Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bossam at Won Halmoni Bonga

While, perhaps not as famous as some of Korea's other fine cuisines, bossam (보쌈) is a uniquely Korean dish that can be found in restaurants and markets around the city. It consists of boiled pork which is wrapped with other vegetables and sauces in lettuce, cabbage, radish or kimchi.  On Friday night, I finally made it to 원할머니본가 , the original restaurant of the famous chain of bossam restaurants in Korea which happens to be around the corner from my house.

Kongnamulguk, Bean sprout soup

As with most typical Korean meals, some broth and side dishes (반찬) are served.  Here we received a bean sprout soup and some onions and hot peppers in soy sauce. Every restaurant will have their own special side dishes for you to try.

Onion and hot pepper in soy sauce

Boiled pork to make the bossam

Then came out the main course, the bossam. As you can see, there are two kinds of pork here. One is a fattier meat, samgyopsal (in the back), and a less fatty meat (in the front).

Wraps and vegetables to add to the bossam

Here are various wraps to make the bossam. To the left is kimchi, of course, above that is thinly sliced preserved radish, at twelve o'clock you can see fresh lettuce and Chinese cabbage. To the right of that is thin slices of ddeok (rice  cake) and below that at three o'clock is radish kimchi. Finally, at the bottom is preserved Chinese cabbage. Not pictured here are the various sauces that you can add on top for extra flavor. It seems like a lot, but this was a basic set. There are more elaborate sets available for bigger groups or for people willing to spend more.

 Wrapping the bossam

Finally, when you are ready to get to work, choose a wrap and add whatever you like to it. The meat is standard, but you can be creative and make each wrap to your liking. Add extra kimchi if you like spice, add extra bean paste for a saltier taste, or add extra veggies to be healthy. Or, try a little of everything!

You can arrive here by taking line 2 or 6 to Sindang station. Go out exit 2, walk up to the four way intersection, turn left and walk through the next intersection (황학사거리). It is about 100 meters from the intersection on the right. You can also arrive here by coming to Sinseol-dong station on line 1 or 2 and going out exit 10. Walk to the 5-way intersection and take a left. Walk down and cross the cheonggyechon. Cross the street and it will be on the right after passing E-Mart. Bus 421 also makes a stop here, get off at the E-mart bus stop and look for the bright yellow sign for the restaurant. Click here for the chain's website and to read about their history. Korean and Japanese only.

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  1. Bbo-sam isn't boiled. Pretty sure it's steamed. It's actually one of the few old-style traditional Korean foods that aren't boiled, or eaten raw. (BBQ pork and such only goes back a few decades.)

    The pictures are excellent, and I'm envious. Will you give us a camera review of your latest machine any time soon?

    When I give a restaurant review, I'm not going to show a Google Map for it. If it's good I don't want it to get too popular so I can't get a seat. If people work half as hard as I did to find it, that's alright with me.

    PS - I voted "penguin" cuz they're damn cute and have better fashion sense than me. No idea what it means, though.

  2. Every recipe I've seen is for boiling, and every Korean I've talked to has told me it's boiled. But, there could be variations to the recipe I'm sure.

    I'm quite sure that this restaurant will not become some sudden hit with this post. While bossam is good, I don't think it's something folks would go eat often and it's quite out of the way for most people I think. But, I hope people can come and find it once, though! (or try their local bossam restaurant since this is a chain, plus I'm sure there are others about)

    I do have a mini review of my camera on my photo blog I'd like to keep updating it, but blogspot only allows you to have so much data on your account and I don't want to overspend that amount (they don't seem to tell you how much left you have anymore) so I'll just focus on the one here. It's basically just a megazoom, not a fancy DSLR. But, for a blogger it's perfect since I can slide it into my pocket (it's a little big for pants pockets, but it works well in coat pockets), or into my purse and I have it with me at all times just in case something photo worthy pops up.

  3. Here's a good recipe I found:

  4. You are right, of course, and I ought not to have been so categorical - obviously, different people will use different methods.

    David Chang uses an oven and cooks it at low heat over several hours, but as we know, ovens are more often used for making celadon pottery than food over here, until recently. (I don't think he's ever been to Korea, actually, and he's said many times that Momofuko is not a Korean restaurant.)

    My wife's family uses steam, but Koreans in general are really fond of boiling their food. Won Halmoni is a franchise chain, so I suspect they would use the quickest and easiest way.

    The example in your photo does look boiled, or at least it appears likely to have been.

    It's good food, and very Korean. Doesn't get enough attention when people talk about Korean cuisine.