We Were Not Impressed With Trader Joe’s Kimchi!

I bought a jar of kimchi at Trader Joe’s and brought it home for a taste test.  Although I am a lover of fermented foods I am still new to the world of kimchi.

I love the idea of spicy, fermented cabbage and, especially since the Trader Joe’s product is from Korea, was excited to give this stuff a try!

Jar of Kimchi from Trader Joe's


I give Trader Joe’s Kimchi a solid “meh”.  I am not going to pretend to be a kimchi expert but there was nothing that really impressed me about this product.

I tried the kimchi on an Amylu Chicken Burger and while the fermented cabbage mix added some flavors it wasn’t enough to make me want to try it again.

I wanted to see what other people thought about this product so I would not be presenting just my individual biases so I pulled up the comments from a Trader Joe’s Reddit thread and posted them below.

  • I didn’t find it good. Tasted flat, like some crucial ingredient was missing. Also wasn’t salty enough for me.
  • it’s fine. it’s hit or miss, not very authentic, but does its job well enough if it’s the only option
  • Costco’s Kimchi is way better!
  • I love it, use all the time in soups, on top of hummus, etc. It’s got a slight kick to it, and is in a handy size where I finish it before it gets old. Sure there are better out there, you can drive there to get it. Being already handy where I shop each week working for me.

My takeaway is that, on average, folks think that this product will do in a pinch but there are better options available.

Kimchi on a Chicken Burger

Kimchi Ingredients

Trader Joe’s kimchi is made with the standard ingredients that I expect to find including:

  • Napa cabbage
  • Radish
  • Onion
  • Red pepper powder
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Lactic acid

The kimchi is labelled as a Product of Republic of Korea.

It is worth mentioning that there are no fish products in the kimchi so it is vegetarian.

The Extra Ingredient in My Kimchi

When I first opened the jar of kimchi I was taken aback by the large amount of white globules all over the surface of the product.  These things did not look like radishes, onions or cabbage and I didn’t know what in the heck I was looking at!

I did a quick Google search and discovered that this is not uncommon and the white bubbles/globs are a type of yeast.  The yeast forms on the surface of certain fermented foods when the surface has been exposed to air.  Apparently you can just rinse the yeast off and the product is safe to eat.

Trader Joe's Kimchi

I cleaned up some of the kimchi for my taste test and admit that I was aggravated in the process.

After my taste test I was delighted that the product contained so much yeast as it gave me a perfectly acceptable reason to throw the rest of the container away without feeling bad for wasting food.


Trader Joe’s is selling the 10.5 ounce jar of kimchi for $3.99 which works out to a cost of $0.38 per ounce. On a per ounce basis this stuff costs about twice as much as the kimchi that you can buy at Costco.

If you are a hardcore kimchi fan then I am not sure that the Trader Joe’s product is going to be money well spent for you.  If you are unfamiliar with kimchi and just want to give the product a try then the small jar size from Trader Joe’s might be perfect for you to test things out.

Price of Kimchi at Trader Joe's


Good morning and welcome to the site dedicated to helping you find great products at Costco and other stores! My name is David Somerville and these are hands on reviews of products that I have bought and used or am seriously considering purchasing. I do most of my shopping at the Costco in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but will check out any other Costco warehouses I find while travelling. Please get in touch with any questions and let me know of any great products that deserved to be featured in this blog!

2 thoughts on “We Were Not Impressed With Trader Joe’s Kimchi!

    1. HORRIBLE flavor & it has VINEGAR which actually kills the probiotics!! PARTY FOUL!!!! I mean that’s one of the beautiful benefits of kimchi or any fermented vegetable is the probiotic effect on our bodies. What the hell are they trying to scam us and call it fermented and then adding vinegar?? Come on Trader Joe’s get with it!

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