Looking for the best vegan kimchi brands to buy? Or wondering if kimchi is vegan or not? This guide is for you.
Below you'll find...
- List of vegan kimchi brands you can buy in store or online.
- Whether kimchi or not is normally vegan.
- A bit about kimchi and what it actually is.
Best Vegan Kimchi Brands to Buy
Here's the list of the best vegan kimchi brands we could find. All of these work great as vegan condiments. As always, be sure to double check ingredients for anchovy paste, shrimp paste or other non-vegan products because they're subject to change.
The first of these products is Gold Mine Organic Fresh Raw Kimchi, which can be found in 34 oz or 16 oz. This is made in the US from all-organic ingredients. It’s a less-spicy version of traditional kimchi, with a softer flavor that may make it more palatable for you if you haven’t experimented much with full-flavored kimchi.
Then there’s Mother in Law’s, which is probably one of the most popular kimchi brands.
This brand has two vegan options: their Vegan Table Cut Napa Cabbage Kimchi and Vegan White Napa Cabbage Kimchi.
They specialize in artisan products, and their kimchi is hand-made and hand-packaged to give you the best product possible.
Wang Kimchi is imported directly from Korea and comes in a can. It's convenient if you're living with someone who doesn't like the smell of Kimchi (crazy, right?) and it's good for traveling.
The only downside of canned Kimchi is that it tends to be slightly less crispy than the jarred stuff. The canning process involves high heat, so this tends to soften ingredients and make them a bit more mushy.
Either way, this brand is affordable and worth trying.
Madge's vegan Kimchi prides itself in having zero added sugar.
While some sort of sugar is necessary for the fermentation process, it appears that this brand uses "sweet rice flour" as a replacement judging by the ingredients, but I'm not 100% sure.
Sugar aside, this brand packs a ton of umami flavor by using shiitake mushrooms and kelp rather than anchovies. Try it out!
Sinto Gourmet makes four different types of vegan kimchi: ‘Plenty Roots’, radish, mild white, and spicy red. They’re based in San Francisco, so if you’re around that area they’ll be easier to find. But they've recently been made available online. They specialize in natural, locally-sourced ingredients to make their kimchi taste as authentic as possible.
6. Simply Seoul
If you’re around a Whole Foods, look out for these three brands. Simply Seoul makes all-natural, vegan white napa kimchi with incredible care and attention to detail. They’re Atlanta-based, so finding them far from that city may be difficult, especially in summer when they suspend some operations to maintain the quality of their product.
Is Kimchi Vegan (normally)?
Unfortunately, most Kimchi brands or homemade recipes are not vegan.
The traditional recipe includes fermenting salted napa cabbage or radish with an assortment of seasonings, including chili, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, and minced shrimp. It’s these last two ingredients that give the kimchi its umami flavor, but also that make it non-vegan.
Need help finding vegan foods? Check out our free vegan shopping list.
What is Kimchi Anyway?
Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, with a spicy, sharp, umami flavor that is impossible to replicate. It’s mainly fermented cabbage, so it’s filled with probiotic bacteria and plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Luckily, there are plenty of other ingredients that can impart that all-important flavor, and lots of companies are taking on the task of making vegan kimchi that tastes just as good as the traditional.
Making kimchi involves fermenting vegetables at stable temperatures for a month or more. Because of this, it’s a delicate product that can be hard to transport long distances without it becoming ruined.