Ahn Cheol-soo Criticized for Not Knowing the Price of Ramen

National Assembly Member Ahn Cheol-soo, beloved by the left and young voters in South Korea for his sincerity and empathy for the common man, was left fumbling and at a loss for words when he was asked about the price of a package of ramen during an Assembly hearing. During testimony about the problems facing his business, a shop owner held up a package of five servings of Shin ramen and asked Ahn what he thought it cost. Ahn guessed that the ramen, the most well known and most consumed brand in Korea, cost ₩1000, significantly off of the market price of ₩3170.

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Reaction to the story online was almost unanimous in defense of Ahn and criticism of the conservative newspaper that first carried the story. The debate centered around whether Ahn’s ignorance revealed him to be merely faking empathy for the common man or whether this was all just a smear attempt from the right wing press.

Article from MBN news:

“Do you know how much ramen costs?” Ahn Cheol-soo at a loss for words

New National Assembly Member Ahn Cheol-soo got his campaign for pragmatic politics underway with his first committee hearing with small business owners.

But when a business owner questioned Ahn about whether he even knew the price of a package of ramen, the Assembly Member was left grasping for an answer.

“I think that holding a hearing with ordinary citizens who are in tough economic situations and listening to their opinions could be a good start for finding a solution,” said National Assembly Member Ahn Cheol-soo.

During the hearing, one business owner placed a wholesale box of ramen next to the microphone and took out a package, pointing out how his economic situation has worsened in recent years.

The man asked Ahn, “Do you know how much this costs? You don’t know?”

Ahn responded, “maybe 1000 won?”

“1000 won? This is what ordinary people eat every day. And Assembly Member Ahn doesn’t know? You should know these kind of things. It’s not enough to just practice politics in the National Assembly.”

shin ramen

The businessman was concerned not only by the lack of policies to protect small businesses, but by the lack of will among politicians to help them.

Ahn has made his name as a politician by pressing for solutions to basic economic issues.

The question now arises whether Ahn will be able to successfully introduce any of his “New Politics”, which claim to put the concerns of citizens as the highest priority.

Comments from Daum:


Seriously, I don’t know the price of ice cream or ramen. They jack up the price, then they have sales all the time. If you ever buy it for face value at a store you feel like you are being ripped off.


Nongshim has the most expensive ramen. 1000 won would have been the right answer. And is this reporter a hack for the president’s camp or what? Park doesn’t even know what the minimum wage is

19대 대통령 안철수님

What a pitiful performance by our media, they ignore the content of the committee hearing and only focus on the ramen price question. While only two members of the National Assembly showed up to the hearing on economic problems affecting the ordinary citizen, isn’t it noteworthy to see their effort to focus on pragmatic issues and their attempt to find a solution?


This is all I am seeing, “all ramen costs the same!!! How could he know all ramen prices!! Do you know the price of everything on the market!! Even if he says he doesn’t know, isn’t it more important that he is working hard to find out!!”


Do you think it would have solved your problems if he had known the price of ramen? ssibal, for the sake of helping people like you and me he left his position as a professor and is trying to be clean in politics, ssibal


Come on, pick your fights better. I feed my children as a meal two to three times a week and I don’t even know the exact price of ramen. Ramen is cheaper than bread and better for filling your stomach. And yet I will stand by Ahn to the very end. Because I know that he is sincere..^^


Whatever, I don’t know the price of ramen either. I just get a big bag at the supermarket, so I have no idea how much each one costs. (does anyone even look at the price when they buy ramen? they just look at the brand name) For the bus and subway as well, you just tap your card at the turnstile and don’t even know the price. Don’t try to make an issue out of nothing.


So since I know the price of ramen I would be a good politician? You’ve got to think about the real issues rather than something minor like how much ramen costs… tsk tsk


What can you do when the price of goods changes with every passing day. I drink milk every day but I don’t know how much it costs. This story is just an attempt to make a big issue out of nothing.


If someone doesn’t smokes, why would you ask them how much cigarettes cost?ㅡ,.ㅡ


Is asking about the cost of ramen a criticism? Now the conservative media are starting to show their true colors. They saw the far-right news channel FOX in America and started thinking it would be great if something like that existed over here, so they got together to concoct a new communications law to accomplish their goals. When it comes to politicizing the news, they’re just getting started.

Comments from Twitter:

부국환경팬클럽 ‏@aftenviro15h

Ahn’s “New Politics” has now turned completely into “Fool Politics ” ke ke

수유리 ‏@yunheesung4

They are saying that Ahn was left at a loss when asked “Do you know the price of ramen?” but that can happen. Couldn’t he have just answered, “I don’t really eat ramen? We know that Chung Mong-Joon has struggled to answer when asked if he knows the cost of a bus ride, just tell people when you don’t know the answer

외톨이 ‏@khcbsc4

Does eating ramen every day make you one of the common people? I don’t know the cost of ramen myself, of course it would be good to know but how can you know the prices of all the different kinds of consumer goods. The only things a political leader needs to know is history, justice, and values

행복하세요 ‏@rms3274

Can a man who claims to represent the common man play that role in politics if he doesn’t know the price of the food that common men eat?

송추강 ‏@RefereeSong4

A politician who doesn’t know the price of ramen, a staple for his “common man”, I bet he knows the price of stocks in his company

聲優, 민주시민 권창욱 ‏@KwonCW844

You think a pack of five ramen is ₩1000? I didn’t think you were that ignorant… no better than Chung Mong-Joon

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