Friday, April 19, 2019

[Food] Samgyeopsal (삼겹살, Grilled Pork Belly)


[Food] Samgyeopsal (삼겹살, Grilled Pork Belly)

Koreans (and most people around the world, except vegetarians) love eating meat. For a very long time, Koreans have eaten meat and differentiated parts of the meat (beef, pork and chicken) in detail. Missionaries who visited Korea in the early 20th century said, 'I have never met people who love meat as much as the Koreans do. They distinguish meat parts very specifically into many parts'. There are currently 40 special beef cuts and 15 special pork cuts in Korea.

Among the most common and well-known meat cuts (overseas included) is Samgyeopsal (삼겹살, Pork belly).

What would you think if someone asked you to have a BBQ for dinner?

People accustomed to western cuisine would think of a well-roasted juicy beef (Sirloin, rib-eye etc.), while most Koreans would consider a charcoal-roasted juicy pork belly.

Roasted pork belly with kimchi
'Samgyeopsal(삼겹살)' means 'Triple layered meat' because pork belly consists of outer fat, inner fat and flesh. Samgyeopsal is one of the cheapest and most common parts sold at any butcher's, used often in Korean meat dishes. (Sadly, it is more expensive than it was 10 years ago). It is very popular because Koreans love its chewy texture and oily flavor from these belly layers.

However, Koreans didn't usually eat samgyeopsal at the start; it became popular from the mid-1970's when Korea underwent a massive export of pork to Japan. The Japanese preferred tenderloins and loins for deep-fried cutlet, leaving pork belly, legs, internal organs, blood clots and the head to Koreans, which could be bought at a cheap price. (This is why Korea has so many dishes that use internal organs, legs and pork belly).

Koreans usually ate galbi over samgyeopsal, but samgyeopsal -which was cheaper - had gradually become popular in Korea. Most Koreans love eating roasted-samgyeopsal with vegetables, herbs, side dishes and liquor. Actually, the Ministry of Health and Welfare in Korea recommends people eat samgyeopsal with fresh vegetables for a balanced diet.

Non-Korean style samgyeopsal with thick salsa sauce and coleslaw
It is very easy to cook over a hot grill or stainless net as a BBQ. Sliced pork belly had the thickness you want. Personally, I prefer to eat thickly sliced pork belly because it gives me a more chewy texture and juicy meat flavor. Bring some vegetables (lettuce, steamed cabbage, garlic, non-spicy green chili, onion, mushroom etc.), your favorite dipping and a hungry tummy :)

Bon Appétit!


  1. When religion is harmonized and united, the world is considered to be a world of peace

    1. I thank you for replying my article, but this is article about Korean food doh...o_o;