So I’ve been in Korea for over 8 years now. Time really flies. One of the things I had to really get used to after getting married, was the smell of kimchi all throughout our refrigerator. Before I married Hyo and lived alone, there was zero kimchi in my refrigerator. Now, it is full of kimchi which Hyo’s mom brings to our house every month. Hyo loves that I’m not particularly fond of kimchi because it means she can eat it all.
We would love to have a kimchi fridge in our house, however we just don’t have the space right now as we recently moved into a slightly smaller place to be closer to her dad. Hyo really wants one though as most Koreans find them necessary and useful.
Why Buy a Kimchi Refrigerator & What is it?
One of the big selling points of a kimchi refrigerator is that it lets you separate the strong odor of the fermented kimchi from the rest of the food in your regular refrigerator. This is very important.
We have a few stories of not sealing containers properly and having cakes, bread, and other tasty treats taste like kimchi the next day. Not fun.
The other thing is that are many different types of kimchi. They each require a different storage process because of the fermentation methods for each one. Storing them in the refrigerator also makes the fermentation process last longer. These things are built and tested to maintain the perfect environment to keep your kimchi tasty and delicious.
Temperature control is also very important and you can easily do that with most of the big brands and their fridges.
Keep in mind that in the old times, people would put kimchi in a pot and bury it to keep it good for throughout the year. Kimchi fridges came about to replicate that process.
Hyo’s mom has a huge refrigerator for storing kimchi and gets different types from her friends who make their own. Then she gives us some kimchi a little at a time.
Where to Buy a Kimchi Refrigerator?
Now from my research, it seems that only recently have fridges started to become available to buy for you guys in the USA. However, it still seems hard to find a lot of places that will deliver out of state. It is probably the same for other countries as well. I expect this to change in a few years as the popularity of Korean food continues to grow. For now, ordering online from Amazon is probably best as you can have it delivered to your home and have the option for installation. Since about 90% of our traffic comes from the states, we will be showing you how to buy one there.
I guess we’re spoiled here in Korea as every time I head over to the big mart in our neighborhood, there is a huge selection of kimchi fridges from LG, Samsung, Daewoo, and Dimchae!
Okay so let’s get to it!
Dimchae 180 L Kimchi Refrigerator
Type: Chest fridge
Dimensions: 23.6 x 35.4 x 33.5 inches
Capacity: 6.35 cubic feet
Dimchae is probably the best line of kimchi fridges out there. They practically started the kimchi refrigerator industry back in 1995. There are 4 main models (depending on if they sell out or not) you can find on Amazon, however this one is one of the most popular because of its size.
This is the smallest size of Dimchae’s line of Kimchi Refrigerators. One of the best things about this model is the two compartment feature. On one side, you can store fermented kimchi and on the other side, you can ferment fresh kimchi that you’ve just made. This is super convenient and both compartments have temperature controls to make sure the process carries out smoothly.
There are also several modes to choose from depending on what type of kimchi you are storing/fermenting. These modes include maturation mode (you can choose the type of kimchi), kimchi storage mode, veggies/fruit (radish kimchi) storage mode, and long term storage mode (this can make the kimchi last for up to 2-3 months and still be tasty). Our rating:
Dimchae 221 L Kimchi Refrigerator
Type: Chest fridge
Weight: 121 pounds
Dimensions: 23.6 x 40.9 x 35.8 inches
Capacity: 7.76 cubic feet
The next size up for the Dimchae line is the 221L version. The only difference between this one and the first one is the size. You may want a bigger sized one with all the features of the first one, so this one may be your best bet. Our rating:
Dimchae Maman Kimchi Refrigerator 418L
If you’re looking for an all in one fridge, look no further than this awesome beast. The great things about this fridge is that you have 3 sections for storage. Now you can fill all of them with kimchi, but that is A LOT of kimchi and most Koreans won’t even need that much storage for kimchi.
However, you can store your kimchi in one section, yet still have lots of room to store your regular fruits, veggies, eggs, etc. in the other compartment(s). Oh and they will be safe from the strong smell of the kimchi.
Features for this fridge include temperature and moisture control:
- Cold air curtain zone
- Direct cooling zone
- Independent cooling zone
Kimchi Fermentation Mode:
- One night fermentation
- Health Care Fermentation Technology
- Various Types of Kimchi Fermentation
Different storage modes:
- Instant kimchi
- Long term storage
- Chill storage
- Veggie & Fruits mode
I would consider buying this model if you plan on making lots of kimchi while still wanting the option for extra storage space for other everyday produce. Our rating:
How we wrote these reviews
For these reviews, of course it was impossible to buy each one and install it into our home and test out the effectiveness. However, we did head on over to the local used electronics mart in our neighborhood here in Korea, and asked a few salespeople about certain features and which ones they thought were the best.
Although there are models of Samsung and LG available, Dimchae consistently came out on top as the recommended brand from the people we talked to.
Also we tried to recommend ones you could find on Amazon as free shipping and the option for installation is offered on the product page. The fridges we reviewed and other fridges not found on Amazon can be found on the official Dimchae website for what seems like a cheaper price, however shipping is not included in the price (you have to call and it varies depending on location).
Also, the biggest thing is that Amazon offers an option for installation after it’s delivered. You will probably want this as it saves you time, effort, and the possibility of messing up your new appliance. This is not offered on the Dimchae website.
We hope these reviews helped you decide on your new purchase. Look for more posts on kimchi in the near future. In the meantime, check out our post on the different types of kimchi you can find.
Remember that romanization is only a tool! Try not to depend on it too much and try learning the Korean alphabet and how to pronounce the letters properly and you will have a much easier time learning.
Some great books to get your started are Korean Made Simple: A beginner's guide to learning the Korean language and Become a Hangeul Master: Learn to Read and Write Korean Characters
Check out our Dom & Hyo ebooks below.