September 29th, 2011
02:02 AM GMT
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Phnom Penh, Cambodia (CNN) – The hunt for heat is part of the lure of many Asian cuisines. China has its addictive, mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorn. Thailand has the "do I dare" burn of the bird's eye chili.

In Cambodia, heat comes in the form of a Kampot peppercorn, tiny but bursting with spice and an additional depth that ranges from citrus to nutty.

Grown in the Kampot province in Southern Cambodia, this special pepper reached its hey-day in the mid-20th century, when chefs in Europe prized its unique strength and flavor.

The pepper disappeared off the world stage though in the 1970s, when the destructive Khmer Rouge regime isolated Cambodia from the outside world. Farmers neglected their pepper fields and exports from Cambodia were cut off.

Now the farmers of Kampot are trying to rebuild their industry.

Nguon Lay's family had grown peppers for four generations and he is now the head of Kampot Pepper Farmers' Association. He explains why Kampot pepper is different from that of other provinces.

"The location here is good," he says. "It has clay mixed with sand and the talent of the farmers who have learned from their ancestors since the 13th century."

Last year, the Government of Cambodia granted Kampot pepper geographical indication (GI) status, the same kind of trade label that goes on products like Champagne or Gorgonzola cheese. The distinction is a first for the country and it prevents peppers produced in other places from being called Kampot Pepper.

Nguon Lay says that his prices have gone up 10 to 20% since the product got GI status.

"After we got geographical indication our product got even more famous and even the European Union is recognizing it," he says.

His association is already sold out of pepper for the year, with a new harvest expected in February.

Cambodian food is often overshadowed by that of its larger neighbors Thailand and Vietnam. Kampot pepper's GI designation could help raise the profile of the nation's cuisine

The peppers feature in many of Cambodia's most famous dishes.

Hun Li Heng, a chef that teaches cooking classes in Phnom Penh, says the fresh, green peppers, still on the vine, are used in stir fries and signature dishes like Kampot pepper crab. The sun-dried black peppers are ground as a seasoning for beef or added on top of green peppers for some extra bite.

"It has much stronger smell than other peppers," he says.


If you would like to try Kampot Pepper yourself, an organization called FarmLink distributes it in Europe, Asia and Australia. You can also order from them online, but the shipping charges to the United States are high.

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Filed under: BusinessOutlook Cambodia


soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Jerome

    Thanks for letting the American people know about this wonderful pepper. Our shipping charges are indeed quite high but we do have a distributor in the US as well. To get your Kampot Pepper in the us, visit http://www.banyangourmet.com

    September 29, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  2. Dave

    Visit Cambodia and spend a day in a cooking class. Tour the market, make fish amok from scratch, experience the scents and flavors of Cambodian cuisine. It is unique, and addictive!

    September 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  3. mark antony parker

    You can buy at kampotpepper.co.uk

    October 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  4. Tom

    In the United States, you can order Kampot pepper from the Pepper Project (www.pepperproject.org)....you get this unique pepper at a good price and the proceeds are returned to the Daughters of Cambodia, a group that rescues young people from the streets of Phnom Penh. The pepper comes in a bag made by the young men and women at Daughters of Cambodia from traditional Cambodian krama material.

    October 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  5. Kurata

    Please tell the truth in Broadcast. You have a responsible to the whole world society. We also can grow up high quality pepper in the other area of Kampot like us. Not only "Kampot pepper" in Cambodia. Do not believe only one side interview, please.

    October 24, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  6. musicmoviestvblog

    Hello there dude, This was a fantastic website for such achallenging niche to focus on….

    October 26, 2011 at 2:54 am |
  7. JP

    You can buy Kampot pepper at the famous LA GALLERIE DE LA FAYETTE IN PARIS. It costs 170 euros a kilos!

    February 25, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  8. peter ernest logar

    Equipamentos para processamento de Pimentas
    Ano 2012
    Prezados Senhores
    O que segue pode ser de seu interesse!
    Até a poucos tempos atrás inexistiam Equipamento especialmente desenvolvidos para os Agricultores e Processadores das Pimentas no Brasil, onde a grande maioria se compõe de Agricultores e Processadores de pequeno porte e essencialmente formados por Familiares. Fora do Brasil você encontra Plantações onde se cultivam as Pimentas em áreas que superam 400-600 e mais hectares e colhem-se as pimentas, como no Novo México, até por Colhedeiras com capacidade de colher acima de 5000 Kg de Piments por hora enquanto aqui só se colhe e se processa manualmente ,via de regra pequenas quantias que não ultrapassam centenas de quilogramas por dia! Assim as Indústrias de Equipamentos também não fabricavam Equipamentos de pequeno porte para se adequarem as realidades Brasileiras. Mas pretendemos mudar isso radicalmente, pois já dispomos para fornecimento praticamente qualquer Equipamento que um Plantador ou Processador de Pimentas, principalmente de Pimentas Malaguetas possam precisar. Assim já podemos fornecer equipamentos "SORTEADORES ELETRÔNICOS DE CORES" de menor tamanho para as Pimentas que podem não só separa-las por Cor, mas também separar as que estão partidas, amassadas, podres, secas e enrugadas.
    O mesmo se dá com o envase das Pimentinhas que via de regra se processa manualmente ou com auxílio de Colheres, mas para isso temos modernas Envasadoras que sem uma esteira envasam, por meio de dois bicos, 42 garrafinhas por Minuto e com esteira, para avanço automatizado das Garrafinhas, as enchem a razão de 60 a 240 unidades por Minuto, podendo ainda contar uma a uma ou pesa-las para formar completos jogos de "N" números ou pesos de pimentas para envasa-las em uma determinada embalagem.
    Estamos desenvolvendo, como também já o fizemos com uma grande quantidade de outros Equipamentos nossos, até a adequação de um "pequeno e veloz ROBÔ" que já deverá estar disponível durante desse ano com tecnologia desenvolvido no Brasil que também pode sortear e até envasar as pimentas, a razão de 250 pimentinhas por minuto, o que soma 45 Kg p/Hora, algo que não se consegue fazer manualmente, ainda mais com admirável precisão e desde que se queira, durante 24 Horas, o que daria uma produtividade diária acima de 1000 Kg!
    Nos mande uma correspondência ou um e-mail com as seguintes informações: qual o gênero de Pimentas que planta ou processa, qual o processo que quer realizar (exe.: Sortear, Liquefazer para fazer Molho, Cozinhar, Secar as Pimentas, Moer para obter Pimenta Malagueta em Pó, Envazar Líquidos ou Sólidos) e se nos revelar quantos “KG” de Pimentas que quer processar por hora, importante para nos podermos dimensionar a grandeza dos Equipamentos, completa o questionário!
    Tendo esses dados, em poucos dias poderemos enviar-lhe uma oferta com todos Dados Técnicos e Ilustrações disponíveis, em certos casos até acompanhado de Vídeos dos Equipamentos em funcionamento.
    Temos certeza que nossos Equipamentos poderão aliviar em muito seu trabalho manual e também aumentar muitissimamente a sua produtividade que fazemos voto, possam ser úteis a todos que lidam com Pimentas como V.Srs.!!
    Cordiais Saudações
    Peter Ernest Logar
    PL CONSULTORIA INDUSTRIAL E REPRESENTAÇÕES LTDA
    Rua Sabino Barroso, 50-Apt. 204 – Cruzeiro – Belo Horizonte –MG -30310-200
    Tel: 31 32212092 ou Cel: 31 99831043 e-mail: pelogar@gmail.com

    April 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm |

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