The Perfect Pepper

By Mark Andrews

Morning Calm – Korean Air.
April 2018

Cambodia’s Kampot Province is home to what discerning gastronomes consider the world’s best pepper. After nearly disappearing during the time of the Khmer Rouge, it’s once again taking pride of place in the country’s cuisine.
Once so prized that it was used as currency, today pepper seems the most ordinary of spices. But there is one place where the spice retains some of its historical prestige. On the southern coast of Cambodia, around the town of Kampot, the local crop is known as the “king of pepper” and is undeniably the world’s best. Pepper, like grapes, benefits from terroir. “There’s a combination of soil, water and air that suits the Kampot pepper vine. The proximity of the sea brings iodine into the air, and the soil has different strata of lateritic rocky and sandy soil, allowing good drainage,” says Sebastien Lesieur, the director of Farmlink, which markets and processes pepper from over 120 small-scale farmers.

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Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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