Samgyeopsal: Korean pork belly lettuce wrap

This is not my first post on sam gyeop sal or the Korean style pork belly lettuce wrap. I posted one on my other blog – that is now offline! It is one of my favorite Korean dishes. I actually like a lot of Korean food and I’m going to find time to post them all here – one by one!
Samgyeopsal (Hangeul: 삼겹살) is “pork belly” in Korean. I think it is the same as “liempo” in the Philippines. Here in Korea, it’s best eaten grilled, seasoned with ssam jang and then wrapped in a lettuce leaf. My husband and I prefer to have it at home and not a month passes by without us having it for a weekend dinner. In restaurants, a 150 gram serving typically goes for 8,000 won and the minimum order is always for two people.
The last time we had samgyeopsal was last Saturday. Here are the things that I prepared for our Korean style pork belly lettuce wrap:

  • 600 grams pork belly (I bought moksal which is less fatty and tastier, IMO)
  • ssam jang (seasoned bean paste)
  • lettuce, perilla leaves (you can use other leaves available at the “ssam” section of a Korean grocery)
  • mu ssam (thinly-sliced vinegared radish) – optional, but it adds to the flavor
  • thinly sliced garlic
  • a mixture of sesame oil, salt and pepper as dipping sauce for the meat – optional
  • kimchi
  • shredded green onion mixed with sesame oil and ground red pepper – optional

I have two grills at home that I use for cooking samgyeopsal. One is electric that I got for free and a stove-top one that we’ve been using for six years now! If a grill is not available, a non-stick pan will do. It’s soooo easy to cook samgyeopsal. It’s as simple as frying an egg, or even easier than that. Just make sure that the grill is hot before putting the meat. Make sure not to turn the meat over a lot of times. According to my keun hyeongnim (eldest sister-in-law), the meat will lose its flavor.
To enjoy samgyeopsal, just take a lettuce leaf and top with the meat (dipped in sesame oil/salt mixture if preferred), garlic and ssam jang. Wrap and eat.
I love my samgyeopsal this way: I get a lettuce leaf and mu ssam OR lettuce and perilla leaves and top it with the meat. I then add garlic dipped in ssam jang. I top them all with a slice of cooked kimchi. Wrap and eat.
Samgyeopsal is delish, but one shouldn’t have it frequently; although I heard (from a doctor who guested in a radio show here) that it’s actually “healthier” than fried chicken. It definitely wouldn’t make the list on how to reduce belly fat 😀
Samgyeopsal is best eaten with soju. Keon-bae!


  1. this sounds like a really good meal. i am starting to like Korean food. i’ve been frequenting a Korean restaurant in the area.
    .-= kayni´s last blog ..Changes =-.

  2. One of my favorite foods in korea.just had samyeopsal for my lunch actually.
    when I went home to the Phil, i brought my friends in a korean restaurant in Baguio, and ordered samgyeopsal for them, and they really like it. I taught them how to wrap and put all the side dishes on it.

  3. ah, definitely a favorite but i just wrap mine with the mu ssam (sweet)… or just eat the meat with a little ssamjang or herb salt..

  4. Oh! This was my first dish when I got to Korea. I had a crash course in Korean culture right there and then too. HAHA. LOVE!

    1. Ninang? LOL… I’m already fat so I don’t worry about that.
      Don’t eat samgyeopsal frequently. It’s a monthly fare for us.

  5. I was in Korea last January 20 and eat sangyupsal downtown KAIST university. Sarap talaga……plus it’s a treat and tangal talaga ang mga taba nung karne….I like the sangyupsal in Dae Jeon than in Seoul……

  6. Wow, Ms.Betchay…I’m getting so hungry (& it’s 12 midnight here in PI!!) for Korean food, all of a sudden!!! Love eating samgyeopsal in KRestos here in Manila..but it’s so expensive!!
    Didn’t realize how easy it was to make…until your instructions here..maybe I’ll prepare samgyeopsal this weekend for the family!!! I’m sure it’ll be devoured in 15 minutes, tops!!!
    Can you also feature how to make samgyetang next time? I remember that you already taught me how, on our last dinner in Hongdae..the night before we left Seoul, but I forgot some of the ingredients!!! Please feature that soon cuz I really love that dish(w/c I thought I couldn’t finish, di ba?)!!!

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