[Hallyupedia] Hoppang (호빵)

나확진 / 인턴 차민경 / 2021-09-11 07:00:13
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by Ra Hwak Jin / Cha Min Kyung

[ENG] A warm steamed bun filled with red bean paste or vegetables

▲ This photo, provided by SPC Samlip, shows different types of Hoppang. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Hoppang refers to a steamed circular bread made of flour dough and red bean or minced vegetables stuffing. The palm sized bun has a white surface due to the color of the dough and is flat at the bottom but round at the top.

A sheet of thin paper like cupcake liners are attached to the bottom of the Hoppang so that it does not stick to the steamer during the streaming process. Once the bun is cooked, people remove the paper and eat it.

Usually, people like to eat the Hoppang while it is steamy and warm and it is one of the representative winter snacks favored by Koreans along with roasted sweet potatoes.

◇ The origin behind Hoppang  

The names of Korean food such as "Hotteok (Korean pancakes)," "Homil (Rye)," and "Hokong (beans)" all have the traditional Chinese character "胡·[ho]," which carries the meaning of being originated in foreign countries such as China. In this sense, the Hoppang is also sometimes misunderstood for the etymology of the word.

However, "Hoppang" does not have a particular historical meaning, but rather is derived from the just name of a product launched by Samlip Food Industry Co., Ltd. (currently referred to as SPC Samlip) in 1971. The product name was nominalized later.

Since the word "Hoppang" has already become a common noun, other companies as well as Samlip can use the name Hoppang as their specific products.

Originally, the Korean word that comprehensively refers to the same kind of food as hoppang is 'jjinppang', which literally means steamed bread.

▲ This photo, provided by SPC Samlip, shows the original Hoppang launched in 1971. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

According to Samlip, the food company began developing products near the end of the year 1968 to increase sales during the winter, which was considered an off-season for bread, and began selling the Samlip Hoppang in October 1971. The product was 10cm in diameter and weighs 90g, and the specific standard has not changed since its launch.

The name "Hoppang" is said to have been created based on the sound of blowing (ho-ho) the steam off the hot bread before eating it and the Korean word for bread which is "빵·[Ppang or Bbang]." In fact, Samlip wrote the meaning of the product name on the packaging as part of its promotion strategy.

Soon after the launch of Hoppang in 1971, the snack became so popular that it accounted for about 15% of Samlip's annual total sales.

"On December 31, 1971, the first year of its launch, the amount of Hoppang shipments exceeded 1 million units a day," an official from SPC Samlip said. "As Hoppang became very popular, the product name 'Hoppang' has become a common noun to refer to steamed buns."

Last year, which marked the 50th anniversary of the Hoppang launch, the cumulative sales of the bread compiled by SPC Samlip reached 6 billion. The company generated 100 billion won in sales during 2019 alone.

◇ Marketing for steamers boost popularity for Hoppang 

▲ This photo, provided SPC Samlip, shows Samlip Food Industry's old commercial for Hoppang. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

When Samlip launched the Hoppang, it could only be eaten at home using some sort of steamer, however after a couple of months, starting from Jan. 1, 1972, the company decided to produce and distribute steamers made of aluminum so that people could make and sell their own Hoppang.


At that time, the sale method of providing a steamer was sensational because it allowed people to directly eat the steaming hot bun, and every year whenever people saw steamers in local supermarkets they were able to realize that winter was right around the corner.

"The support of such promotional event for a piece of equipment was quite original half a century ago," an official from Samlip recalled,

While people still can buy and eat Hoppang from steamers installed in supermarkets or convenience store near one's neighborhood, nowadays, many people purchase Hoppang in large quantities at marts and eat one heated in the microwave.

◇ From red beans to pizza toppings, Hoppang fillings become more diversified

▲ This photo, provided by GS25, shows six newly launched Hoppang with unique fillings. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


The most common and favored stuffing inside Hoppang are red beans, followed by vegetables. Ordinarily, when people think of Hoppang, they instantly associate the bun with red bean paste fillings and Hoppang with vegetables are also called "vegetable Hoppang."


However recently, different brands have been transforming the snack by using various ingredients. In addition to pizza flavored Hoppang, new fillings such as sweet potatoes, spicy chicken, milk, burgers, and golden eggs are coming out every year.


Last year, Samlip released "Honey Seed Hoppang," "Mugwort rice cake Hoppang," and "Egg Custard Hoppang." GS25, a convenience store chain in Korea, announced that this year it will launch a "Soda-flavored Hoppang," which fills the bread with blue translucent custard cream, as well as Kimchi stew ramen flavored Hoppang called the "Omori Kimchi Dumpling Hoppang."



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