Bok Choy Kimchi

If you make just one of my recipes, let it be this one! I am OBSESSED with this bok choy kimchi salad. It’s not a traditional Korean dish, but I promise it will become a new favorite.

So this isn’t really a kimchi but more like a muchim or geotjeori. Muchim means mixed with seasonings, and geotjeori is a kimchi that is lightly salted and eaten fresh without fermentation. It is basically a quick kimchi that is meant to be eaten right after making it.

About 10 years ago I was home visiting my parents, and my mom served dinner with a banchan (side dish) that I had never seen before. It was this bok choy and spinach quick kimchi that she had been experimenting with.  

“Stella…try this! It’s really good, what do you think?” my mom asked me. Let me tell you…I am not easily impressed when it comes to food, but I scraped the plate clean and immediately asked for her recipe!


  • Bok choy- Shanghai bok choy works best for this but you can use baby bok choy too.

  • Spinach- optional

  • Gochugaru- Korean red pepper flakes

  • Sugar- granulated white sugar 

  • Sesame oil- I only use Kadoya 100% pure sesame oil

  • Fish sauce- Three Crabs fish sauce or soy sauce or vegan fish sauce to make it vegan

  • Plum vinegar- you can find this at any Korean market. If you don’t live near one, you can use rice or white vinegar instead. 

  • Roasted sesame seeds- make sure your sesame seeds are not raw, and grind them into a powder using a mortar and pestle. 

  • Garlic- if you’re the type of person to add more garlic than a recipe calls for, don’t do that here. The garlic is raw so it is strong and it will give you major garlic breath if you add more!


This recipe requires NO cooking. The bok choy and spinach are prepared raw. Have you ever tried raw bok choy? I actually prefer it this way now. It is pleasantly crunchy, juicy, and sweet when eaten uncooked!

Helpful Tips:

  • For the best results, try to find the FRESHEST bulbs of Shanghai bok choy. In my personal experience, I’ve found that the American supermarkets have the best bok choy selection. For some reason, the ones that I find at Hmart or other Asian supermarkets just aren’t as crunchy.

  • Don’t skip the crushed sesame seeds. You want some finely ground up sesame seeds in there- trust me it really elevates the dish. Sometimes you can buy it like that, but I just use my mortar and pestle to grind it down some.

  • If you can’t find Shanghai bok choy, you can use baby bok choy. These are a little darker green at the top with crinkly leaves.

I do not recommend keeping this in the fridge for longer than a one or two days, because it has sesame oil in it which will make it wilt and change the flavor.  

Like I mentioned before, this isn’t really a kimchi so it will not keep over time. It’s best to make and serve right away. 

This can be eaten alone like a salad, but it is best eaten as a side dish. It’s particularly good with anything that is braised or marinated in soy sauce, like galbi jjim or or bulgogi!

Bok Choy Kimchi

5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cuisine Korean


  • 3 bulbs Shanghai bok choy or baby bok choy
  • 2 oz spinach optional
  • 1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean pepper flakes)
  • 2 tbsp plum vinegar or rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar add more if you like it sweeter
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce or soy sauce or vegan fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves minced


  • Using a mortar and pestle, grind the roasted sesame seeds until at least half of it is in powder form.
  • Cut off the stems from the bok choy and separate the leaves.
  • Rinse the box choy and spinach, then shake off excess water.
  • Add to a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix gently so the spinach doesn't bruise
  • Serve right away or make it a couple hours ahead and store in the refrigerator.


This is NOT like a regular kimchi so it won't keep in the fridge for too long. I recommend finishing it within 2 days, but it is best when served right away. 
Keyword Banchan, Bok Choy, Kimchi, Korean, Spinach
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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Eliza

    5 stars
    Girllllllllll, you put me on! Shoutout to your momma for this! My mom always made homemade kimchi growing up so this is a recipe I had to send her. We both love it, made it with spinach, bok choy and radish. Could easily eat this by the gallon!

  2. Ming

    5 stars
    I made this today and wow it was great! I wanna make it again but with plum vinegar (I used rice) and see how the tastes differs! Thank you~~ Your recipes never fail!!

  3. Anonymous

    5 stars
    WWWOOOOWWW! This is the best “kimchi” hands down. It is crunchy and nutty and spicy and sweet, and it’s so easy to make. Thank you for a home run recipe

  4. Monica

    5 stars
    Sooooo good! I made a double batch and the family ate it before I could serve it. I need to make another double batch.

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Stella Navarro-Kim

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Hi, I'm Stella! I come from a multicultural background, and learning how to cook has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. I truly believe that anyone can cook as long as they have the passion to learn. Thank you for being here!

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