A delectable package of rice wrapped in lettuce or other leafy vegetables, Ssambap is a popular meal in Korea. Ssambap was formerly a commoner’s food eaten on fields; it eventually made its way to the tables of kings and elites.
Red leaf lettuce is a popular choice for the rice wrap but other vegetables such as steamed or parboiled cabbage leaves, and Kaenip leaves. The rice is topped by a sauce usually made by mixing ingredients such as seasoned meat, ssamjang, garlic, Kimchi, hot peppers and other ingredients of choice. Have fun by adding as much food as you can in a bite sized Ssambap.A 19th century scholar, Eou Yadam recommends Ssambap to be eaten by “opening the mouth as wide as the South Gate and stuffing the whole wrap inside” in order to enjoy its full flavour.
Koreans associate the meal with childhood memories of mouths open wide and cheeks bulging out. In recent times, Ssambap has gained recognition for its healthy ingredients and savoury flavour. Momofuku Ssäm Bar, a restaurant specializing in Ssambap has been named one of the best 50 restaurants in the world by Britain’s restaurant magazine.