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Best store-bought kim chi and where to find it in LA

I love kim chi and am trying to eat more fermented foods. While I'm happy to eat it in restaurants, I'd like to have some on hand at home and have neither the time nor the inclination to make it myself right now. Any suggestions on your favorites and where to get them? Thanks!

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  1. Han Kook Market on Western in K-town.

    They've got more kimchi and other fermented panchan goodies than, well, than just about anywhere I can think of. And it's good, authentic stuff.

    If my cousin's wife didn't make this for us, I'd buy some stock in Han Kook Market ...

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Perfect! This is exactly what I wanted. I'll head over there tomorrow.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Gosh, you have me in the mood :) My personal favorite is the Pickle Kimchi, especially when it fresh and crispy. In Korea they bury it underground to ferment. Perhaps I will let my winemakers know this fact. We may have a new wine..

      2. I like Joe's and Kohala brand Kim Chee. Both from Hawaii can be found at MaruKai.

        6 Replies
        1. re: flylice2x

          How long can store bought bottled kim chee be kept in the fridge before it goes bad?

          1. re: Galen

            It doesn't go bad... just gets better.

              1. re: Galen

                Kim chee can last a loooooong time because the fermentation prevents it from actually "rotting" or "spoiling." In fact, if stored properly, it can probably last over a year. Keep the container (preferably glass) tightly sealed. Only use clean utensils to extract kimchi. Try not to disturb kimchi too much when taking out. After taking kimchi out, slightly squish remaining kimchi under liquid so it's covered.

                Of course, the cabbage will change and become more sour or "sshyu." Kimchi in this stage is eaten primarily (and much preferred) in jjigae, or kimchi based soups/stews. I prefer kimchi when it's fresher but that's personal preference.

                That said, there is a point when kimchi is even too far gone for stews, but that takes a hell of a long time. Hard to describe but the cabbage will start to take on a floppy translucence and there will be an overwhelming carbonation upon first bite.

                1. re: sparkyk

                  It also adds an interesting funk to fried rice.

                  1. re: sparkyk

                    Well, left around too long, the cabbage also loses its crunch and becomes very much a "denture-friendly" foodstuff.

              2. After trying most of the brands at the Galleria Supermarket in K-Town, we decided our favorite is the one in the upper right-hand side of this photo. Unfortunately I don't know the brand name, but it has an oval label. There's more than one brand with an oval label, but it's the one with a horizontal red bar on it. The ingredients are really good, and they don't use MSG. (Many brands use MSG to make up for inferior ingredients.) Next time we buy some I'll post a better photo and the brand name.

                In addition, there are two other places I've been meaning to try:

                Seoul Tosoonyi -- Lau gave them a great write up a few months ago:

                - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/712307

                Surfas -- reportedly they carry "Mother-in-Law's Kimchi", an artisinal
                brand created by the daughter of the founder of Jang Mo Gip in Garden

                - http://www.milkimchi.com/profile.html
                - http://milkimchi.wordpress.com/2010/0...

                12 Replies
                1. re: Peripatetic

                  I COMPLETELY AGREE! I am Korean and was completely spoiled by my mom making our own kimchi at home. The kimchi with the oval label is GREAT. It's the only one I will buy bc it's one of the only ones that does not use MSG. Also, it's always on the fresh side, so you can eat it more fresh or leave it to be more fermented. I've bought numerous kinds of this kimchi - cabbage, radish, oyster, etc - and I've never been disappointed. Stacks of empty kimchi jars in my kitchen a testament to this.

                    1. re: sparkyk

                      So I bought some of the kimchi with the oval label at the Galleria Supermarket on Saturday. The brand name is: Kae Sung (개성).

                      They actually have their own store at 102 S Oxford Ave:


                      Here's a photo of some of their kimchis:

                      1. re: Peripatetic

                        BTW Kae Sung was mentioned in this earlier thread about kimchi:


                        The poster referenced this 1993 (!) LA Times article about them:


                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          The link for Kae Sung has changed: http://ktownlove.com/new/145033

                          Also, the correct address is:

                          1010 S St Andrews Pl
                          Los Angeles, CA 90019

                          I've been to the store a few times since I posted this, and all of the kimchis I've tried were great. Note that many of their kimchis are available only in 1/2 gallon jars, which is a bit of a commitment.

                          1. re: Peripatetic

                            since '93 Kae Sung has sold enough buckets of kimchi (I find the "regular" better than the katutgi - <sp>) to purchase the apartment compex at 1014 S. St. Andrew Pl (and an S-class, but that's just the car guy in me talking).

                            Linda Burum (LAT's writer) still speaks fondly of the Kae Sung owner.

                            Immigrant entrepreneurship in this country is so inspiring sometimes

                      2. re: Peripatetic

                        doosooni is definitely the best store bought kimchi I've had. My mom will not make kimchi chigae out of this kimchi. But it's all the way in GG. Even koreans just from korea complimented this kimchi

                        1. re: peppermonkey

                          Can you be kind enough to give an address for 'doosooni'? I cannot seem to locate it. Thanks.

                          1. re: curtiskan

                            Yelp has it listed as:

                            SEOUL TOSOONYI KIMCHI
                            9972 Garden Grove Blvd
                            Garden Grove, CA 92844

                            The HCA food inspection database has it listed as:

                            SEOUL DO SUN YI KIM-CHI

                            Their sign has it as:

                            SEOUL DO SOON YI KIMCHI CO

                            There's no accounting for taste or romanization.

                            1. re: Peripatetic

                              I'll give this one a big thumbs-up... it's a tiny place next to Anna's Mondu (since the Romanisation doesn't work so well here). Great kimchi -- and then go to Anna's and get frozen mandu to take home and cook.

                              Anna's Mondu
                              9972 Garden Grove Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92844

                            2. re: curtiskan

                              If u time it right and let it ferment to the right time. There will be this bubbly goodness that finds itself in every crevice of leaf and give u this extra textural zing. So good!

                        2. the only other MSG-free brand i was ever able to find is King's Kimchi, and it was actually pretty good. i used to buy it at Whole Paycheck, but since i can no longer in good conscience support their business, i've now discovered that you can also get it at Ranch 99, Ralph's and a number of other stores listed on their website...


                          3 Replies
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Hold on a sec ... when everyone is talking about MSG-free kimchi I presume people mean "no added MSG" right?

                            Because last I checked MSG is a natural byproduct of fermentation, or was I missing in class that day when Alton Brown discussed fermentation?

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              sorry, yes, no *added* MSG. thanks for pointing that out!

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Yes, Ipse, no _added_ MSG. I don't think MSG is evil, and I don't have any adverse reactions to it. But I think many manufacturers (not just kimchi manufacturers) add it to disguise an inferior recipe or inferior ingredients.

                            2. Beverly Soon Tofu Makes their own and sells it in jars for purchase at the restaurant. Second Han Kook and Galleria Markets in K-town. The prepared Galbi and other marinated meets for the grill are very good too..

                              Beverly Soon Tofu Restaurant
                              2717 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Foodandwine

                                If you want to try doosooni kim chi without driving all the way to Garden Grove store to get some, there's a store in Korea town that they deliver their Kim Chi to. Located on fourth st and Western, the store is called SK Food Mart. It's a small store in a strip mall so it's easy to miss so keep a good look out if you decide to go there. They get their Kim Chi deliveries I believe every Saturday so go then to get the fresh batch. If you head north on on Western towards Hollywood the store is on the left side of the street.

                                1. re: orangepeel85

                                  Thanks for the info! I will definitely try it next time I'm there.

                                2. re: Foodandwine

                                  "Beverly Soon Tofu Makes their own and sells it in jars"

                                  I was at Beverly Soon Tofu recently and asked to buy a jar. They said they don't sell kimchi in jars. Instead, they gave me a Styrofoam container with a generous helping of the house kimchi at no cost. I had hoped to get a good-sized jar, though.

                                3. I like the kimchi at BCD, which they sell in jars. It's heavily spiced.

                                  Here's a related question for the kimchi experts -- do any of you know a good way to get ultra-fresh kimchi? I like the flavor of unfermented kimchi but it's hard to get. Even the bagged stuff at Galleria market with its "packed on" date being like 1 or 2 days ago tastes fermented.

                                  1. Do Not pass up the locally made kimchi at the Hannam Market in Torrance. What I really dislike about commercial kimchi is over saltiness, some WAY over the top - Hannum's is just right.

                                    King's is a good second choice for bottled product, available at Food4Less and probably Ralphs.

                                    Hannam Super Market
                                    2740 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                                    Hannam Market
                                    3030 Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

                                    1. My favorite is Jonggajip brand. You pay little more than other but it's pretty good and can find at any Korean market. It's made in Korea which I believe is a good thing.

                                      1. If you don't want to trek it to Ktown, Mitsuwa on Centinela has my favorite Korean brand - Cosmos. I don't know, but because Nijiya is also a Japanese market, they might have it as well.

                                        Centinela Cafe
                                        4800 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                        1. My wife teaches at Peary Middle School in Gardena and used to buy kimchi at a place that makes their own very near the school, maybe just across the street (Gardena Bl., Dalton Av. or 162nd). It's a good chance to chat up the people who make it and can educate you on ingredients and process.

                                          She stopped buying kimchi when we discovered that it's actually pretty easy to make kimchi at home in your own refridgerator. You'll find plenty of recipes online and the underlying salt fermentation process is adaptable and forgiving.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: LADave

                                            I think I just discovered this place - Western Super Market at 162nd St and Western Ave.
                                            So far the only Korean market I've found in Gardena. Very surprising given the number of Korean restos and shops in the immediate area.
                                            It is a small mom and pop corner market, kinda the opposite of Freshia and Hannam in Torrance. Their kimchi is made on site and the butcher case has some Korean looking cuts (probably for bulgogi).

                                            Western Super Market
                                            16135 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

                                          2. I have recently loved this brand a lady reccomended to me by a lady in the H-Mart in Diamond Bar. She said it is a little salty. I just love the way the giner comes through. No added msg.

                                            Ocinet Sliced Kim Chi, Los Angeles 오씨네김치

                                            SInce it is made here, it should be widely available. Yellow Label with Red border and colorful rectangle boarder.
                                            Ingredients: Napa Cabbage, Green Onion, red pepper, ginger, salted shrimp, sugar, water, salt

                                            The Green Onion
                                            1355 Huntington Dr, Duarte, CA 91010

                                            2708 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: coconutz

                                              I found a little more info and a photo here:


                                              I will try it next time I'm at H-Mart.

                                              1. re: Peripatetic

                                                Oh thanks for the pic. Last time I was a H-mart they only had large jars, but again a nice customer asked me if I needed help when I was baffled looking. So nice! I really like this particular cabbage kimchi. I have had many but never tracked them or bought them jarred, just fresh. I had BCD recently in their restaurant, but didn't like it as much (still good!) There is something distinctive about each flavor and ingredient in Ocinet.

                                                I am going to make a soup with the rest of my jar if they get the

                                                2708 W 7th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

                                            2. Try Pulmuone kimchi. This may be the most expensive kimchi on the market - they use napa and radish from US and all other ingredients from Korea. Most other kimchis are made with ingredients from China (red pepper and garlic especially).

                                              No MSG added, no sugar added.

                                              Most Korean market should carry this.

                                              1. I love this guys Kimchi, usually buy from hm at the Burbank Farmer's market. http://www.yelp.com/biz/daves-gourmet...