Pork wraps

Bo-ssam 보쌈

Today’s recipe is bo-ssam, a traditional Korean recipe that’s a pouch full of delicious stuff! It’s super-tender flavorful pork, hot red spicy oyster radish, and subtly flavored fermented shrimp wrapped in a crispy pickled cabbage leaf. It’s a dish that many of my readers and viewers have requested, and one of my favorites, too. My version is one that I’ve refined over the years, that took a totally unexpected turn when I lived in Missouri.

The Korean community there held potluck parties regularly, and everybody brought their best dishes. Once a lady brought her bo-ssam, and it had a rich brown color, unusual for boiled pork, and an irresistible, unplaceable porky flavor. I asked her how she did it, and she told me her secret: instant hazelnut coffee. I’ve been using her trick ever since. As it turns out, hazelnut coffee goes well with pork, and mixes well with all the other bo-ssam ingredients.

This recipe is not easy: there are a lot of steps for each ingredient, and you need to take care of all of them. The cabbage needs to be turned over often, the oysters shouldn’t be squeezed, and the pork needs to be tended to while it boils.

But the result is fantastic, and delicious. It’s also one of the recipes that made it into my cookbook. The word ssam literally means “wrapped” and refers to a tradition in Korean cuisine where small amounts of ingredients are wrapped in a larger ingredient (usually a vegetable, but not always) to create a single delicious morsel.

Some Koreans add ssamjang to the recipe, but it’s too salty for me. The shrimp sauce is unskippable, not only because it goes well with the pork, but it helps digest it well, too. If you are really pressed for time and need to leave something out, it can be the oyster salad and the pickled cabbage. Just serve pork, shrimp sauce, kimchi and rice, and maybe some lettuce.

The oyster radish salad in this recipe can stand on its own as a banchan (side dishes), even if you don’t make bo-ssam. Use 15-17 fresh shucked oysters if you can’t find frozen.


For cabbage

  • 1 pound napa cabbage leaves, washed and drained
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup water

For pork


For oyster radish salad

For shrimp sauce


For cabbage

  1. Combine sugar, vinegar, kosher salt, and water in a large bowl. Mix well until it turns into a clear pickle brine.
  2. Add the cabbage and mix well by hand.
  3. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then mix well and turn it over so the leaves pickle evenly. Repeat this every 10 to 15 minutes for 1 to 2 hours until the cabbage gets soft and withered.
  4. Squeeze out the excess water and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For pork

  1. Add the pork, onion, ginger, garlic, soy bean paste, brown sugar, hazelnut coffee powder, and the water to a large pot. Cover and cook for 1 hour over medium high heat.
    bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)
  2. When it boils vigorously, turn the pork over with a wooden spoon or tongs.
  3. After 1 hour of boiling, turn down the heat to low and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Take out the cooked pork and let it cool down until ready to serve.bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)

For spicy oyster radish salad

  1. Cut the radish into matchsticks and put them into a bowl. Mix with the salt and let it sit for 10 minutes.bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)
  2. Squeeze out the excess water and put it back into a bowl.
  3. Take the oysters out of the fridge and wash and drain.
  4. Create a seasoning mixture by combining hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and green onion in a bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the seasoning mixture to the radish and mix well by hand. Add the oysters and mix it gently. Add the sesame seeds.

 bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)

For shrimp sauce

  1. Combine the fermented salted shrimp, sugar, hot pepper flakes, green onion, garlic, and water in a small bowl. Mix it well with a spoon. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Ready to serve!

  1. Slice the pork into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Put them on a large platter.
  2. Add the cabbage, spicy oyster radish salad, and shrimp sauce side by side nicely. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and serve.
  3. Koreans often serve with Korean booze: soju, makgeolli, or even beer in a pinch. Children should have Coke. ; )
    bossam (pork wraps: 보쌈)

How to eat ssam-style

  1. Put a leaf of pickled cabbage on your palm (or on a small plate if it’s easier).
  2. Add a piece of pork to the leaf, as well as some oyster radish salad, and a tiny amount of shrimp sauce. You should make it small enough so that it will fit into your mouth all at once.
  3. Wrap the leaf into a small pouch and eat it whole.
  4. Go back to step 1, and modify the amount of each ingredient, as you like, or not.

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  1. MaltaMelt Portland, OR joined 3/22 & has 1 comment

    I’m wondering if I need to buy sweet instant hazelnut coffee or unsweetened? I’m going to make bossam this weekend I think.

  2. KoreanGF Sydney joined 7/21 & has 7 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    Wow, that is very nice!

    We really love your recipe, can never go wrong!

    You are the best Maangchi!

  3. KoreanGF Sydney joined 7/21 & has 7 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Hope you are well.

    Thank you so much for your recipe. The taste is amazing and we love to eat with homemade kimchi which is from your recipe too. My bf loves it so much. This is my 2nd time make it.

    Thanks so much ❤️

    See full size image

  4. Sookling Malaysia joined 4/17 & has 2 comments

    Thank you Maangchi!
    You are my inspiration to cook Korean dishes. Really appreciates your clear instruction and sometimes making cooking so fun. Today our dinner, all using your recipe

    Bossam and Kimbap. Dinner for 5

    See full size image

  5. Cc1127 Melbourne, Australia joined 8/20 & has 3 comments

    Hi Maangchi! Hope you’re doing really well! I’m your new fan from Melbourne Australia!! I want to make your bossam recipe because me and my bf loves korean food so badly!!! Ive tried a few of your recipes, they’re so delicious and so easy to follow! So I bought all the ingredients today and guess what.. I forgot to buy the hazelnut instant coffee..What can I replace it for? Can I use non flavoured instant coffee? Or can I use Vanilla instant coffee? Do I have to use hazelnut flavoured? Please help

  6. Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you for the great recipe! I take off the skin for boiled and leave the skin on for grilled for crispy flavor. Question, it looks like you left the skin on? What is the reasoning?

    • jaedortmundbvb Dortmund Germany joined 2/12 & has 2 comments

      Hi there,
      the dish is usually served like that. I dont like the skin as well, so i cut it off, too. But in Korea, you will always get the Bossam dish with skin. That’s probably why Maangchi did it as well. So it is as traditional as it get.

  7. Yu Li Singapore joined 6/20 & has 5 comments

    Thank you for the recipe!
    My family loves Bossam!

    See full size image

  8. evantlx Singapore joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    Hey Maangchi! i was wondering if its possible for me to reduce the water measurement because I am using an induction cooker? and also is it possible to reduce the recipe size? how can I reduce it if I want to cook just 1kg of pork belly? :)

  9. lmnade Melbourne, Australia joined 5/20 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi!
    I have watched your videos and recipes for a long time, even followed some but never thought to post here.
    I followed your ingredient list for Bo Ssam, but instead of boiling it I braised it using Gordon Ramsay’s method.
    Here’s how it turned out! (some of the skin was crispy but not all of them, will have to try a few different techniques next time!).
    The ingredients for the stock did not have to be adjusted for the braising, your measurements worked out perfectly!

    See full size image

  10. Swiss Miss Singapore joined 3/19 & has 1 comment

    Annyeonghaseyo! After watching this vid, I made this recipe of yours and it turned out pretty well. My husband loved it. He even told me that I can open my own resto hahah! I’m a fan of Korean foods and Maangchi :). Thank you for sharing your recipes and even your secret ingredients. I am now sharing my version of bossam which I paired with deep fried gyoza, oyster radish salad and ripe kimchi. We also enjoyed the shrimp sauce dip.

    See full size image

  11. BakingCindy London joined 10/17 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi!!!!
    I was going to cook bossam this Saturday but my guests can’t come anymore. Do you think I can freeze the pork belly (2kg) and use it for bossam when we can reorganise our little party? Or should I just resign myself and eat it all this weekend? Is it ok to defrost and then cook the recipe? Many thanks!!

  12. Mariposa7672 Philippines joined 1/19 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, I am a newbie here on your page but I have been a fan for years now. When it comes to Korean dishes, I always go to your Youtube channel. I always make food from your recipe and serve it to my friends. I am glad i have finally registered here. Thank you so much for being an inspiration.

    I made bossam based on your recipe. However, due to the absence of some ingredients, I tried to substitute whatever I have available. It still turned out well. For fermented shrimp, I used our local one called “ginamus” and since I don’t have hazelnut coffee, I used a strong version of one of the popular coffee brands here in Philippines.

    See full size image

  13. tygerstryped singapore joined 1/14 & has 4 comments

    dear maangchi, i made bossam for dinner today at long last! i had it when i visited korea in april and i loved it so much. i didn’t have hazelnut coffee but i used regular instant coffee and it smelled sooooo delicious while cooking. my family loved it along with the oyster and radish salad ♡ i also made kimchi today so we had some fresh kimchi to go with it as i’ve heard it’s quite common to eat bossam with fresh kimchi! my mom made a big pot of samgyetang too.

    i wanted to know if there’s anything the broth that the meat is boiled in can be used for later? i know there’s coffee and other flavorings in it, but it still tasted quite nice hehe.

    thank you for your delicious recipe! ♡♡♡♡♡

    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      Wow your bo-ssam and samgyetang table look amazing! Your whole family seems to be getting into Korean cooking these days.

      I throw away that broth because all the fat is there, but you can try using it for something. If it turns out good, let us know!

  14. Papa_kulit Houston, Texas joined 9/18 & has 7 comments

    I made it Maangchi!

    See full size image

  15. eatandsleep Vancouver joined 1/18 & has 6 comments

    Hi Mangchi,

    I cannot find that brand hazelnut coffee anywhere in even the Korean grocery store here in Canada called H-Mart.

    Do you think I can use a different brand hazelnut instant coffee powder?

    Thank you!!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      Yes, you can use a different brand, as long as it’s hazelnut flavor. I made bo-ssam last night, and I used this same hazelnut coffee that I’ve been using for three years, kept in the freezer! Good luck!

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