Bossam, a beloved Korean dish, is a flavorful and satisfying meal known for its tender and succulent boiled pork belly wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves. This traditional Korean dish has been enjoyed for generations and is often served as a communal meal, bringing family and friends together around the table. With its rich flavors and customizable condiments, Bossam offers a delightful dining experience that showcases the essence of Korean cuisine.

What is Bossam?

Bossam is a Korean dish featuring thinly sliced boiled pork belly served with an array of accompaniments. The pork belly is simmered with aromatic ingredients until tender and then sliced for serving. To enjoy Bossam, diners typically wrap a slice of pork belly in a lettuce leaf, along with various condiments such as spicy ssamjang (a mixture of fermented soybean paste and chili paste), sliced garlic, and kimchi. The combination of tender pork belly, crunchy lettuce, and flavorful condiments creates a harmonious blend of textures and tastes that delights the palate.


Bossam typically presents as a platter of thinly sliced pork belly arranged alongside a plate of fresh lettuce leaves and various condiments. The pork belly slices are tender and glistening, while the lettuce leaves provide a vibrant green backdrop. Additional condiments, such as sliced garlic, chili peppers, and radishes, add color and texture to the presentation. Bossam is often served family-style, encouraging diners to assemble their wraps according to their preferences, creating an interactive and communal dining experience.


  1. Protein-rich: Pork belly is a good source of protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.
  2. Versatile: Bossam can be customized with a variety of condiments and accompaniments, allowing for a personalized dining experience. This versatility makes it suitable for different tastes and dietary preferences.
  3. Nutrient-rich: Depending on the condiments used, Bossam can provide a range of nutrients from fresh vegetables and fermented foods like kimchi. These nutrients contribute to overall health and well-being.
  4. Communal Dining: Bossam is often served family-style, encouraging sharing and interaction among diners. This communal dining experience fosters connections and strengthens bonds between family and friends.
  5. Flavorful: With its tender pork belly and flavorful condiments, Bossam offers a satisfying and delicious culinary experience. The combination of savory, spicy, and tangy flavors creates a symphony of taste sensations that delights the palate.

Overall, Bossam is not only a delicious dish but also a cultural experience that celebrates the joy of sharing good food with loved ones. Its rich flavors, customizable elements, and communal nature make it a cherished part of Korean cuisine.

Bossam, a traditional Korean dish, features thinly sliced boiled pork belly wrapped in tender, crunchy lettuce leaves, accompanied by various flavorful condiments. Here’s a recipe for what many consider the best Bossam:


For the Pork:

  • 2 pounds pork belly (skin-on)
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon Korean coarse sea salt (or any coarse salt)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or soju (optional)
  • Enough water to cover the pork

For Serving:

  • Fresh lettuce leaves (such as green leaf or red leaf lettuce)
  • Kimchi
  • Ssamjang (Korean spicy dipping sauce)
  • Sliced garlic
  • Sliced green chili peppers (optional)
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Steamed rice (optional)


Preparing the Pork:

  1. Rinse the pork belly under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large pot, combine the pork belly, garlic cloves, onion, scallions, black peppercorns, salt, and rice wine or soju (if using).
  3. Add enough water to cover the pork belly.
  4. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the pork is tender and fully cooked.
  5. Remove the pork belly from the pot and let it cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, thinly slice the pork belly against the grain.

Serving Bossam:

  1. Arrange the sliced pork belly on a serving platter.
  2. Place the fresh lettuce leaves on a separate plate.
  3. Serve the sliced garlic, sliced green chili peppers, and thinly sliced radishes on small plates.
  4. Place the kimchi and ssamjang in serving bowls.
  5. To eat, take a lettuce leaf, add a slice of pork belly, a dollop of ssamjang, and any desired condiments (garlic, chili peppers, radishes, etc.).
  6. Wrap the lettuce around the filling and enjoy.


  • For extra flavor, you can add aromatics like ginger and cinnamon sticks to the pot while boiling the pork.
  • Adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the pork belly. Thicker cuts may require longer cooking.
  • Feel free to customize the condiments based on your preferences. Some people enjoy adding pickled vegetables, sliced raw garlic, or different types of chili peppers.

Enjoy your homemade Bossam, a delicious and satisfying Korean dish!

Preparation and Cooking Method:

  • To prepare Bossam, pork belly is typically simmered in a pot of water with aromatics such as garlic, onion, and scallions until tender.
  • The pork belly is then sliced thinly against the grain, resulting in tender and succulent slices.
  • Bossam is often served warm or at room temperature, allowing diners to enjoy the tender texture of the pork belly.

Condiments and Accompaniments:

  • Ssamjang: A savory and spicy dipping sauce made from fermented soybean paste, chili paste, garlic, and other seasonings. Ssamjang adds depth of flavor and a hint of heat to the Bossam wraps.
  • Kimchi: Fermented cabbage or radish, typically spicy and tangy in flavor, adds a refreshing crunch and a tangy kick to the Bossam wraps.
  • Sliced Garlic: Adds a pungent and aromatic flavor to the Bossam wraps, enhancing the overall taste experience.
  • Sliced Green Chili Peppers: Provides a spicy kick for those who enjoy extra heat in their Bossam wraps.
  • Thinly Sliced Radishes: Adds a crisp and refreshing element to the Bossam wraps, balancing the richness of the pork belly.

Serving Style:

  • Bossam is often served family-style, with the sliced pork belly arranged on a platter alongside fresh lettuce leaves and condiments.
  • Diners assemble their own Bossam wraps by placing a slice of pork belly on a lettuce leaf, adding condiments according to their preference, and wrapping it up before enjoying.

Health Benefits:

  • While pork belly is known for its rich flavor and texture, it is also relatively high in fat. However, it provides essential nutrients such as protein and various vitamins and minerals.
  • Lettuce leaves used in Bossam wraps provide dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, contributing to overall health and digestion.
  • Kimchi, a staple condiment in Korean cuisine, is a probiotic food rich in beneficial bacteria that promote gut health and digestion.

Cultural Significance:

  • Bossam is often enjoyed during festive occasions, family gatherings, and celebrations in Korean culture.
  • Its communal serving style encourages sharing and bonding among diners, reflecting the importance of social connections and relationships in Korean society.
  • Bossam holds a special place in Korean culinary traditions, showcasing the country’s diverse flavors and culinary heritage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Bossam:

1. Is Bossam difficult to make at home?

Bossam is relatively simple to make at home, requiring only a few ingredients and basic cooking techniques. The key is to simmer the pork belly until tender and to prepare fresh lettuce leaves and condiments for serving.

2. Can I use a different cut of meat for Bossam?

While pork belly is the traditional cut of meat used for Bossam, you can experiment with other cuts such as pork shoulder or pork loin. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor may vary depending on the cut used.

3. How long does it take to cook pork belly for Bossam?

Cooking time for pork belly can vary depending on factors such as the thickness of the slices and the cooking method used. Typically, pork belly is simmered for 1.5 to 2 hours until tender, but thicker slices may require longer cooking times.

4. Can I make Bossam ahead of time?

Yes, Bossam can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. Simply slice the cooked pork belly, store it in the refrigerator, and reheat it gently in a skillet or oven before serving.

5. What is the difference between Bossam and Samgyeopsal?

While both Bossam and Samgyeopsal feature pork as the main ingredient, they are prepared and served differently. Bossam consists of thinly sliced boiled pork belly served with lettuce wraps and condiments, while Samgyeopsal features thick slices of pork belly or pork belly strips grilled at the table and eaten with dipping sauces and side dishes.

6. Can I make Bossam vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian or vegan version of Bossam by using plant-based alternatives such as tofu or tempeh instead of pork belly. You can also enjoy Bossam with a variety of vegetable-based condiments and toppings.

7. What are some common variations of Bossam?

Common variations of Bossam include using different sauces or marinades for the pork belly, such as soy garlic marinade or spicy gochujang-based marinade. Some recipes also incorporate additional toppings or fillings such as pickled vegetables or seasoned rice.

8. Can Bossam be made gluten-free?

Yes, Bossam can easily be made gluten-free by ensuring that all ingredients and condiments used are gluten-free. For example, use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari in the marinade and check the labels of other condiments for hidden gluten.

9. Is Bossam spicy?

Bossam itself is not inherently spicy, but the level of spiciness can be adjusted by the choice of condiments and sauces used. Ssamjang, a common condiment served with Bossam, can be spicy depending on the amount of chili paste or chili flakes used in the recipe.

10. What are some side dishes that pair well with Bossam?

Bossam pairs well with a variety of Korean side dishes such as kimchi, pickled radishes (danmuji), fresh green salads, and steamed rice. These side dishes complement the rich flavor of the pork belly and add variety to the meal.


Bossam, with its tender slices of boiled pork belly, fresh lettuce wraps, and flavorful condiments, offers a delightful culinary experience that celebrates the essence of Korean cuisine. Whether enjoyed during festive occasions or casual gatherings, Bossam brings people together around the table, fostering connections and creating lasting memories. Its simplicity in preparation, versatility in serving, and rich flavors make it a beloved dish cherished by many.

Whether you’re savoring the tender pork belly, indulging in the spicy kick of ssamjang, or enjoying the crispness of fresh lettuce leaves, Bossam tantalizes the taste buds and satisfies the soul. With its communal serving style and customizable elements, Bossam invites diners to embrace the joy of sharing good food and good company.

So, gather your loved ones, prepare a platter of Bossam, and embark on a culinary journey filled with warmth, flavor, and togetherness. Experience the magic of Bossam and create unforgettable moments around the dining table.



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