Types of Kimchi

Kimchi is arguably the most popular dish in Korean cuisine. Loved by many people around the world, the typical kimchi is made out of different kinds of vegetables mixed with red pepper flakes and salt, which are fermented inside a container like jars or plastic boxes. 

While the most popular kimchi is the spicy Napa cabbage variant, there are plenty more types of kimchi that are as tasty as or even better than the common kimchi. Here are some of the best types of kimchi that you need to try at least once.

White Kimchi

More commonly known as the white kimchi, the baek-kimchi is a non-spicy variant of the typical kimchi because it doesn’t have any red chili pepper flakes mixed with its ingredients.

Beak-kimchi has the essential ingredients found in kimchi like Napa cabbages, salt, and garlic, but it has Korean pears and chestnuts that give it a sweet flavor.

This type of kimchi is also a close relative of the original kimchi made during the Three Kingdoms era in Korea. The first-ever kimchi is said to be non-spicy since red chili peppers are not native to the country. Traders from other countries are the ones who introduced chili peppers to Korea centuries after the Three Kingdoms period.

White kimchi is perfect to be served for your friends who hate eating spicy food, or you can eat this as an alternative to spicy kimchi if your main dish is already spicy enough for your taste buds.

Spicy Water Kimchi

Also called nabak-kimchi, this variant is different from the typical kimchi because it looks like a soup in a bowl.

The juice or water in the nabak-kimchi is the brine used to ferment its ingredients. This brine is made from garlic, ginger, onions, and Korean pears.

The Nabak-kimchi is usually served during the summer or spring seasons in Korea.

Non-Spicy Water Kimchi

This type of kimchi, also called dongchimi, is the non-spicy version of the nabak-kimchi. 

This kimchi has Korean radishes, Napa cabbages, ginger, and scallions that are fermented using a mixture comprised of garlic, ginger, onion, and salt. The dongchimi can be mixed with cold wheat or buckwheat noodles to make dongchimi duksu.

Also, dongchimi is sometimes called the “winter kimchi” since it is often eaten during the winter seasons.

Unfermented Kimchi

Geotjeori is a type of kimchi that uses unfermented vegetables. Since fermentation enables the vegetables to last longer for consumption, the geotjeori is not made to last long and should be eaten immediately after preparation.

Diced Radish Kimchi

Also known as Kkakdugi, this type of kimchi substitutes the Napa cabbage found in typical kimchi with chopped Korean radishes.

Kkakdugi is famous for being much crispier than the Napa cabbage kimchi thanks to the texture that the Korean radishes still have even after fermenting in brine.

Young Summer Radish Kimchi

This variant of kimchi uses yeolmu, or young summer radish, as one of its primary ingredients.

When yeolmu is prepared to be an ingredient in kimchi, people typically only the fresh green leaves as the ingredient, setting aside its withered leaves and taproots.

Oisobagi Kimchi

Oisobagi kimchi is an interesting type of kimchi that replaces Napa cabbages with fermented Korean cucumbers. Along with the cucumbers, the oisobagi kimchi also has carrots, Korean radishes, garlic, ginger, and onions as its ingredients.

Mustard Leaf Kimchi

Gat, usually called the mustard leaf outside Korea, serves as the main ingredient in this kimchi variant. The mustard leaves give the kimchi a light bitter flavor that makes it taste different from any other types of kimchi.

Jjokpa Kimchi

A popular kimchi dish in Jeolla-do, South Korea, this dish that is also known as pa-kimchi has jjokpa, a different kind of green onion. The other ingredients used to make the pa-kimchi are anchovies, red chili pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, and scallions.

Kimchi Pancakes

Kimchi pancakes, also called kimchi buchimgae, is a variant of kimchi that has almost all the ingredients found in typical kimchi, but it is fried in a pan with added flour and eggs.

Kimchi buchimgae is a side dish often served at restaurants in South Korea that host drinking parties. It has also become popular in restaurants serving Korean cuisine in other countries.

Wrapped Kimchi

The wrapped kimchi, or bossam-kimchi, is the most luxurious-looking type of kimchi. Bossam-kimchi usually contains Napa cabbages, green onions, ginger, Korean pears, apples, garlic, ginger, chestnuts, oysters, and long arm octopuses. After preparing all of these ingredients, thee kimchi is then wrapped inside a bowl using fresh Napa cabbage leaves.

Because it uses plenty of ingredients compared to other kimchi variants, wrapped kimchi is usually only served during special occasions in Korea.

Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Last but not least, we should not fail to include in the list the baechu-kimchi, also known as the Napa cabbage kimchi. This type of kimchi is made of Napa cabbages, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic, onions, green onions, and ginger.

Since it is the most popular kimchi type, baechu-kimchi is widely available in markets not only in Korea but also around the world.

These are just some of the most known types of kimchi, so there are still dozens of obscure kimchi variants that are served in different parts and regions of Korea. If there comes a time that you will visit the kimchi’s country of birth, you should try different kinds of kimchi that are not on this list and see if they taste better than the popular variants. 

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