This season in White Pepper has been full of ups and downs. Floods, farmers hoarding stocks, late crop, and all kinds of excitement that ordinarily wouldn’t make anyone bat an eyelid at. At the end of it all, it’s made us select a new favourite variety of white peppercorns.
Last year, we used to favour our Indian Malabar White Peppercorns. Famed for their earthy, rich pepper flavour and aromas, these white peppercorns are extremely heavy and pack a strong heat.
But we weren’t too happy with the colour after grinding. It isn’t too white (undoubtedly a result of the strong flavour), and the taste is also not to everyone’s tastebuds – it’s too full of flavour, if such a thing is possible! Hence, our original choice of the Indonesian Special Washed White Peppercorns (below).
In the global market, Indonesian white peppercorns have been extremely significant for the high quality consumer market. They are usually not too expensive, the look bright and the flavour is also preferred for asian tastebuds. It’s slightly “fishy”, and pairs naturally with all seafood. But, with other foods, we found the taste a little mild, and again to same tastebuds the “fishy” taste isn’t liked. Indonesian producers are also not as quality-minded as India (where Pepper has been one of India’s most famed spices for centuries, if not thousands of years). The industry got extremely regulated after British rule in India, where nearly all exports of pepper from all of south-east asia (Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia) to Europe went through India’s Malabar port first!
This year is when we delved deeper into the topic to find out what it was that was adding this fishy taste, and whether there was a better white pepper out there. It’s then that we discovered the fishy taste in Indonesian white pepper is actually caused during the washing process! White Peppercorns are the result of washing black pepper. Black Peppercorns are left to soak for a few hours / overnight, and the outer black shell peels off by itself, leaving a nice white pepper inner. It’s the same plant! While this was common knowledge to us, what we weren’t aware of was the difference in washing methods of the regions. In Indonesia, White Peppercorns are washed in lakes and large ponds. These lakes and ponds have fish in them, hence the peppers take on the fishy aroma and flavour as well! In comparison, in Vietnam, white peppers are washed in pools. In our opinion, much more hygienic, much more natural, and no fishy aroma. We immediately made the switch to the Vietnamese White Peppers.
What you’ll also notice is that these white peppers are incredibly bright! This is because they’ve been double-washed. Put through the pool washing process again, further removing more shells and further brightening the white pepper inside. They look beautiful and smell nutty as well as spicy. The heat from these white peppers is also great, and we can control quality much greater here with one of our suppliers of 15+ years.
Price wise, these are similar to the Indonesian White Pepper, but more prone to volatility near the start of a new season. Vietnamese farmers prefer to really hold onto their stocks until as late as possible and consumers come knocking begging for prices.
So that’s our story of the White Peppercorn, and our latest fresh in stock product!
Market price today:
75G GLASS JAR HKD 36 / USD 4.50
200G REFILL BAG HKD 108 / USD 13.50
500G REFILL BAG HKD 216 / USD 27.00
1KG WHOLESALE PACK** HKD 328 / USD 41.00
25KG / 100KG / 1MT / ++ Price on request