Modern Bossam 모던보쌈 (Braised & Boiled Pork w Lettuce Wraps)

Ever since arriving on Jeju Island just over a month ago, it’s been hard not to spot a BBQ pork restaurant specializing in Jeju’s famous black pig, aka heuk dweji 흑돼지. They are literally everywhere, and tempting me each and every time. Known for its super thick cut of pork belly (if you’re lucky, you’ll get some black hairs for proof), the once fatty pieces of pork belly eventually shrivel down to become a mouth-watering delight. If I had my choice (diet permitting), I’d be happy to stake out every “famous” BBQ pork joint in Jeju. But since there’s only so much pork one can eat in a day (plus I have a race to prep for), I’ve decided to honor the black pig by doing different dishes of lesser-known cuts of meat like the tenderloin and hind leg , which surprisingly, are much more cheaper than the belly. The recipe is basically the same as making regular bossam (boiled pork) but I added a pre-rub (basis salt n pepper) and did a quick sear before the lengthy boil. As for the end result, let’s just say the pictures still have me drooling from that day (10 days to be exact!).

A little more about bossam: this is a hearty dish that is perfect for large gatherings and a convivial dining atmosphere. Pork belly is the main attraction and is served with a healthy dose bossam kimchi (thinly sliced radish kimchi), ssamgjang (wrap sauce), and plenty of lettuce varieties for wrapping. The old-school traditionalists love their bossam with nicely fermented kimchi and saewujeot, aka salted shrimp. For me, I can’t get enough of bossam with freshly made kimchi and plenty of garlic. To perfect bossam, a good dose of onions, garlic, ginger, and dwenjang (soybean paste) are used to rid the “porky” smell and to infuse all their goodness into the fatty piece of pork. My go-to recipe is similar, but I omit the dwenjang and add apple chunks to give the pork a slightly sweeter tone (and makes for a nice sauce too).  Obviously, you can be creative and substitute ingredients to your liking. Good luck and enjoy!


This is not your normal bossam, as I substituted the pork belly with a surprising pork tenderloin that I found at the local market.
With its lower fat content, I added some oil (butter works fine too) before giving it a good sear.
I’ve been making this version quite a bit, so I know that a good dose of garlic, onion, green onions, and most importantly apples, do a great job of infusing their best qualities into the pork.
Unlike pork belly and other fattier cuts, these pieces didn’t shrivel or shrink too much in size.
If you want another sauce component (besides the usual ssamgjang sauce), I recommend removing the excess ingredients and straining the sauce.
After letting it sit for a few minutes, thinly cut the meat and plate accordingly.
For some balance, I sauteed some extra vegetables with no more than some salt and pepper.
As with most things in life, you want a nice balance A bird’s eye view of this great dish.

Modern Bossam (Braised & Boiled Pork w Lettuce Wraps)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
  • 1 kg pork tenderloin (pork belly is perfectly fine too)
  • 4 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 onion, halved
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp ground pepper (or peppercorn)
  • 3 green onions, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 green or red chili peppers, cubed
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 apple, quartered (optional but recommended)
  • 1 tsp ginger, whole (optional but recommended)
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper for pre-rub
  1. Rub salt and pepper onto the pork tenderloin pieces. Substituting with other seasonings acceptable.
  2. On a non-stick frying pan or Dutch oven, sear the pork tenderloin pieces until slightly charred. Due to the low fat content, using a small amount of oil or butter is recommended. Once braised, add
  3. enough water to cover the pork pieces and include all ingredients on the list.
  4. Bring the pot to a rapid boil and then let simmer on medium heat for approximately 45~60 minutes. Replenish water as needed to keep the pork covered.
  5. Remove the pork to a cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, either strain the brine with a washcloth or use a strainer to remove cooked vegetables and fatty deposits.
  6. For a sauce component, boil the remaining liquid and add a mixture of 1 tbsp cornstarch with ¼ cup of water. Stir in slowly to prevent clumping. Set aside.
  7. Thinly slice the meat according to preference and plate.
  8. Serve hot with bossam kimchi, salted cabbage, lettuce wraps, namul banchan, etc.



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