Kampot province in Cambodia is well-known for more than a century some of the highest quality pepper in the world – its distinct flavor and pugnacity, intense but light taste with fresh lingering aromas has long been a prized in the finest French kitchens. It is also featured in local Kampot cuisine such as Pepper Crab.
At the beginning of the 20th century the Kampot pepper plantations were in full operation and Cambodia was exporting more than 8000 tones of pepper annually. By 1960, there were more than 1 million pepper poles in Kampot. But the wars from the late 20th century put an end to regular production for almost 30 years. Production was renewed in the late 1990s. Pepper plantations once again dot Kampot province.
What to expect
Tourists will stop at at least one pepper plantation. There are at least a few different farms in the area a couple not far from the road to Kep, and another at Angkor Chey. At the plantation you can see the different growing methods and types of pepper, and there is usually a shop where you can buy Kampot pepper straight from the source.
Kampot pepper comes in four varieties – green, black, red and white – all from the same plant but differing in ripeness and preparation. Green pepper is harvested young and usually used fresh in cooking. The classic black pepper is allowed to ripen dark green, harvested, dried and ground. Perfect for table use. Red pepper is prepared the same as black, but allowed to over-ripen before harvest. Finally, white pepper is red pepper that has had the outer shell removed. Often used in blends.