Boiled Pork (Bossam)

So-Du-Bul Restaurant
(소두불 식당)
Jungangno, Downtown Daegu

The Good + Delicious pork
+ Wrap it up
+ Makes great Soju chasers
The Bad- Limited selection
Best for: Groups, drinking

보쌈 (Bossam) is, like many Korean foods, eaten a very specific way according to tradition.  These ways originate as practical or necessary to a certain sector of society.  But over the centuries they become followed widely for tradition's sake. * 

In the case of Bossam, this style of pork is closely linked to 김장 (gimjang), the tradition of preparing a kimchi stockpile in the late-fall.  Providing enough nutrients for an entire community throughout winter and into spring required pots and pots of kimchi, and the labor-intensive preparation process demanded the whole village's participation.  To celebrate a job well done, the common folk would gather for a feast and slaughter a pig (gifted to them by nobles who relied on the kimchi supply but whose lazy asses didn't contribute labor).  The feast would include plenty of their newly-made kimchi, which tends to be crispier and sweeter than fully-fermented kimchi.  To complement this side dish, the pork was cooked a specific way.  It was boiled in water along with ginger, garlic and other spices to make it very tender and reduce the porky odor.

Like preparation, there's also a proper way to eat it.  The boiled pork and fresh kimchi are usually wrapped up in a 상추 (lettuce) leaf.  Condiments can be added for flavor, such as 새우젓 (salty shrimp sauce) or 된장 (bean paste), or other veggies like 파 (onions) or 마늘 (garlic).  This process of wrapping things into a lettuce leaf is known as 쌈 (ssam), from the verb 싸다 ("to wrap").  Therefore, the name of this dish, 보쌈 (bossam), means wrapping something in a blanket, and also refers to kidnapping a bride.  As a food, 보쌈 is a popular form of 안주 (anju), meaning food consumed while drinking alcohol.  It makes a great chaser for Soju shots!

A soup comes as a free side.  It's a white broth from boiled bone marrow, and contains some pork as well as 순대 (blood sausage).  It's initially white and bland, so add some 고추장 (pepper paste) and 소금 (salt) for flavor.  

고추 (pepper) can either be a mild snack or a fiery inferno.  There's a secret to knowing which.  Pick one up and gently squeeze and roll it between your fingers.  If the walls feel thin and fragile like a paper bag, it won't be spicy.  If the stalk is solid, brace yourself for the pain.  Just don't be stroking and squeezing your pepper for too long in front of others.  The word 고추 ("go-chu") also means penis.

*[Drinking 막걸리 (makgeolli) on rainy days is another example that comes to mind.  When it rained, farmers couldn't work the fields, so they'd stay home and get drunk instead.  And 막걸리 just happened to be the type of alcohol that people brewed and drank in rural farmlands.]

It has very cozy and friendly vibe.  A half-dozen 아줌마's (ajummas) work in the open front kitchen, separated from the seating area only by a counter.  The seating area has about eight tables, usually loud and covered with Soju bottles.  Because Bossam is a popular 안주 (anju), the place tends to fill with drinkers.


It's located Downtown, on a side street between 중앙로역 (Jungangno Station) and 반월당역 (Banwoldang Station).  From Jungangno, go out exit #1 and make your third right.  From Banwoldang, go out exit #14 and make your third left.  It's the side street with a 농협은행 (NongHyup Bank) on the corner, and across from the the 하나은행 (Hana Bank).  Go up the side street about six stores, and it's the yellow one on your left.

The Address is: 대구광역시 중구 종로2가 63
See map

Here, their Bossam is called 수육, (soo-yook).  Order the 수육백반 for 1 person for \7,500.  For multiple people, order the 수육 small ("soh jjah"), medium ("jung jjah") or large ("dae jjah") for \15,000, \18,000 and \20,000 respectively.

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