Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps (Bossam)

September 28, 2020

Ssam, meaning "wrapped" in Korean, refers to a dish in which leafy greens are used to wrap a piece of meat in a bite-sized form. Fillings often include rice, kimchi, garlic, and a fermented bean paste sauce called ssamjang. The beauty of this dish is that you can use whatever ingredients in your Local Roots bundle are in season for the wrap, whether that be cabbage, lettuce, collards, or even kale. The star of the dish is boiled pork belly, which provides the perfect vehicle for salty-spicy sauces and pickles.


Pork Belly

1 1/2 lb heritage pork belly, preferably skin-on

3 tbsp fish sauce, soy sauce or doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste)

1 onion, skin on

1/2 apple or pear

1 thumb-size knob fresh ginger, peeled

10 garlic cloves

1 tsp whole black peppercorns 

1 bay leaf


1 tbsp doenjang (Korean fermented soy paste) 

1 tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste) or sub with Malaysian hot sauce

1/2 tsp crushed roasted sesame seeds 

1 clove garlic, minced 

1/8 tsp toasted sesame oil

Lettuce, cabbage, or hearty green for wrapping



  1. Wash pork belly well under cold running water. Fill a pot large enough to hold the slab of pork belly with enough water to fully submerge it and bring to a rolling boil. Add pork belly, return to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
  2. Rinse out the pot, then cover the pork belly with fresh water. Add doenjang, onion, apple, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Add pork, cover pot, and boil for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, uncover pot, and add soju. Continue to cook until pork is easily pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes longer.
  4. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Carefully remove pork from cooking liquid and run under cold running water to cool down. 
  5. In a small bowl, mix together doenjang, gochujang, crushed roasted sesame seeds, minced garlic, and sesame oil.
  6. Thinly slice the pork. Set out a platter with the slice pork, lettuce or cabbage leaves, kimchi, rice, and ssamjang. Use the leafy greens to wrap the fillings together like a taco.

Recipe by Local Roots team member Phoebe Tran. 

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