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5 Best Korean Kimchi Brands 2021

by song-i
Best Korean Kimchi Brands

If you want to add some spice to your food, try these best Korean kimchi brands to satisfy your hunger for authentic Korean food. 

Kimchi is probably one of the best-known Korean foods out there. It’s very similar to pickles or sauerkraut. 

This dish is made of fermented vegetables, usually cabbage or radish. It has a sharp tangy taste that will make you drool.

But preparing this yummy dish from scratch is quite the task. 

For starters you’ll need a separate fermentation refrigerator as the preparation stage of this dish can cause your regular old fridge to smell.

And not to mention the time it’ll take to get all the ingredients to ferment properly. 

Nope, it’s much easier (and cheaper!) to go out and get kimchi from the store.

But you’ll need to be careful to choose the best Korean kimchi brands for the most authentic taste.

To make this easier for you, I’ve reviewed some of the top Korean kimchi brands you’ll find in the stores or on Amazon today!

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How I tested the best Korean kimchi brands?

If you’re wondering why you should believe me on what Kimchi is good, don’t worry. I’ve been very thorough in my research.

I first got the most popular kimchi brands in the market and tasted them myself. 

Not only did I make the culinary experts in my team have a taste test, I also asked my grandparents their opinion. After all who’s a better judge of kimchi than Korean elders?

We tested the Korean kimchi brands based on the following criteria, and then I rated them on a scale of 1-5 to help you buy better.

  • Texture: The kimchi should be crunchy as this shows it’s been fermented well and is fresh
  • Saltiness: I didn’t want kimchi that is too salty as it’s not healthy. 
  • Flavor: Of course, I checked if these kimchi brands were close to authentic, homemade kimchi
  • Spice Levels: While traditional kimchi is spicy, I wanted these brands to have a reasonable level of spice. 

Top Korean Kimchi Brands 2021

Mother in Law’s Kimchi

This is one of the more popular Korean kimchi brands out here. So you know I just had to review it. 

I was really excited about tasting this kimchi from the brand created by Lauryn Chun. This is supposed to be an original recipe from Chun’s mother’s restaurant. 

On the first bite what hit me was the sourness. I think the kimchi has been left out to ferment for too long. 

Also, the spice levels are too high. And this is coming from a Korean woman. The spice was making me sweat, I really wish they had toned it down a bit.

Their fermentation process undoubtedly works. The kimchi (I got the Napa cabbage and radish both) are crunchy and leaves that tell-tale tingly sensation.

But I feel the fermentation works just too well and doesn’t leave any carbonation, making the kimchi too salty.

This is a pity as the “Mother-In-Laws” kimchi is not something any mother-in-law would approve.

Also, the mason jar packaging is so chic, but not the reason why you would buy this product. 

What I liked:

  • Their fermentation process

What I didn’t like:

  • The excess spice
  • The late-stage sourness 
  • The price 

Rating – 3.5/5

Yutaka 100% Natural Korean Kimchi

The only reason I got the Yukata Korean kimchi was that the brand is originally from Korea.

I had high expectations from this product already, and maybe that’s why I felt kind of let down.

The taste is good… But not very great. I mean there are so many other kimchi brands that do packaged kimchi well without being as expensive.

This kimchi is too watery. And that seems to be the main reason why everything’s going wrong. 

The cabbage feels too soggy, and the flavors seem lost. 

Despite this, the Yukata Korean kimchi might not have been a bad buy. But then there’s the price.

It’s too much for too little kimchi. So I would definitely not recommend this kimchi to first-time Korean food eaters.

The only saving grace of this kimchi is that it’s vegan. There’s no shrimp or fish in this one. So you can eat it guilt-free if you’re vegetarian or vegan. 

What I liked:

  • Gluten-free product
  • Moderate spice levels
  • Original Korean product

What I didn’t like:

  • Cabbage had lost its crunch
  • Too watery and soggy
  • Very expensive
  • Less quantity

Rating – 3/5

JayOne Napa Cabbage Kimchi

As far as canned kimchi goes, I found this JayOne brand to be the best among the lot. 

This kimchi is definitely made for more western palettes. The flavors are mild and the spice levels are mild. 

Not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion! 

The JayOne kimchi tastes good regardless of the lack of spiciness. It’s flavorful but not overwhelmingly tangy.

But there was one part I thought could have been better. 

The cabbage in the kimchi was too soggy. It’s probably because the kimchi is canned and not freshly-made, but the “crunch” is lacking from this product.

If you like kimchi mostly as a probiotic addition to your diet and do not necessarily want to use it for a gourmet meal the JayOne kimchi should do just fine.

What I liked:

  • Mild flavors that anyone can try
  • Added flavor from fish sauce
  • Low calories

What I didn’t like:

  • Not very spicy
  • Kimchi is too ripe and doesn’t have a crunch
  • Expensive

Rating – 4/5

Wang Korean Canned Kimchi

Let’s take a look at another canned kimchi brand. When I first brought this Wang Korean kimchi, I wasn’t expecting much.

And this probably helped me like it so much. Yes, this tastes nothing like authentic homemade kimchi.

But for canned kimchi, it isn’t too bad. In fact, I found myself going back for more spoonfuls. 

That’s what a lack of good kimchi will do to you!

There is just one little problem with Wang and most other Korean kimchi brands. They are too pricey for the quantity of kimchi offered.

But I guess that’s to be expected from an imported food brand. 

What I liked:

  • Vegan 
  • Gluten-free
  • Moderate spice levels
  • Doesn’t feel too soggy

What I didn’t like:

  • Flavor not authentic

Rating – 4.5/5

Mama O’s, Kimchi Paste

Finally, after searching through so many of these Korean kimchi brands, I came across a brand that was not so expensive or canned.

But since you can’t have everything, the Mama O’s kimchi is in paste format. 

I loved the flavors in here, but I can’t deny I missed the crunch of vegetables that regular kimchi offers.

Still, the paste is a much better option if you want to use kimchi to flavor your noodles or stir-fry. 

Plus, this Mama O’s kimchi is vegan, so it’s versatile in use. And there’s no added MSG too, so this one is more healthy than most canned brands out there.

This is a fresh kimchi paste and needs to be consumed within 3 days after refrigeration. 

And this might have been a bummer, but the kimchi paste is really lip-smacking so I finished it by day two. 

What I liked:

  • Low calorie
  • No shellfish or seafood additives
  • Paste texture easy to add to food
  • N added MSG

What I didn’t like:

  • No crunchy vegetables 
  • Paste cannot be used as side dish
  • Needs refridgeration after use

Rating – 4.5/5

What is the number one kimchi brand in Korea?

In Korea, there are several kimchi brands like Tobagi and Jongga which are popular for serving authentic and delicious kimchi. However, from all the brands available in supermarkets and online here, I think JayOne Korean kimchi is the best when it comes to canned kimchi and Mama O’s is the best for kimchi paste. 

How To Select The Best Korean Kimchi

Fermentation: The best Korean kimchi is one that’s been properly fermented. You can tell if the fermentation process has gone well by the sourness of the kimchi. It shouldn’t be too sour either, just enough to leave a tangy, tingling sensation on your tongue.

Texture: Look for the “crunch” factor when you’re biting into the kimchi. The crunchiness of the veggies shows that the kimchi isn’t too watery. It also indicates if fresh, robust stems of cabbages or radishes were used.

Spice Levels: Yes, kimchi especially kimchi jiggae is known for its heat levels. But that doesn’t mean kimchi should burn a hole in your tongue. 

Full-Bodied Flavor: Kimchi isn’t just salt and sour and spice. It’s a mix of several complex tastes thanks to ingredients like ginger, anchovies, shrimp sauce, etc. that give it that unagi. 

If you want to get your hands on some delicious kimchi, these Korean kimchi brands can help you out.

These kimchi products are full of flavor, have the right amount of spice, and give you a fresh crunch as you bite into it.

You can use these kimchi brands to preparer several dishes like fried fish, steak, rice, and even French fries or omelets if you’re daring.

Also Read:

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Mother In Laws Muu Daikon Radish Kimchi

The best Korean kimchi brands bring you authentic, natural kimchi that can be used in noodles, stir-fry and other dishes. The Mother In Laws Kimchi Muu Daikon Radish Kimchi is flavorful and healthy.

Product SKU: NB4V2IG27TF2FV

Product Brand: Mother In Laws Kimchi

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $95.56

Price Valid Until: 2022-09-11

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4

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