Kampot is a riverside village in Cambodia, near the former French colonial beach retreat of Kep. It is renowned for producing one of the world’s finest peppers. In the years before war took its toll, no self-respecting French restaurant in Paris would do without Kampot pepper on the table.
Despite pepper cultivation being adversely affected by events in Cambodia’s recent history, small farmers in the region are using their traditional skills and knowledge to once again make Kampot pepper a valuable product.
Restoring the pepper industry
The local organization Kampot Pepper Promotion Association is assisting this recovery by marketing the highest grade of pepper from Kampot. Profits are devoted to forming a small farmer’s cooperative to restore the peppercorn industry and invest in improving pepper production and cultivation.
High Quality Pepper
Beware of fake pepper! Pepper sold in local markets is often mixed with lower-quality pepper from Vietnam. Kampot pepper is sun-dried and not machine dried. This ensures the natural flavour is retained and the drying out process is environmentally friendly. The aroma of pure Kampot Pepper literally springs out of the bag, and the hot taste slightly eucalyptus. The versatile flavor can range from intensely spicy to mildly sweet with a hint of flower.
Kampot Pepper is protected by the so-called Geographical Indications (GI) designation, which means that any product sold in EU countries calling itself “Kampot pepper” must come from a designated region in southern Cambodia that includes Kampot and neighbouring Kep province.
Want to know more? Download Farmlink’s brochure on Kampot Pepper.
Recipe with Kampot Pepper:
Cambodian-Style Pepper and Lime Beef
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar or palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2½ tablespoons mushroom soy sauce
- 1 whole bulb garlic, all cloves crushed (or less to taste)
- 2 hot red bird chiles, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 pound sirloin, cut into thin, bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons soybean oil
- Dash of fish sauce
- Lettuce leaves
- 1 raw yellow onion, sliced thinly
In a bowl, combine sugar, black pepper, soy sauce, garlic, chiles and half the lime juice. Stir well and add beef. Coat beef and marinade half an hour or longer. In skillet, sauté beef in hot oil, 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked as desired.
Add remaining lime juice and fish sauce and mix well. Place on a platter over a bed of lettuce and raw yellow onion (the heat from the meat will slightly cook the onion).
Serve with rice. Makes 4 servings.