Add “Ssam” Spice to Your Life
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Japan has sushi, Mexicans have the taco, and the French, the crepe. For Koreans, or Korean food enthusiasts, it’s ssam. This month at Million Restaurant, ssam is one of the new specials.
Translating to “wrapped,” ssam is made by wrapping leafy vegetables around meat, vegetables and condiments. It’s low carb with a crunch, satisfyingly savory and can be customized with condiments ranging from mild to spicy.
Million offers a number of fixings in its JaeYook Gool BoSam: steamed sliced pork belly with the added option of raw and fresh-from-Korea oysters, house-pickled won bok (also known as napa cabbage, the common kim chee veggie), pickled daikon and plenty of condiments (thinly-sliced raw garlic and hot green peppers, miso paste and shrimp sauce). It’s priced at $21.95 with pork, and $25.95 for both pork and raw oyster.
Million manager, Kyung Sook Park, explains the best way to build the perfect ssam — literally a hands-on experience. First create a foundation: lay the stalk end of a piece of won bok on your open palm, then place another from the leafy end on top at a right angle. This creates a substantial base, “so it doesn’t spill,” says Park. Next, choose your fillings: a piece of pork, a fresh oyster and a couple red strips of spicy, pickled daikon. Finally, select the condiments: slather on some miso paste for a hit of umami flavor, add a bright kick of fresh green pepper and pile on the garlic. Close up the won bok and take a bite.
To celebrate oysters’ availability and arrival from Korea, Million has made them the ingredient of the month.
“Oysters haven’t been here for one year,” says Park.
In addition to the oyster, or gool, offered as part of the ssam dish, Oyster Jun ($15.95) also is at Million. The mollusk morsels are minimally seasoned, coated in flour and then dipped into egg before frying. This way, the egg, rather than the batter is prominent. Soak up some shoyu with added spices and green onions before popping one into your mouth.
626 Sheridan St., Honolulu
Monday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.
Sunday, 5-11 p.m.