Korean trends have penetrated the global market as of late from music, clothing, beauty and skin care down to culinary specialties. Lots of food enthusiasts have raved about delicacies from that part of the world and one popular favorite is kimchi, a fermented dish made from cabbage, radish and other vegetables steeped in various flavorings, salt and sugar. If you want to know what’s the best kimchi brand to try, you need to read out quick guide. Read on and know more about this tasty banchan pick.
- What is kimchi exactly?
Answer: Kimchi is conventional dish from Korea which is composed of vegetables, ginger, garlic, salt, fish sauce and chili pepper. This blend is then fermented and pickled, a way to preserve vegetables for the winter season. The most commonly used vegetable for this dish is cabbage—other vegetables used to make kimchi include cucumber, radish, carrots and scallion. Kimchi recipes differ depending on the region it came from and the season it was created. It’s affordable and widely available plus there are available vegan versions of the dish too.
- What does kimchi taste like?
Answer: The flavor of kimchi differs based on the recipe used. However, since this is basically a fermented/pickled dish, its most dominant flavor is sour. This is due to the lactic acid produced over the course of the fermentation period, giving the dish a sharp, strong flavor which can be compared with other popular fermented dishes like sauerkraut. Kimchi can be spicy as well based on the amount of pepper used in the recipe, or it can have a dominant umami flavor due to the stronger concentration of fish sauce.
- What are the benefits of eating kimchi regularly?
Answer: Kimchi, like other fermented vegetables, do have plenty of benefits offered. Because it is made up of vegetables, it is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is low in calories as well. Making kimchi also involved the use of Lactobacillus, the good bacteria which helps in proper digestion and balance of stomach bacteria.
Our Top Picks
Lucky Foods Seoul Kimchi (Pack of 1)
- Locally-sourced ingredients
- 100% genuine Gochugaru
- Produced in small craft batches
- Non-GMO and gluten-free
The Lucky Foods Seoul Kimchi tops this list due to its premium, locally-sourced ingredients from Napa cabbage, fresh veggies and 100 percent authentic Korean chili pepper, the Gochugaru. This specific type of pepper is the ingredient responsible for providing the product its unique and potent taste. To retain the quality of the product, the package is shipped in a pouch that’s insulated. Slowing down the fermentation is also a priority that is why the brand also threw a moisture-free, reusable ice gel pack in the package.
Choi’s Kimchi Co. Spicy Napa Cabbage Kimchi
- Award-winning recipe
- Non-GMO and gluten-free
- Small-batch kimchi
- Vegan product
Choi’s Kimchi Co’s Spicy Napa Cabbage Kimchi is the top pick for vegans—this one does not have any fish sauce or animal ingredient but it’s still packed with flavor like the original. The recipe is free from gluten and is a certified non-GMO product. It does not contain any preservatives either, just a clean, delicious mix of fermented veggies that will help boost your body’s health. This probiotic product is shipped in a reflective insulated pouch plus a moisture-free ice gel pack to maintain quality and slow down the fermentation process.
Madge’s Food Company Kimchi
- Naturally fermented
- Includes live probiotics
- Vegan product
- Free from sugar
Madge’s Food Company Kimchi is as clean and natural as it gets. It does not contain any animal ingredient and sugar. What you get are high-quality vegetables, live probiotics and an excellent vegan alternative for the fish sauce/fish paste/anchovies used to flavor traditional kimchi—this fish component alternative is composed of sea plants and mushrooms. Prepared in small batches and never pasteurized, what you get is kimchi that’s alive and packed to the brim with good, advantageous bacteria that benefits your gut.
Mama Kim’s Kimchi Spicy Napa Cabbage Kimchi
- Made 3 days before shipping
- Premium, fresh California produce
Mama Kim’s Kimchi Spicy Napa Cabbage Kimchi is one tasty treat that is great served on plain rice or as a side dish for meat, fish and heavier vegetarian dishes. It does not contain any MSG, gluten nor preservatives. However, this one is packed to the rafters with the good stuff like high-quality fresh veg sourced from California, gochugaru, dried bay shrimp, shrimp extract, anchovy extract and the like. Each pack is made 3 days before being shipped so what you will get is kimchi that is fermented just right once it reaches you.
Sinto Gourmet Spicy Radish Kimchi
- Distinctive flavor
- Crunchy, snappy texture
- Ideal for soups and stews
- Vegan product
If you’re not too fond of cabbage but love the tanginess and delicious flavors of kimchi, who knows, you might just fall in love with the radish variety. This vegan Spicy Radish Kimchi from Sinto Gourmet has a nice, peppery kick to it which gives the dish a satisfying zest. It’s free from preservatives, MSG, gluten and low in fat. The kimchi also works well with various soups and stews. Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan or a complete meat and potatoes person, the yumminess and the crunch of this kimchi will surely perk your taste buds.
Jayone Korean Canned Kimchi
- Canned product
- Cabbage kimchi
- Traditional kimchi recipe
- Made in Korea
You may be wary of the packaging that the Jayone Korean Canned Kimchi comes with, but truth be told, this one does not have that tinny aftertaste often attributed to can containers. The recipe for this one is on the traditional side—it has cabbage as the primary veg and enhanced with ingredients like peppers, table salt, green onions and the like. It does not have the crunchy texture compared to freshly-made ones but if you want something for convenience, then this canned option is the next best thing. Plus, it’s low in calories, and that’s always a plus.
Fermented foods are one of the healthiest foods in the world today—many countries have their own fermented delicacies. Kimchi is the most well-known fermented product coming from Korea and if you have never tried this one yet, you ought to, for it’s filled with not only flavor and zing, but health benefits too.