HomeKorean AmericanPortland stunned by murder of Choi's Kimchi co-founder

Portland stunned by murder of Choi’s Kimchi co-founder

By Ross Killion, AsAmNews Staff Writer

Mathew Choi, a popular leader in the Portland food industry is being remembered fondly by those who worked with him, as well as family and friends.

Police believe an unidentified man fatally stabbed Mathew Choi inside his apartment in Southeast Portland during the early hours on Sunday, October 25, as reported by KGW8. Emergency personnel at the scene tended to his injuries but he later died. According to police, the apartment had a secure entrance. The suspect, who is believed to be a total stranger, is still at large.

Choi co-founded Choi’s Kimchi, a Portland-based kimchi producer and retailer.

“Choi was an extremely kind and selfless person. He wanted to help others. He wanted to help other people in the food business and was very well known in the Portland food scene.” said Austin, an employee of over two years told AsAmNews. “Family, friends and employees are devastated by his loss.” The business is still operating, but not at full capacity.

“It is with a heavy heart to inform you that our dear brother, Matt Choi has passed away over the weekend.”, read a statement on a GoFundMe page set up by David Jin to raise funeral expenses for the family.”Matt’s life was senselessly taken away early Sunday morning when a stranger broke into his apartment while he was asleep and took his life.” By Wednesday, the GoFundMe had raised $38,000- surpassing its original goal of $10,000. Remaining funds will be donated to a charity in Choi’s name.

According to a 2012 profile by OregonLive, Choi returned to Portland to launch the business with his mom after graduating with a degree in sports marketing and business from the University of Oregon. After acquiring a booth at the Portland Farmer’s Market, the mother and son duo began taking classes in commercial food production at Oregon State University.

“It is with the deepest of condolences that we share the news our friend Matt Choi passed away on Sunday. Choi was not just the co-founder of Choi’s Kimchi but a loving son and community mentor” wrote a Tweet by Mercatus PDX, a Portland based business directory and storytelling archive for entrepreneurs of color. Tributes appeared all over social media from friends and members of the Portland food scene.

According to KOIN News, detectives described the suspect as a Black man between 5-foot-8-inches and 5-foot-11-inches with a medium build who was wearing a blue mask and dark clothing. Anyone with information about the incident, including surveillance footage from the area, are encouraged to contact Portland Police Detective Ryan Foote at 503.823.0781 or email at [email protected] or contact Detective Travis Law at 503.823.0395 or email at [email protected].

According to Choi Kimchi’s website, the company’s signature dish is based off a family recipe that originated in Korea, was founded by Choi and his mother, Chong Choi, at the Portland Farmer’s Market in 2011. Within a few years, the company had become a distributor of kimchi to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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