshim rolled out Neoguri in November 1982, and released Chapaghetti in March 1984.

The combination of the two noodle products went viral in Korea in 2009, when an online community user introduced it, and it later featured on various reality TV shows.

South Korean instant noodle products have been gaining popularity globally on the back of the meokbang craze. Exports recorded $413 million in 2018, according to the Korea Trade Statistics Promotion Institute.

How to cook Jjapaguri

1. Boil 1,100 milliliters of water with the vegetable mix of both Chapaghetti & Neoguri.

2. When the water is boiling, add all of the noodles.

3. After 4 minutes and 30 seconds, strain the noodles, but keep 150 ml of water with the noodles.

4. Add the Chapaghetti soup base, half of the Neoguri soup base and the seasoning oil. Mix and simmer for 30 seconds.

5. Remove from heat and serve.

By Jo He-rim (