I live in a rural area of Canada, asian markets aren't a thing around here. Since there isn't much good kimchi around, I decided to try myself !

I went to a largeish city a few weeks ago and was able to get this shrimp paste:


When doing my research, the product called for usually looks like this:


In the kimchi recipes I found, the shrimps are like the product above, whole and pink. However the product I bought is pasty/ground and grey. It is also Vietnamese rather than korean.

I cannot find the korean salted shrimps anywhere sadly, but this looked like a reasonable substitute to me. Would anybody with any kimchi-making experience knows if that shrimp paste would be suitable?

2 Answers 2


You don't need the shrimp paste to make kimchee. I don't think you would notice the difference if you left it out. Better to leave it out than use the paste you bought, which has a very strong and distinctive flavor.

  • 1
    My recipe calls for fish sauce rather than shrimp paste. There's a lot of variation, but you do need to treat your Napa cabbage/ Bok choy with salt to get it wilted. I use apples and mangos for the sugar content. May 7, 2019 at 23:24
  • 1
    The fish sauce is more important, but stuff like salted shrimp and squid are non-essential extras. You can even make a decent vegan kimchi without using the fish sauce. It'll taste like kimchi as long as you've got the garlic, ginger, gochugaru and scallions.
    – user50726
    May 8, 2019 at 4:13

I've made it without scallions and without shrimp/fish paste . And I used pickled sushi ginger instead of fresh ginger. It tasted just like the kimchi from the Korean grocer in the Strip District in Pittsburgh.

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