If you love kimchi as much as I do then you’re going to love this curation of best Korean kimchi brands. Read on to find out more!
Cabbage and Radish are elevated to a totally different level thanks to the Korean invention – Kimchi. The spice, the heat, the tang, this full of flavour dish has been making waves in the West in the recent past.
It is pretty versatile and can add a dash of wonderful taste to any bland rice (or even a drink!). Making Korean Kimchi from scratch takes quite a long time and needs a special Kimchi refrigerator that helps it ferment. (You can make it in your regular fridge as well provided you can bear the smell as it ferments).
But hey, why go through so much trouble when I’ve put together this list and reviews of the Best Korean Kimchi Brands. Keep reading and drooling to find out more:
Table of Contents
Top Korean Kimchi Brands
I have to admit, store bought kimchi can never equal the real one made by grandma, but Wang Kimchi in the tins come quite close.
These are packaged in single use tins which prove to be super convenient when you want to carry it along for your travel or while you’re out camping. This is also a good place to start if you’ve never tried kimchi before.
This kimchi is not very spicy and not very pungent either, easy on the palette of many non-Koreans. Secondly, the price is very affordable considering the decent quality.
The one downside though is that the veggie this primarily contains in cabbage. I would have liked a nice mix of other veggies as well.
Napa Cabbage Kimchi
I like the Napa Cabbage canned Kimchi for several reasons but one of the main reasons is that this is free of additives or preservatives. Kimchi is a healthy dish meant to keep your gut healthy and this serves the purpose in a pinch.
These are also in single-serve cans, very helpful when I’m on the go and need something to add flavour to my bland rice. It also has a pretty flavour without the taste of the can that many canned foods sometimes have.
This is also not very spicy, which is great for those who cannot really handle too much of the trademark Korean heat. One downside is that the vegetables are soft and mushy and I would have liked a bit of crunch to them.
Wang Stir-Fried Kimchi
Here’s another all-time favourite from Wang – the Stir-Fried Napa cabbage Kimchi. This kimchi comes with a flavourful sauce that is slightly sweetish with hints of garlic and onions but not spicy. I’ve discovered that this kimchi makes a fantastic pairing with ramen noodles, all kinds of meat and even just plain white rice.
Many might claim that this is not the traditional Kimchi that they grew up eating, however, I find this to be a great substitute.
Again, this comes in single-serve cans, so feel free to stash a few in your desk at work. The price also seems very reasonable for the quality. This might not be the kimchi you want to choose as part of your healthy eating lifestyle as the sauce contains high fructose corn syrup.
Samyang Bulldark Spicy Chicken Roasted Kimchi
When it comes to lip-smacking, deliciously spicy instant Korean food, nothing beats Samyang. The brand does it again with the Samyang Bulldark Spicy Chicken Roasted Kimchi which packs quite a punch in one small, single-serve tin.
This is cabbage kimchi with a twist. It comes with a lot of spice plus grilled chicken extracts, pepper, garlic, ginger, spring onion and many more complex flavours.
These are already sliced, so very easy to mix them with your choice of rice, or fried rice, or simply eat it straight from the can. I do have to warn you though, this is heat at its optimum level!
Mother In Laws Kimchi
Mother In Laws Kimchi is very popular, even amongst Koreans residing outside their country. There are different kinds of kimchi and you’re sure to find one that appeals to your taste and flavour. (I personally cannot pick just one!).
There are a few versions of napa cabbage kimchi, including a vegan one, and a radish kimchi, all fermented through a natural process.
This is quite obvious as soon as you open the jar, as the pungent aroma takes over your senses. This is one of the healthiest and most authentic store bought kimchis as it contains live cultures that strengthen your gut. The flavours come through as pretty complex and rich.
Being artisanal kimchi, these are more expensive than the other Korean kimchi brands in the market, but definitely worth every penny spent.
Pickled Planet, Kim Chee
For those who like to experiment, Pickled Planet, Kim Chee is an awesome dish to try. It mixes the best of two worlds, containing a hybrid of kimchi and sauerkraut. As a result, it also contains the most health rendering ingredients, ensuring you have a strong gut with the huge amount of probiotics.
One thing that draws me to this kimchi is the number of vegetables this one contains, something that is not easily found in other brands. It is a mix of cabbage, carrots and daikon with flavourful ginger, garlic and himalayan salt. It’s also got some cayenne pepper and paprika for the heat.
Pickled Planet does stock a line of authentic kimchi as well, but I encourage you to try this as well.
Eden Foods Organic Kimchi
If you are eating for health plus some wonderful flavour, try the Organic kimchi by Eden foods. One jar contains loads of cabbage, red bell peppers and onions with sea salt, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds and some cayenne pepper for heat. Lactic acid is used for the fermentation process.
This is one of the top rated kimchi brands as the flavour is definitely addictive and irresistible. It’s also not very spicy and goes very well with all kinds of food.
Compared to many other brands, this is slightly on the more expensive side but well worth it.
Best Korean Kimchi Brands: FAQs
Which brand of kimchi is best?
Here’s tried and tasted list of best Korean kimchi brands you can try:
Napa Cabbage Kimchi
Wang Stir-Fried Kimchi
Samyang Bulldark Spicy Chicken Kimchi
Mother in Laws Kimchi
Pickled Planet Kim Chee
Eden Foods Organic Kimchi
Why Korean Kimchi?
There are many arguments on where Kimchi originated but let’s agree that nothing comes close to Korean Kimchi. Kimchi is deep rooted in the Korean culture forming a staple in literally every meal. It was the process of fermenting and storing vegetables during the spring and summer so that they would have food during the harsh winter months.
Many estimate the origin of Kimchi to be at least 1500 years old while some say that it could even have originated 3000 years ago.
What is good Korean Kimchi?
As with any culturally traditional food, Kimchi also invokes different memories in different people. Therefore, the taste also differs depending on what each one has experienced as they were growing up.
But, to give you an idea, here are the things you need to look for to identify good Korean Kimchi.
Can kimchi go bad?
If kimchi is sealed and kept at room temperature it can last for one week after opening. Kimchi stays fresh and good if sealed and refrigerated approximately for 3 to 6 months. When kept for more than 3 months the kimchi ferments and develops a sour taste.
Does kimchi need to be refrigerated?
Kimchi needs to be refrigerated if it has been opened. This is because kimchi isn’t supposed to be kept at room temperature after being opened due to the content of healthy bacteria. The ideal temperature to store kimchi in a refrigerator is 4 degrees Celsius.
Can kimchi be frozen?
Kimchi can be frozen in a store-bought plastic container or in a resealable container. Kimchi freezes properly and retains most of its texture when frozen rather than refrigerated. Freezing also extends the shelf life of kimchi without losing its original taste.
How much kimchi should you eat daily?
Kimchi is a healthy food due to the countless nutrients it possesses such as probiotics. This helps to reduce inflammation in your body and also improves your immune system. The ideal serving of kimchi for one serving daily is 100g.
Should kimchi bubble when opened?
Kimchi is left to ferment for a certain period of time which has a ton of microorganisms in it. It’s completely normal for a jar of kimchi to bubble when opened because this means the probiotics are active.
How do I know if kimchi has gone bad?
There are easy ways to find out if your kimchi has gone bad. Firstly, you can check if the kimchi jar or package has mold in them. If there’s mold then the kimchi shouldn’t be consumed. A bad kimchi pack definitely gives off an unpleasant smell so that should tell you it’s spoiled.
Can kimchi grow mold?
Mold is likely to grow in your kimchi if it isn’t sealed properly after opening. This is because there are a lot of healthy bacteria in kimchi that can cause molding if exposed to air for a long time. If vegetables aren’t properly submerged then there’s a high tendency for mold to develop.
Should kimchi be sealed?
Since kimchi should be left to ferment for months to develop a sour taste, it has to be tightly sealed and kept at room temperature or refrigerated. This would extend the shelf life of kimchi without getting spoiled.
Is Kimchi popular in Korea?
Kimchi is a traditional and almost staple side dish, served with most meals in Korea. It’s very healthy for the gut as it contains loads of probiotics because of the fermentation it undergoes. It strengthens the immune system, soothes inflammation, contains plenty of antioxidants and could even manage body weight.
Kimchi holds a lot of nostalgia for many Korean families. This is one of those dishes they’ve watched their grandparents make and serve as part of every meal, so this is something that brings back warm memories for them.
Just as any culture has its own special dishes, so is Kimchi in Korea. To date we see the heritage and culture being passed down to the younger generation. Of course, with globalisation, it’s not entirely possible or practical for many Koreans to ferment Kimchi the way it was traditionally done but they still use devices like a Kimchi fridge to achieve results.
How to Choose the best Korean Kimchi?
Though kimchi is a staple Korean food item and you can simply eat plain rice with kimchi, it’s important that you know how to pick a good one.
Good Korean kimchi has all the complex flavours well balanced – saltiness, spice plus the acidic tangy taste from the fermentation. It should have a slight but not overpowering pungent smell from the process.
Fermentation: Kimchi is one of those very unique dishes that have a certain freshness to it despite being fermented. The fermentation process will lend a tangy and sour taste to it, but also look for that freshness
Spice: Kimchi is a very flavourful dish. Many non-Koreans assume Kimchi to predominantly have a lot of heat. While this is true to a large extent, there are so many other tastes and flavours that make up remarkable Korean Kimchi. Good kimchi should have in the background flavours of garlic, saltiness, ginger, shrimp, oyster, anchovies and some fruity flavours of apples and pears.
Texture: Last but not the least, test the texture of the kimchi. Nobody wants to be chewing on soggy fermented veggies. The crunchier, the better. How the crunchiness is retained is a reflected on the expertise of the Kimchi maker! Of course, it’s not really possible for fermented cabbage to stay very crunchy, but the thickness and robustness of the vegetables chosen for the dish definitely make a difference.
My goal is to showcase the creativity and awesomeness of Korea and Korean products. I’m the head writer at bestkoreanproducts.com!
Check out our curation of best Korean kimchi brands.
Product SKU: 01122556987556222
Product Brand: Wang
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 14.19
Price Valid Until: 2022
Product In-Stock: InStock