Pork belly is inexpensive, easy to cook, and delicious. The literal translation of “samgyupsal” is three layered meat (flesh, fat and skin), and it's very popular in Korea. It's best enjoyed wrapped in fresh lettuce, served with side dishes and a semi-sweet and spicy sauce called ssamjang.
- 500 g boneless pork belly, cut into 1cm thick slices
- 5-8 cloves garlic, sliced (optional)
Seasoned sesame oil sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked pepper
Salad for ssam (wrap)
- 1 head Korean lettuce or other soft leaf lettuce (see Note)
- 20 kkaennip (wild sesame leaves) (see Note)
- 1 Korean or Lebanese cucumber, cut into thick long sticks (see Note)
- 4 mild green chillies, sliced or kept whole
- ¼ cup ssamjang (seasoned chilli and soy bean paste) (see Note)
- cooked short grain rice and kimchi to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Place a large non-stick frying pan or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place slices of pork belly and cook in batches until the fat is rendered and the pork slices are golden brown. Turn the heat down if the pork starts to burn and take care not to overlap the pork belly slices when cooking. Cut pork belly into big bite-sized pieces.
If desired, drain pork belly slices on a plate lined with paper towel. Continue cooking the rest of the pork belly slices and wipe excess pork fat off the pan between batches. The garlic slices can be cooked briefly with the pork belly until starting to colour, then transfer to a plate.
Mix sesame oil, salt and pepper together. Arrange salad ingredients on a platter and serve ssamjang and seasoned sesame oil in individual serves. Wrap cooked pork belly slices in lettuce or sesame leaves with cucumber, chilli, ssamjang, rice, seasoned sesame oil and kimchi.
• Pork belly is usually cooked in the middle of the family dining table in a pan over a portable stove. Korean lettuce, Korean cucmumber, ssamjang, sesame leaves and kimchi are available at Korean food stores. If Korean lettuce or cucumber are unavailable, use red or green oak lettuce and Lebanese cucumber.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto.