Discovering Ssam: A Delicious Korean Tradition

By admin
June 27, 2024

When you visit Gangnam Asian BBQ, one of the most delightful experiences you’ll encounter is making and enjoying ssam. But what exactly is ssam, and where did it come from? Let’s dive into the history and culture behind this beloved Korean dish.

What is Ssam?

In Korean cuisine, “ssam” (쌈) means “wrap.” It refers to a method of wrapping bite-sized portions of food in leafy vegetables, such as lettuce or perilla leaves, to create a flavorful, handheld package. Ssam can include a variety of ingredients, from grilled meats and rice to assorted banchan (side dishes), garlic, chili peppers, and ssamjang (a savory dipping sauce). The result is a harmonious blend of textures and flavors in every bite.

The Origin of Ssam

Ssam has ancient roots in Korean culinary history. It is believed to have originated during the Goguryeo period (37 BC–668 AD), when Korean cuisine began to emphasize the health benefits of consuming fresh vegetables and herbs. This practice became more popular during the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897), a time when Korean culture and cuisine flourished.

The tradition of wrapping food in leafy greens was not only a practical way to enjoy a meal but also a reflection of the agrarian lifestyle and the abundance of fresh produce available. Over time, ssam evolved from a simple, everyday food to a beloved component of Korean royal cuisine and festive meals.

The Cultural Significance

Ssam is more than just a method of eating; it embodies important aspects of Korean culture. Sharing a meal of ssam is a communal activity that fosters a sense of togetherness and intimacy. It encourages diners to engage with their food and each other, making the dining experience more interactive and enjoyable.

In Korea, ssam is often enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations, such as Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) and family gatherings. The act of wrapping and sharing food symbolizes harmony, good fortune, and the value of communal living.

Gangnam Asian BBQ - Radish Pickle Ssam

Ssam at Gangnam Asian BBQ

At Gangnam Asian BBQ, we take pride in offering an authentic ssam experience. Our premium meats, fresh vegetables, and homemade ssamjang provide the perfect components for creating your own delicious wraps. Whether you’re a seasoned ssam enthusiast or a first-time visitor, our staff is here to guide you through the process and ensure you have an unforgettable dining experience.

How to Enjoy Ssam

  1. Choose Your Leaf: Start with a fresh lettuce or perilla leaf as your base. Gangnam Asian BBQ also provides other options like Ssam-mu (Radish Pickle Paper)
  2. Add Your Protein: Place a piece of grilled meat, such as bulgogi or galbi, in the center of the leaf.
  3. Add Rice and Banchan: Add a small portion of rice and your favorite banchan for added flavor and texture.
  4. Top with Ssamjang: A dollop of ssamjang adds a savory, slightly spicy kick.
  5. Wrap and Eat: Fold the leaf around the fillings to create a neat package, then enjoy in one bite for the full flavor experience.


Ssam is a testament to the rich history and vibrant culture of Korean cuisine. It’s a dish that brings people together, inviting them to savor the freshness and diversity of flavors. At Gangnam Asian BBQ, we invite you to experience the joy of ssam and discover why it remains a cherished part of Korean dining tradition.