Napa cabbage is the main ingredient in traditional kimchi. You can find it in almost any grocery store and in farmers’ markets, although the cabbages sold at a Korean grocery store are always cheaper, bigger, and better tasting. In the kimchi-making season of late fall, when napa cabbages are at their best, Korean grocery stores sell them by the huge box.

A good cabbage for kimchi is green and leafy, not totally white and with no blemishes. The cabbage should be heavy and dense, and the leaves should be thin so they don’t add too much water to your kimchi as they ferment. If you don’t make kimchi with them right away, wrap in a dish towel, put in a plastic bag, and keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

napa-cabbage (baechu: 배추)

napa cabbage for kimchi

napa cabbages

Napa cabbage

napa cabbage for sale

napa cabbage

Sometimes in the Korean grocery store, the cabbage will be all wrapped up in plastic.

Recipes that use napa cabbage (baechu):


  1. John in Baton Rouge Baton Rouge Louisiana joined 12/16 & has 40 comments

    omg I bought Napa cabbage today at the regular american grocery story and I couldn’t believe how expensive it was. It was like $1.69 a pound which is well over double what it costs in the asian grocery store – fyi. I just didn’t feel like making a trip to the asian store just for that. Something to keep in mind for the future! Huge price difference!

  2. afan toronto, ontario, canada joined 11/14 & has 10 comments

    good bargain at .59 cents. I paid .79 cents today at HMART on Yonge St. I got up at 1:30a.m to open and look at my freshly made Kimchi. I saw 2 bubbles and felt relieved!!!! HAHA….too much fun. I wish my husband cared more about the process but the funny thing is…..
    We eat indian food. I am white Canadian and he is imported from India, and now a Canadian citizen. With our dinner last night (indian food) he opened the fridge and started to help himself to a portion of my store bought Kimchi!!!! too funny watching him eat it along indian food…..LOL
    I think he is HOOKED….: )

  3. nonosh israel joined 5/11 & has 2 comments

    hi i live in israel and i really want to make kimchi but i think this kind of cabbage isn’t available can i another kind of cabbage?

  4. Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09 & has 101 comments

    Wow, those cabbages are huge on the picture:
    Napa cabbage is also sometimes called Chinese cabbage or Bok Choy.

  5. i can only find green cabbage…will it taste as good?

  6. hi maangchi, is chinese wong bok cabbage the same as napa cabbage? btw, thanks for doing gamjatang…yum! hungry kiwi :)

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