Momofuku Steak Ssäm (Lettuce Wraps)

Steak ssam lettuce wrap

Verdict: This was an incredible dish, like nothing I have ever cooked or tasted. The preparation was easy and the flavour combinations of apple juice marinated beef, ginger, scallions and kimchi cannot be beat.

When I saw this recipe on Serious Eats, I knew I had to try it, like walking by  a house with a pie cooling on an open window sill or walking pass a shoe store in the middle of winter and seeing soft leather boots.

Apple juice marinated flank steak Magical scallion-ginger mixture

Although I have yet to experience the award winning Momofuku restaurants, I had a feeling that any recipe from David Chang (owner and chef) would produce incredible results. Apple juice in a marinade? That would be a first! A dish that requires kimchi, the tangy and spicy Korean pickled cabbage? Hot white rice? Sweet and savoury grilled steak? All wrapped in a crunchy lettuce leaf? I don’t think I could ask for more in a recipe.

Flank steak with new friends

I have never eaten anything like this before, so incredible and novel, it encourages you to swear out in delight. The recipe produces a complex and inviting mixture of flavours and textures: the sweet steak, spicy kimchi, and the sherry infused ginger-scallion mixture, alongside the soft rice and crunchy lettuce. I loved the sweetness imparted by the apple juice with the mellow but savoury umami flavour of the soya sauce and sesame oil.

Steak ssam lettuce wrapped

The taste combination was so delicious, we couldn’t stop thinking about this meal for weeks. We could be brushing our teeth or walking into work, innocent and mundane activities, when the memory of this taste experience would assault us. It would stop us in our tracks and cause our mouths to salivate instantly.

Prepare this dish. You and your guests will not regret nor forget it.

Flank steak with kimchi, rice and scallion-ginger


Momofuku Steak Ssäm

Adapted from Momofuku, as seen on Serious Eats

Serves: 4 as main, 6 as appetizer | Prep: 20 minutes | Cook: 10 – 15 minutes

Note: If marinating overnight, let it rest on the counter for 30 minutes if possible. The closer the meat is to room temperature, the more even the grilling.


  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds hangar, skirt, or flank steak
  • 2 bunches scallions, thinly sliced (white and greens)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil like grapeseed, vegetable or canola
  • 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 cup kimchi
  • 2 large heads bibb or Romaine lettuce, leaves separated and washed
  • 3 cups cooked white rice

1. In a freezer bag, combine the apple juice, 1/2 cup soy sauce, onion, garlic, and sesame oil. Add the steak and turn to coat. Marinate for 40 minutes at room temperature (or up to a 24 hours refrigerated).

2. While the meat marinates, combine the scallions, ginger, oil, sherry vinegar, and salt to taste in a bowl. Stir well to combine.

3. In a small food processor or blender, process the kimchi into a puree. If using the blender, you may need to process it in ¼ cup batches.

4. Prepare a grill or heat a grill pan on high. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill to medium rare, 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the cut. For the first few minutes, baste with the marinade to infuse more flavor and glaze the exterior

5. Remove the steak to a platter and allow it to rest for a full 5 minutes. Slice against the grain on a 30 degree angle into 1/4-inch thick pieces.

6. Serve the steak with the kimchi puree, ginger-scallion sauce, rice, and lettuce leaves for wrapping.



5 thoughts on “Momofuku Steak Ssäm (Lettuce Wraps)”

  1. Damn that looks tasty!! I have not even tried the recipe yet and I am already swearing out in delight. Another winner that takes less than half an hour to prepare. I do love grilled beef so I am especially interested to see how the apple juice marinade adds to the flavour.

    Thanks for sharing Linh!

  2. Hey Linh. Just wanted to visit and drop a line. HI. So weird, I made lettuce wraps last night, made a veggie version with TOFU yum. hahha hows the Alberta beef?
    glo out

    1. Hey Glo, the Alberta beef was very yummy. I think the apple juice marinade really made the dish. Also, I can’t resist the spicy kimchi garnish.

  3. I’m drooling! This dish looks amazing!!!!!! I must try this out. Thanks for the dinner idea my dear and congrats on the website! You are doing a fantastic job!

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