Phu Quoc Pepper
Phu Quoc Pepper takes its name from the 28 island district of Phú Quốc, an archipelago located off the coast of southern Vietnam and located in the Gulf of Thailand. The pepper growing areas of Phu Quoc are confined to Phu Quoc Island, the districts largest island and the center of all ecotourism related activities. Currently there are over 400 hectares of pepper plantations and farms found throughout the central and northern regions of Phu Quoc Island — Cửa Dương, Gành Dầu Village, Cua Can Village, and Thom Village — producing 3 different varieties of pepper and yielding over 1,000 tonnes of the crop annually.
Harvesting occurs during the dry season and traditional farming methods are used to grow the plants, which include the use of organic fertilizers, personal care of each peppercorn vine plant, handpicking each pepper fruit cluster, separating the peppercorns, and then drying the individual peppercorns in the sun. Applying this method ensures that the natural flavor and essential oils remain within each individual peppercorn and as a result pepper farmers can demand a premium for their crop. Due to this natural farming and harvesting process along with the islands climate, mineral rich soil, abundant sunshine, and fresh ocean air Phu Quoc’s pepper is considered one of the world’s best pepper, closely rivaling those produced in nearby Cambodia.
Description: Pepper is a fruiting flowering vine in the family Piperaceae. When dried, the fruit is known as a peppercorn
Botanical Name: Pepper nigrum
Active compound: Piperine
Black , Red, Green or White Pepper
On Phu Quoc Island you will find 4 different pepper “types”, but they are actually the same pepper species.
- Black Pepper: Phu Quoc Black Pepper is the sun dried version of the pepper fruit. When the pepper is completely dried it is referred to as a “peppercorn”.
- Red Pepper: The Phu Quoc Red Peppercorns are bigger and more aromatic. The red color indicates that the berry is ripe.
- Green Pepper: The green pepper is the unripe pepper fruit which contains the most desirable flavor. It’s great for cooking and making herbal teas.
- White Pepper: Phu Quoc White Pepper is peppercorn that is stripped of its husk. It is much less sought after.
Phu Quoc Pepper Plantation Overview
Phu Quoc’s pepper is unique as it is one of the few places in the world where peppercorn vines are grown on an island. Unlike the far more expensive Kampot pepper, the pepper grown on Phu Quoc has not achieved the status of “protected geographical indication” but that is bound to change by 2020. With the rise of the commodity prices pepper, the local government plans to expand plantations to over 500 ha and increase outputs in order to meet global demand. Vietnam is the largest pepper producer and exporter in the world.
The soil on Phu Quoc Island is extremely rich in quartz which is a necessary mineral needed for strong peppercorn plant growth. Mineral rich soil is usually found at the base of mountains, which is why on Phu Quoc Island you will find most of the pepper farms in the mountainous northern regions which is part of the Phu Quoc National Park.
Phu Quoc Pepper Farm Tours
Tourist can easily visit a pepper plantation on Phu Quoc. There are 3 plantations in Duong Dong Town which are easily accessible and if you plan on traveling around the island you cannot miss a pepper plantation. There is actually no tour per se… you just visit the plantation and then you can purchase the pepper. There are guided tours, but the expense is not necessary.
Buy Phu Quoc Pepper
If you want to buy packaged pepper products while vacationing on Phu Quoc, opt to purchase intact peppercorns that have not been crushed. It’s hard to gauge the quality of Phu Quoc pepper products that are available for tourists since the highest quality peppercorns are shipped abroad. To buy fresh peppercorns, head on over to the Duong Dong Market.