Is Bossam Healthy? (Nutritional Value and Ingredients)

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Everyone in the world loves a good wrap or sandwich. After all, it has all the components that combine excellent foods into one convenient little yet delectable package. 

Bossam is one such dish served in Korea, and it’s oh so good!

But, is bossam healthy? Yes and no, on the one hand, there many healthy things about it and other the other there are some aspects not conducive to a sensible diet. 

Many dishes in Korea are very good for your body, but some sit on a fine line between danger and health bossam is 

Let’s get started

What Bossam Is & Its Ingredients

Bossam’s ingredients are inherent in the name. “Bo” refers to pork and “ssam” means wrap. 

Therefore, bossam is thinly sliced steamed pork and vegetables wrapped in a big leaf of lettuce, perilla and/or cabbage. 

What a particular wrap contains will largely depend on the chef preparing them.

The stuffing often contains things like carrots, radishes, pears, kimchi, fermented paste (as the wrap sauce – ssamjang or doenjang), apples, and green onions, among many others. 

Some people will prepare it with a little seafood like crab or shrimp while others use beef instead of pork.

While most restaurants do not offer a vegan or vegetarian-friendly option, it is possible to make it that way at home. 

With or without meat, however, it’s generally good for you, but there are some concerns to take heed of.

Bossam Nutrtional Value

For the real-deal traditional bossam, there are well over 1850 calories in one 100-gram wrap. However, there are only 10 grams of sugar, 25 grams of carbs, and 36 grams of protein. 

But the sodium, cholesterol, and fat are on the high side 1241 milligrams, 240 milligrams, and 177 grams, respectively.

While these numbers do seem off the charts, bossam is also chock-full of things like potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, along with iron, fiber, and excellent trace minerals. 

So, as you can see, there are many healthy things about bossam, but there are also some very concerning aspects.

This means that those who are looking to eat healthily should be sparing when consuming traditional bossam. 

For people looking to lose weight, only eat bossam on days you intend to exercise or if you haven’t had enough calories through recent meals.

Vegan Bossam Recipe

The internet burgeons with traditional bossam recipes that use a variety of meats and veggies. 

Because restaurants don’t offer a veggie-friendly version, we’ll include a special one for those who observe a meatless diet. 

While it does step outside the traditional recipe a little bit, it has all the elements to make it Korean-like.

Items You’ll Need

  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Stirring Spoon
  • Serving Bowls & Plates

Ingredients

  • ½ Daikon radish (use the peppery end)
  • ¼ Cabbage (tear off leaves)
  • 1 block Tempeh, Seitan, or Tofu (season with 1 Tbsp soy sauce and sesame oil)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 2 tsp Ginger (fresh, minced)
  • 1 Scallion (chopped)
  • ½ Asian Pear (sliced into matchstick sizes)
  • 3 Shiitake Mushrooms (chopped then soaked in warm water)
  • 15 Pine Nuts
  • 3 Chestnuts (sliced thin)
  • ¼ Cup Red Pepper Flakes
  • ¼ Cup Red Chili Paste
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Kelp Powder
  • ¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

Instructions

  1. Chop and soak the shiitake mushroom for a couple hours in warm water.
  2. Cut radish into matchsticks, sprinkle with 2 tbsp of salt and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut the pear into matchsticks along with the tofu (seitan or tempeh).
  4. Put the pears into a large mixing bowl and set in the fridge until ready to mix the rest.
  5. Cook your protein with some soy sauce and allow it to cool.
  6. Once the radish’s texture has a weak feeling, wash the radish pieces twice, squeeze out the excess water, and put them into the mixing bowl with all the above ingredients listed, including the softened shitake mushrooms (except the cabbage).
  7. Mix everything well and allow the food to marinade overnight in the fridge.
  8. The next day, blanch the cabbage leaf by leaf, so it’s soft and pliable but not mushy and limp.
  9. Put the cabbage leaves on a plate and bring out the bowl of filling. Spoon in the desired amount onto a leaf, wrap it up and enjoy!

How to Eat Bossam

Bossam is an “anju” in Korea which means that you eat it alongside alcohol like soju, sake, or makgeolli

This is because Bossam is traditional food prepared for large family gatherings, specifically on times or days when everyone contributes to making the household kimchi.

Because the ingredients are fresh and still quite crispy, it’s a great accompaniment for a feast that includes consuming alcohol. 

Therefore, it’s social food, and you generally opt for various items to include in your wrap. This means not everything on the table has to go inside.

For example, one wrap may have a bit of radish and pork while another one is just kimchi and sauce. However, there will often be many sides accompanying the food. 

These will be things such as rice, noodles, more kimchi, green beans, and other similar morsels.

Conclusion

Bossam is a delicious dish that does have the potential to be healthy. However, it’s quite high in things like fat, sodium, and cholesterol. 

Such things aren’t ideal for a sensible diet or for those looking to trim a few pounds. Regardless, it packs plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. 

So, as with everything, be smart and sparing.

About The Author

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Jason Park

Jason has been living in Seoul over 4 years and during that time, he has experienced a lot of the city's quirks and charms. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others who are interested in learning more about South Korea.

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