Sarawak pepper is sometimes called the Queen of the peppers. The Kuching cultivar, named after the capital of Sarawak, has long been the main pepper variety, but like many agricultural products, the Sarawak pepper is also 'under development'.

GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION (MALAYSIA)

It may sound critical, describing the Sarawak pepper as a pepper in development, since this traditional pepper can invariably count on an enthusiastic Asian audience. No less than three-quarters of Sarawak's harvest finds its way to Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and other Asian countries. Pepper growing in Sarawak was set up three centuries ago by notable settlers from China, a country without a pepper tradition. Nowadays, around 85% of the 67,000 households that earn their Sarawak pepper sandwich belong to the native Irish jobs and Bidayuh's.

When black pepper is the king of spices, many authors believe, Sarawak pepper is the queen. It is remarkable that the Sarawak has the reputation of being rare and growing in the pristine environment of tropical forests. Sarawak does have a native pepper, but that is the Piper sarmentosum, from which not the berries but the leaves are eaten. The reality is that the cultivation of pepper in Sarawak, although organized on a small scale, is extremely professional. 

Sarawak pepper has Malaysian geographical indication (GI), which is supervised by MyIPO, which falls under the Malay Ministry of Economic Affairs. Kuching is the classic Sarawak cultivar, the cultivars 'Semongok perak' and 'Semongok emas' are emerging.

The Sarawak tendrils stand in a grid in the open field, often without shading, and are pruned several times a year to maximize yield. No greater contrast is conceivable if the cultivation of premium peppers from Kerala, which, in addition to being grown in combination crops, is generally shaded and not pruned.

The Sarawak peppers are harvested between March (the unripe berries for the black pepper) and August (the ripe berries for the white pepper). Almost three quarters of the pepper berries are harvested unripe and processed into black pepper. The ripe berries are mainly processed into white pepper.

Sarawak pepper is the standard for Japan anyway, but if we may believe the Malaysia Pepper Board, it is also King Elizabeth's favorite pepper.

Why not organic?

The reason for that is quite simple. The investments needed to meet international organic standards implicate insurmountably large investments for the majority of small family companies. Even though there is the possibility of micro-credit, this has not proved to be a viable card for most family businesses. About ten years ago, the Malaysia Pepper Board started to propagate organic cultivation, but for the above reasons, it has still not had much footing.

Developments

The increase in scale encouraged by the government is a serious threat to the continued existence of small-scale pepper. Moreover, this is under fire from palm oil and pineapple producers, who do not just celebrate their hunger for space on the rainforest bone.

Flavor and arome

Black Sarawak smells bolder than it tastes. In addition to the wet woody aromas you can also recognize fruit (citrus) and cocoa.

Usage

Sarawak is used in Malaysian dishes such as curries and coarsely ground over your grilled steak. But also in stir-fried dishes with light spring vegetables and in desserts of soft red fruit.

Features:

  • 100% berries of the Piper nigrum.
  • protected by the European PGI-label
  • origin: Kampot region, Cambodia
  • 2018 harvest

Availability

  • available in pouch, glass and testtubes
  • pouches containing 30, 45, 60, 250 or 500 grams
  • testtubes 10 ml
  • glass containing 60 grams

Gift packages

  • the cubic box is suitable for packaging one glass jar and is supplied with a sheet of black tissue paper
  • the flat box has a flat 'velvet' inlay, and is suitable for  our small and medium-sized pouches (150 and 250 ml), marked with an arterisk *. Capacity: 4-5 bags, depending on the type of spice
  • for further details (and images) of our gift packaging, please refer to the product page

General advice

  • grind pepper shortly before eating it
  • add it only in the last stage of preparation of your dish (last minute)
  • keep it in a dry and pretty cool place
  • the expiry date is meant as an indication

Best before

  • sepember 2025
Origin
Malaysia Sarawak
Botanical name
Piper nigrum
Ingredients
No additions 100% dried pepper grains
Allergen information
Contains no allergenes

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Black Sarawak pepper PGI

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Tags: black pepper, sarawak pepper