As a Korean descent, Kimchi has always been around in my household. Whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, whenever my mom cooked, Kimchi would always be served. But knowing how long it can take to actually make Kimchi from scratch, is it better to buy Kimchi at a local grocery store? 

For comparison, I used the ingredients we need to make Baechu Kimchi on our own to see how much it would cost me. On the other end, for a pre-made Kimchi, I decided to use Mat Kimchi, sold at a local grocery store and according to my mom, it doesn't taste bad at all.

Since it is Kimjang Season right now, prices for Mat Kimchi and ingredients were on sale at H-Mart, which I used to calculate the cost. So depending on when you decide to make or buy one yourself, this pricing may alternate.

Cost Breakdown

Athena Huynh

Mat Kimchi: Total $19.98 per 2.5 kg, $0.40 per serving (50 grams). Also, note that all prices here are marked as Canadian dollar.

Baechu Kimchi: 

 3 napa cabbages (Roughly 9kg) :  $4.79 

 1/2 cup salt: $0.33

 1 cup gochugaru—Korean red pepper flakes:  $1.99 

 1/4 cup sugar: $0.20

 1/2 cup minced garlic: $0.25

 1 cup minced onion: $0.50

 1 tablespoon minced ginger: $0.35

 1 cup chopped green onion: $0.70

 1/2 cup fish sauce: $1.00

Total: $10.11 per 9kg, $0.05 per serving (50 gram)

Time Breakdown

Shelby McLennan

Mat Kimchi: 0 minutes + time it takes you to go to the grocery store and come back.

Baechu Kimchi: 5 hr 30 min + it usually takes 2-3 days before Kimchi is ready to eat.



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From the long list of ingredients and long hours to make Kimchi, it seems like buying one is definitely a better choice. But if you look closely into the steps, it is rather simple to actually make one. Also, as Kimchi is usually served in small portions as a side dish, 9kg of Kimchi usually lasts months long. If you can overcome the laziness to go to a grocery store and buy the ingredients, making one yourself isn’t a bad idea.

Health benefits

Shelby McLennan

One good thing about making Kimchi from scratch is that you're guaranteed no preservatives and other chemicals will be added to your food. Also, you get to choose the vegetables going into it yourself, meaning you get to choose which farm to buy it from, which market to go, and whether to buy organic or not. Finally, You get to decide lots more, such as: how spicy will it be, how big you are going to cut your cabbage, what extra ingredients to put in, and you can simply alter the recipe to your own testing.

Final Thoughts

If you are really passionate about eating Kimchi and if you are a frequent shopper of pre-made Kimchi, it is definitely worth attempting to make one yourself. However, if Kimchi is something occasional for you, or if you want to try one out of curiosity, buying one with a few extra dollars isn't a bad idea at all.