Sunday Arvo Bo Ssam

Pat Breen of Eat This Food
Pat Breen of Eat This Food
16th of October 2012
Today Eat This Food brings us NINE individual mini recipes, which combined make a zesty meal with unique summery appeal...  introducing Sunday Arvo Bo Ssam - a.k.a. the Korean taco!
Eat This Food does Bo Ssam! Recipe by Pat Breen, Photo by Sean Fennessy, Graphics by Jess Lillico.
Feasting with friends is ALWAYS fun. In fact, it’s fair to say that hanging out and enjoying a meal amongst good company is one of the great joys in life. Maybe only topped by HOSTING such an event, as playing host can be a real treat, particularly if you can maintain a few sneaky tricks up your sleeve, ready to unleash upon unsuspecting guests. Woo them with your culinary prowess and skill. GO ON! Today's recipe pays homage to the great Aussie spread amongst friends, and sets out to dispel the myth that it takes loads of precious time to prepare. In fact, this feast can be easily managed with a bit of good old fashioned time management, and some careful advance planning. So prepare to be lulled (or gently lowered) into the simmering World of Korean tacos, A.K.A BO SSAM, as we guide you through a few hours of Saturday morning preparation, and gear you up for a dazzling Sunday arvo feast in the sun! Firstly, the BO SSAM. Think tacos, but in place of tortilla, imagine a crunchy fresh piece of lettuce, that wraps around deliciously slow cooked pork shoulder, pickled and fresh vegetables, spicy sauce and a tangy hit of kimchi. It’s refreshing and tasty, and sits beautifully alongside a spritzy cold beer. We also threw in a few shots of Soju (Korean rice spirit) for extra authenticity, which is easy to find at your local Korean or Asian grocer.
Korean Soju - Photo by Sean Fennessy
This recipe needn’t begin any earlier than Saturday morning and will feed approx 8 hungry people. The beauty of all these condiments is that they can sit in the fridge overnight until you need them!
Pulled pork top left, pickled mustard seeds top right, kimchi directly right.  Recipe by Pat Breen, Photo by Sean Fennessy

Gently pulled pork shoulder

3 kg should do it. This is the main staple of the Bo Ssam, and can readily be found at your local market in its freshest state. Pork shoulder usually sells for between 6 and 10 dollars a kilo. Bargain! 3 kg pork shoulder 1 cup sugar 1 cup salt On Saturday evening, or 12 hours before you want to cook it, massage the pork with a mix of the sugar and salt. Let it sit overnight in the fridge covered with cling film. Take from the fridge on Sunday morning and discard any liquid that has amassed. Give it a good 7 hours in the oven on 150C. It will cook itself! Just try to give it a baste in it’s own juices when you get the chance or remember to. After 7 hours it should be dark, caramelised, and ready to pull apart; it’s good to leave some texture though, so don’t shred it up too finely unless you really want to. A few chunks make for a satisfying mouthful!


Kimchi is fermented cabbage, a traditional Korean condiment!  It’s pretty great after 24 hours, and even better after a week or so. So if you get the chance, preparing it earlier in the week is preferable, but certainly not essential. 1 small - medium sized cabbage 2 tbsp salt ½ cup sugar 1 head of garlic, minced 250 g ginger, minced ½ cup korean chili powder ¼ cup fish sauce ¼ cup light soy sauce 2 tbsp pureed, salted prawn or shrimp (available at your local Asian grocer) ½ cup chopped spring onion ½ cup diced carrots Cut the cabbage into bite sized pieces. Toss them with the salt and two tablespoons of sugar and cover in the refrigerator for 2 hours. This will extract much of the excess water content in the cabbage. Combine the garlic, ginger, chili powder, fish sauce, soy sauce, salted shrimp and sugar in a large bowl. Add the spring onions and carrots. It should be sludgy and thick; if too thick, add a little water to free it up. Drain the cabbage and add it to the brine. Cover, refrigerate, and wait at least 24 hours. Upon serving, blitz the kimchi in a food processor to get a consistent texture; it makes for easier eating with the Bo Ssam.

Pickled yellow mustard seeds

These little mustard seeds are dead easy to pickle, and just provide a bit of crackle and pop in the Bo Ssam. Good texture, and a subtle flavor. ¾ cup yellow mustard seeds 1 cup water 1 cup rice wine vinegar 1 tsp salt Combine all ingredients over a gentle heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the seeds are plump and tender. Keep the liquid topped up with water throughout the cooking process. Once cooked, refrigerate until needed.

Pickled carrots

Pickled carrots are delicious, a quick 24 hour pickle will leave them still super crunchy, but still tangy and juicy. 8 carrots, julienned 1 cup water boiled, straight from the kettle ½ cup rice wine vinegar 2 tbsp salt Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until needed.

Ginger and spring onion

Fresh and warm flavors, raw grated ginger is a winner. 1 bunch of spring onion 250 g ginger, peeled 1 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tsp sherry vinegar Juice of ½ a lemon Slice and dice one bunch of spring onion. Soak in a bowl of water in the fridge until needed, as this gives them an extra clean, and keeps the crutch and freshness at 100%. Meanwhile, grate the ginger and mix with the soy sauce, vinegar and oil. Combine with the spring onion just prior to serving, with a good squeeze of lemon.

Pork floss

I recently discovered this condiment and it is a real treat. Available at the QVM, this particular kind has a really great flavour and interesting texture. How cool is pork floss!

Red dragon sauce

Love the name! A sweet and fiery sauce, made from fermented beans and chili. Delicious. ½ cup water ½ cup sugar ¾ cup fermented bean and chili sauce (available at your local Asian grocer) 2 tbsp light soy sauce 1 tsp sherry vinegar 1 tsp sesame oil Bring the water and sugar to the boil on the stove, as you would a sugar syrup. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat. Once it has cooled a little, stir in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate.

Wild and short grain rice

It’s interesting to mix up different varieties of rice, as they all have a differing texture and flavour! The wild rice has a particularly sticky and glutinous texture that lends itself well to the Bo Ssam. Prepare the rice just prior to serving. 1 cup wild rice 1 cup short grain rice Separately cook each variety of rice according to packet instructions. As a guide, wild rice tends to go with a ratio of 1 part uncooked rice, to 2 parts water. Short grain will usually require less water, equal parts uncooked rice to water.


Any lettuce with enough surface enough on the leaves to hold the pork and other things will work. Hit the markets to check out what looks good!  There are plenty to choose from. Make sure the lettuce gets a good wash before serving. Now all that's left to do is assemble the above and enjoy! For more inspired recipes from this talented trio, head to the Eat This Food blog!
Photo by Sean Fennessy

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