Thanks to Instagram, I learned about a Korean craze around cheese ribs. Whole pork ribs prepared and wrapped at your table with gooey mounds of cheese. I had to give this a try. My friends wanted to give this a try. So, we all did. My search brought me to a place in Los Angeles that actually, as the name suggests, specializes in bossam, a meal where you wrap thinly slices of pork in lettuce or cabbage. The name of the restaurant was Mister Bossam and one of their popular dishes was the cheese ribs. Of course, with a group of nine we went for both.
Our reservation was actually set up for an hour before we arrived, but they still accommodated our large group, putting several long tables together. It was unusually empty for a Saturday night, but I’m not sure how many people would look for such a heavy meal after Thanksgiving. Well, besides us. Not knowing the portion sizes, the waitress worked with us as we ordered. Several times she hinted that we may have gotten too much food. We did. Not by too much though. But very happy she was kind enough to point it out and even helped portion the sizes to our party.
After we ordered, our drinks came out first. Then in about ten minutes they brought out four burners for our table. I thought we needed only two. To my surprise, the other two burners were to keep the pork belly warm. Not a bad idea. Not bad at all. We ate for about an hour, getting refills of sides and lettuce as we went. All included as part of the meal. By end, the only starch we had, if we had any room, was the fried rice. Also included in the meal. Gotta love leaving full and happy for such an attentive staff. I do wonder how it would have been on a busier night.
338 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020
+1 (213) 388-5379
Verdict: I’m in love with this stuff and I recommend you try it out too, both the bossam and the cheese ribs.
Here are the wraps in action. I do like loading mine with a bit more kimchi, but this should give you an idea on how to eat this. And just look at the size of that plate of pork belly. Get your bellies ready!
This combination includes the original, garlic, and green onion pork belly cuts. This was enough to feed the five of us on one side of the table. Of course we ordered two for everyone. The clear favorite was the garlic followed by the green onion that had a bit of a sweet sauce. Either way, all this was so tasty with the right balance of meat and fat.
And here's what we came for, cheese ribs! How does this work. Well, take Korean BBQ ribs and add cheese, melted hot cheese. What you get is absolutely amazing. We got medium spicy so it wasn't too over the top. And the way they prepare it here was to cut them into bite sized pieces to reduce the mess. Love it!
There's plenty of side dishes to help mix up the flavor combinations of your wraps. Or you can eat them alone. You have macaroni salad, spicy cucumbers, kimchi, fish cake, and steamed eggs to choose from. And of course, you can always ask for more.
Here's a must for your wraps. Technically I'm sure this was kimchi. I think there's a more specific name for this. Though, it's spice and crunchiness gave that pork belly the punch I was looking for. We had to restock several times.
I know we use this in our wraps, but I ended using this as the wrap. Protocol aside, it worked for me. It's tangy firmness was another dimension of yum.
Here's the basic wrap, lettuce. And if you're looking for more heat, take a bite out of the pepper. Warning, as we learned, at least one of them was way more spicy than the others.
For your sauces you have saeujeot, pickled fermented shrimp sauce, and ssamjang, soybean paste. I stuck to the ssamjang and don't remember using the other at all.
At the end of the meal they take the leftovers around the plate and make it into a fried rice. But oh, by the end of the meal, we were so stuffed we hardly had any of it. It looks a bit messy looking but who cares, as long as it tasted good.