Three Generations Artisans

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The first artisan - Young-hwa Choi

Anointed regional food of North Gyeongsang province that has been keeping its taste and tradition for three generations.

HWANG NAM BBANG succeeds to the artisanal spirit of Young-hwa Choi.

Young-hwa Choi Even though food was scarce in the 1930s, Young-hwa managed to run his own bakery at the age of 23 in 1938.

He put in a great deal of effort into creating the bread that would represent Korea which led him to successfully serve what is known as 'HWANG NAM BBANG' today. The first artisan who lived a spotless life strictly abode by his own rules: 'never mark down the price of bread', 'no preservatives', 'handmade only'.

Young-hwa Choi was born in a Gyeongju-native family in 1917, carrying on the line of the prestigious family. He worked at a ceramics shop and a cooperative store at young age after graduating from Gaenam Elementary School. Thanks to the early experience, Young-hwa opened a small bakery at 30 Hwangnam-dong, Gyeongju, and started baking and serving bread. Although he had to face hardships during the war period; he could barely survive through the Second Sino-Japanese War due to the scarcity of ingredients, and eventually had to close down temporarily during the Pacific War. However, after the liberation he could afford to run the business again using the sweets taken out of the PX shops at American troops. Finally in 1995, after 17 years of its start-up, the company became fully acknowledged by its customers.

Upright and warm-hearted Young-hwa chose to officially label his company with the name initially given by his local customers. He was also a Christian who not only worked hard on his baking but also on developing the town and the church he belonged to. The life he lived as a disciplined artisan and as a devout Christian has set a good example for the citizens of Gyeongju.

The second artisan - Sang-eun Choi

Sang-eun Choi

Born as the second son of the family, the current president of HWANG NAM BBANG, Sang-eun is the only successor whom the first artisan, Young-hwa directly passed down the secret to his recipe in 1979 when his son turned 27.

"You are the only person who qualifies for the succession to HWANG NAM BBANG," as his father insisted, Sang-eun has endeavored to maintain the tradition of the company for the past 40 years. He is the true artisan of HWANG NAM BBANG who refuses to make profit from opening branches; he pursues to stand by the former artisan’s site to continue creating the taste of HWANG NAM BBANG.

Sang-eun Choi was born in 1952 as the second son of Young-hwa Choi. Born and raised in Hwangnam-dong, Gyeongju, he graduated from Gyeongju Middle School, Gyeongju High School, and Myongji University. Sang-eun worked at Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) until his father requested him to carry on the line of the company.

It was only possible for HWANG NAM BBANG to survive throughout the ever-changing trend of the customers and the market thanks to the endless efforts of the president to pursue 'the only-one' mission of the company. On top of that, Sang-eun heavily contributed toward promoting his hometown, which positively affected both his business and the local tourism.

While running the company, the president also worked as the Chief Reporter and Team Manager of monthly-issued 'Society of the East Sea' in order to shed new light on the local tourist spots. For three years, Sang-eun took photos of less well-known cultural assets scattered throughout North Gyeongsang province and Daegu City, which were eventually published as 'Photobook of North Gyeongsang Province 1 & 2'. Moreover, his passion towards his hometown can be seen from how busy he is currently as the Chairman of the International Department of Gyeongju City Shilla Lions, the Chairman of The Korean Amateur Radio League and as the co-founder of Gyeongju Friends of the Earth Korea, as well as voluntarily guiding Japanese tourists with his fluent Japanese.

The third artisan - Jin-hwan Choi

Jin-hwan Choi Jin-hwan Choi is the grandson of the first artisan and the founder of HWANG NAM BBANG, Young-hwa Choi, and the first son of the current president Sang-eun Choi. He has been studying Traditional Business and doing researches on family business in Japan and the USA for the prospect of HWANG NAM BBANG. Jin-hwan is the official successor to the company to start delivering the taste and tradition of HWANG NAM BBANG for the next thousand years.