Try Bossam, Korean boiled pork belly wraps, for your next dinner party. This recipe uses a low moisture, slow cooking method for tender, juicy pork belly. Serve with various side dishes and toppings for a healthy and delicious Korean meal!

Korean bossam arranged in a platter with cabbage leaves, and radish salad.

I love sharing Bossam, the Korean boiled pork belly wraps, with my family. It’s a delicious and memorable meal that’s perfect for dinner parties, too. Your guests will love the flavorful pork and the fun of making their own wraps!

This Korean dish includes tender boiled pork wrapped in cabbage leaves with various toppings for everyone to choose from. You’ll love the flavorful taste and tender texture, and it’s a delightful way to dine together. My bossam recipe promises succulent pork that stands out. I promise it will be a hit.

What is Bossam?

Bossam (보쌈) is a popular Korean dish featuring boiled pork, known as suyuk (수육). The tender meat is wrapped in napa cabbage leaves or lettuce, along with various toppings.

Thick cuts of pork belly are boiled in a flavorful broth until tender and moist, then sliced thinly. To eat, you wrap a piece of pork in a cabbage leaf with side dishes like spicy radish salad, raw garlic, salted shrimp, fresh chili, and ssamjang (wrap sauce).

Traditionally, Koreans make a large batch of cabbage kimchi in late fall during gimjang, the kimchi-making season, to last through winter. After making kimchi, people gather to enjoy bossam with salted cabbage leaves or fresh kimchi. It’s a cultural dish shared among Koreans, often as a sign of gratitude to helpers.

Oven roasted pork belly is another adaptation of this recipe. Also check out my cookbook, Korean cooking favorites, for more pork recipes.

Pork Choice

Pork belly is the most commonly used pork cut for bossam, but pork shoulder (pork butt) is another good choice. You might find two pork belly options: with skin on or without.

Either one works fine for boiled Korean pork belly recipe but I prefer the one without the skin (although it tends to be more costly) to enjoy the soft and tender texture of bossam. Try my pork belly rice bowl (butadon) recipe for a skin-on pork belly dish.

Cooking pork belly with Low Moisture

Most cooks boil pork belly for bossam in a seasoned broth, sometimes with doenjang or coffee to remove the gamey smell. However, simmering too long in liquid can lose the pork’s natural flavor, which is great for soups but not for bossam.

I suggest a low moisture cooking method. Braise the pork in its own juices with vegetables and fruits, adding only sweet rice wine (mirim). This method ensures tender, juicy pork without a gamey smell.

It requires a heavy-bottom pot with a tight lid, like a Dutch oven, but it’s simpler and just as quick as boiling.

Korean bossam platter filled with pork belly, leaves, radish kimchi.

How to make Bossam

Pickle the cabbage

Use the yellow inner part of napa cabbage.

  • Quarter the cabbage lengthwise. Depending on the size of your cabbage, you might only need 2 of them. Rinse the cabbage pieces with water and drain.
  • In a large shallow mixing bowl, place the cabbage pieces and sprinkle salt over the cabbage trying to reach in between the layers of leaves, especially the thick white stem parts. Let the cabbage sit for 50 minutes, turning them upside down 2-3 times. Rinse the cabbage once and squeeze out the extra moisture.

Another option for cabbage pickling:

  • If you want to prepare the cabbage well ahead of time, use a salt brine instead. Dissolve 1/2 cup salt in 6 cups of water.
  • Soak the cabbage in the salt brine overnight until slightly wilted. Rinse and squeeze out the extra moisture. Keep the cabbage in a zip bag and chill until ready to use.

Cook pork belly

While cabbage is being salted, prepare the pork belly.

  • In a large, heavy bottom pot, put in diced onion followed by sliced apples. Season pork belly with salt and pepper and place it on top. Add the garlic and crumbled bay leaves.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix together sweet rice wine and ginger puree, and drizzle it around the pork belly. Top the pork belly with sliced leek (or green onion).
  • Cover with lid and let it cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40-50 minutes depending on the thickness of your meat.
  • Let the pork rest in the pot for 10 minutes, then slice it.

Make spicy radish salad

Make this radish salad while pork is simmering.

  • Peel and slice radish into 1/4-inch thick matchsticks. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  • Add corn syrup and 1 tablespoon of salt. Toss well and let it sit for 30-45 minutes. You will see lots of moisture come out from the radish.

Recipe Tip: Corn syrup withdraws the moisture from the radish like no other and it maintains the crunchy texture. The radish sticks will hold their shape and won’t leak much moisture after they are seasoned. The salad will keep its freshness in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

  • Squeeze out the moisture firmly and put the radish in to another mixing bowl.
  • Add the Korean chili flakes, Korean fish sauce, salted shrimp, sugar, garlic, Korean plum extract (optional), ginger puree, sesame seeds, and green onion. Mix well and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Bossam dipping sauce

You must have the topping sauce called ssamjang for any bossam dish. Store-bought ssam sauce can be convenient, but homemade ssamjang is very easy and quick to make.

In a small bowl, combine Korean soybean paste, Korean chili paste, garlic, Korean plum extract (optional), and sesame oil. Mix well and chill until ready to serve.

How to serve and eat Bossam

Pork belly slices and radish kimchi arranged on a platter.

Arrange the braised pork slices with side dishes and toppings in a large serving platter.

  1. Put pork belly slices on a large serving platter and arrange the spicy radish salad, salted cabbage, and other wrap materials around it.
  2. Serve with salted shrimp, raw garlic slices, and chili slices in small containers near the platter.
  3. To make a wrap, place a piece of pork belly on a cabbage leaf, lettuce or perilla leaf. Dot with bossam sauce (ssamjang), and top with a tiny bit of salted shrimp, raw garlic, green chili, and serve. You can also use a piece of cabbage kimchi to wrap a pork.

The word “bossam (보쌈)” means bundling. You bundle the meat using napa cabbage leaves, lettuce, perilla leaves (kkennip), or freshly made cabbage kimchi as a wrap. Don’t forget the homemade ssamjang sauce.

A bossam wrap can be big, so you might need to take a bite first. But Koreans typically eat the whole wrap in one go. If you prefer, you can enjoy the pork belly with spicy radish salad or serve it with rice instead of making a wrap.

Use lots of toppings to make the delicious bossam wraps. Below options are great with Korean boiled pork.

  • Spicy radish salad – recipe follows
  • Green onion salad (pa-muchim)
  • Salted shrimp – use store-bought
  • Cabbage – either fresh or salted napa cabbage leaves (instruction follows)
  • Cabbage kimchi – freshly made (Try my easy cabbage kimchi or geotjeori)
  • Fresh oysters – optional
  • Assorted lettuce
  • Perilla leaves (kkennip)
  • Raw garlic cloves – sliced
  • Fresh chili – sliced
  • Minari – Korean water dropwort (water parsley). Try my recipe for minari salad.
  • Ssam sauce (ssamjang) – one of the common Korean pantry staples. Homemade recipe follows

More Pork Recipes

If you are a pork lover, here are a few of pork recipes that you might like.

Love this recipe? Rate it and share your experience in the comments below! On Instagram? Tag me to showcase your creation. For more delicious recipes, subscribe to our newsletter!

Korean bossam arranged in a platter with cabbage leaves, and radish salad.

Bossam (Korean Boiled Pork Belly Wraps)

This Bossam recipe highlights Korean boiled pork belly, slow-cooked and served wrapped in napa cabbage leaves with various side dishes. It's a healthy and delicious Korean meal.
5 from 5 ratings

Ingredients

For bossam wraps

  • bunch assorted lettuce
  • bunch perilla leaves (kkennip), optional
  • cabbage kimchi, freshly made kimchi preferred
  • bunch fresh oysters, optional
  • 2 tbsp salted shrimp
  • 5-7 cloves fresh garlic , sliced
  • 1-2 fresh green chilies, sliced

For pickling cabbage

  • 1 head (about 2 lb, 900 g)) small napa cabbage, quartered
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt, see note below

For pork belly

  • 2 1/2 lb (1.2 kg) thick pork belly, preferably skin removed
  • pinches salt and pepper , to season
  • 2 onion, roughly sliced
  • 1 apple, roughly sliced
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) sweet rice wine (mirim)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 Asian leek, optional, roughly sliced

For radish salad

For topping sauce

Instructions 

To pickle the cabbage

  • Use the yellow inner part of napa cabbage. Quarter the cabbage lengthwise. Depending on the size of your cabbage, you might only need 2 of them. Rinse the cabbage with water and drain.
  • In a large shallow mixing bowl, place the cabbage pieces and sprinkle salt over the cabbage trying to reach in between the layers of leaves, especially the thick white stem parts. Let the cabbage sit for 50 minutes, turning them upside down 2-3 times. Rinse the cabbage once and squeeze out the extra moisture.

To cook pork belly

  • In a large, heavy bottom pot, put in diced onion followed by sliced apples. Season pork belly with salt and pepper and place it on top. Add the garlic and crumbled bay leaves.
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix together sweet rice wine and ginger puree, and drizzle it around the pork belly. Top the pork belly with sliced leek (or green onion).
  • Cover with lid and let it cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 40-50 minutes depending on the thickness of your meat.
  • Let the pork rest in the pot for 10 minutes, then slice it.

To make spicy radish salad

  • Slice radish into 1/4-inch thick matchsticks. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  • Add corn syrup and 1 tablespoon of salt. Toss well and let it sit for 30-45 minutes. You will see lots of moisture come out from the radish. Squeeze out the moisture firmly and put the radish in to another mixing bowl.
  • Add the Korean chili flakes, Korean fish sauce, salted shrimp, sugar, garlic, Korean plum extract (optional), ginger puree, sesame seeds, and green onion. Mix well and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To make bossam sauce

  • In a small bowl, combine Korean soybean paste, Korean chili paste, garlic, Korean plum extract (optional), and sesame oil. Mix well and chill until ready to serve.

To serve bossam

  • Put pork belly slices on a large serving platter and arrange the spicy radish salad, salted cabbage, and other wrap materials around it.
  • To make a wrap, place a piece of pork belly on a cabbage leaf, lettuce or perilla leaf. Dot with bossam sauce, and top with a tiny bit of salted shrimp, raw garlic, green chili, and serve. You can also use a piece of cabbage kimchi to wrap a pork.

Notes

Preparing the cabbage ahead of time:
  • If you want to prepare the cabbage well ahead of time, use a salt brine instead. Dissolve 1/2 cup salt in 6 cups of water.
  • Soak the cabbage in the salt brine overnight until slightly wilted. Rinse and squeeze out the extra moisture. Keep the cabbage in a zip bag and chill until ready to use.
Calories: 879kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 77g, Saturated Fat: 28g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 35g, Cholesterol: 102mg, Sodium: 4487mg, Potassium: 609mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 842IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 71mg, Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @beyondkimchee on Instagram. I love to see your masterpiece.

This recipe was originally posted in November 2016. I’ve updated the recipe with minor changes, new photos, and more information.