A Taste of Korean Royal Court Cuisine: Kaesong Bossam Kimchi

In light of last week’s blog post on ‘kimjang’, this week Gastro Tour Seoul is excited to introduce a very special and historically significant Korean dish, made – of course – using Kimchi.

Traditional Bossam Kimchi, literally meaning ‘wrapped kimchi’, comes from the city of Kaesung in North Korea, and was a staple item on royal court dining tables in the the Goryeo Dynasty.

Photo source: http://jemini23.tistory.com
Photo source: http://jemini23.tistory.com

Kaesong was the ancient capital city of Goryeo, and was a part of South Korea’s Gyeonggi province until the Korean war. After the war, Kaesong was incorporated into the North Korean administration. It’s close proximity to the South Korean border meant Kaesong soon became an industrial hub, facilitating cross-border exchanges between the two countries.

Photo credit: angloberry.com
Photo credit: angloberry.com

The city’s reputation for producing royal-standard, traditional Korean cuisine has remained.

As the capital of Goryeo and home to ancient Korean royalty, Kaesong’s cuisine is known for being elaborate and luxurious. A trip to a high-grade restaurant in Kaesong is rarely an understated affair.

Photo source: lovesouthkorea.tumblr.com
Photo source: lovesouthkorea.tumblr.com

One key item on a Kaesong royal court cuisine table is ‘Bossam Kimchi’. Bossam Kimchi literally translates to ‘wrapped Kimchi’, and involves nestling a variety of colorful, fresh ingredients inside a ‘bag’ of the fermented cabbage. More often than not, ‘baek’ or ‘white’ kimchi is used, with its milder taste offsetting the spicy stuffing inside.

Photo source: http://danmee.chosun.com
Photo source: http://danmee.chosun.com

This dish is not easy or quick to make, but tastes delicious, and looks stunning among the many other side dishes which make up Korean royal court cuisine.

Ingredients encased inside the kimchi wrapping can include persimmons, chesnuts, jujubes, pear, radish, pine nuts, dates, parsley, ginger, mushrooms, chives, and red pepper seasoning. Sometimes, octopus, red snapper, and other seafoods are also added.

Photo source: http://www.eatyourbooks.com
Photo source: http://www.eatyourbooks.com

Bossam Kimchi goes fantastically well with a glass of high-quality white wine.

For a full Bossam Kimchi recipe, click here.

If you’d like to experience traditional court cuisine yourself, contact Gastro Tour Seoul on info@gastrotourseoul.com to arrange a customized fine-dining tour.

Veronica Kang