Korean meals are mostly communal affairs, entire tables united by the radiating warmth of a grill or the gravitational orbit of a half-dozen tiny dishes (banchan). Bo ssam, the ultimate protein-style wrap, is a party on a platter—a DIY array of boiled (or steamed) pork belly sliced into thin sheets, greens for wrapping the pork, a mound of kimchi for some spice, and veggies and garnishes for experimenting.
Yigah has an Irvine location in Diamond Jamboree, but you’ll only find bo ssam at its more sprawling, stately space in Garden Grove. Fatty slabs of pork belly are organized into neat little rows and accompanied by lightly pickled cabbage, crunchy pickled radish, and some just-spicy-enough kimchi. Sliced jalapenos and garlic offer added pungency. Eventually you can fall into a kind of meditative state, grabbing leaves of cabbage and packing them full of your desired combinations until you suddenly realize you’re stuffed.
At Choeun in Fullerton, the bo ssam is less ornate but even more diverse. Hidden in the kimchi are slippery oysters that provide crucial textural contrast to the crunchy spears of carrot and cucumber. There’s more than just cabbage—try constructing a wrap with one of the minty perilla leaves.
Bo ssam is an interactive dish, and Gangnam Eomuyi takes this to another level. The pork belly arrives on a foil raft set on a cast-iron skillet. It’s a theatrical and unique feature that’s destined to be the talk of your party.
At Yigah (left), when diners skip the bo ssam, chances are they’re ordering bibimbap instead. The maximalist rice bowl is very good here, especially in the restaurant’s sizzling stone pots. Try the version loaded with spicy nubs of tender octopus, showered with leafy vegetables, herbs, and sesame seeds.
8562 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove
2621 W. Orangethorpe Ave.
10031 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove