Menu for Hope III

While I occasionally rue the quality of olives at a Phnom Penh tapas joint or regularly spend the average Cambodian monthly income on a single meal, about a third of Cambodians are malnourished. There isn’t any irony in writing about food in a country where I regularly meet starving people. Occasionally, they are eating from the rubbish bin at the front of my house. While I’d personally like to feed the 5 million Cambodians who don’t have enough to eat (or at least, foster an economic environment where they can feed themselves), it is well beyond my daily production of bin-worthy leftovers. However, it isn’t beyond UN World Food Programme, who expect to reach about 1.4 million of my immediate neighbours in 2006.

This year the annual food writing community’s fundraiser, Menu For Hope, is being held in aid of World Food Programme. It’s the world’s largest online food raffle – last year it raised almost enough to buy a new white Landcruiser. I would love to offer the traditional Australian pub raffle prize, the meat tray, but I’m predicting that most prize winners would not appreciate being mailed a selection of Cambodia’s finest meats and charcuterie.

Kampot Pepper for Menu For Hope III

In lieu of being able to post you pounds of flesh; I’m ponying up half a kilo of Kampot pepper. It’s the best pepper that the world has to offer, bar none. If you’re not in Cambodia I will send the winner a vacuum packed, Quarantine-friendly bag; if you’re in Phnom Penh, I’ll buy it fresh, drop it at a mutually agreed location and throw in a meat tray to the value of 80,000 riel (or your choice of Cambodian beer, muscle wine or Spy to the same value).

Want to be in the running for this and other fabulous prizes from the online food writing fraternity? Or just need to donate cash to assuage the middle-class guilt that comes from living a First World lifestyle in the Third World?

Buy your tickets at FirstGiving. Each $10 that you pitch in will give you a ticket for a prize of your choice. You can specify a desired prize in the comment area of the donation form. To go for the pepper, add the code “AP17” to your comment (e.g. “$10 for AP17”). Pim has a list of the other, more fabulous prizes.

More coverage to come.

15 thoughts on “Menu for Hope III”

  1. If I didn’t already have about 10 pounds of Kep pepper in my kitchen, I’d bid on this. We bought a bunch direct from the farmer, then received another sack of black pepper as a gift. More than I can use, but so, so good.

  2. Can you expound a bit on the meat tray? Our stash of Phu Quoc black pepper is dangerously near extinct, so I plan to bid on this. But if won, I wonder …. pick it up in Phnom Penh so I can get in on the meat?

  3. Robyn, if you won it, I’d cook it for you at my house.

    As for what meat, I think that I’d provide a selection of cooked as well as raw (obviously separated from eachother – so you wouldn’t get the authentic Aussie meat tray look. See below).

    Meat tray

    (Courtesy: Charlie Allom/rubberduck.)

    For about 80,000 riel I could get a roast duck, plenty of roast pork (possibly a small, whole roasted suckling pig – I think that they’re around $10-15 at Psar Orussei), a whole rack of pork or ribs, some decent sausages from the local French butcher (or maybe some Khmer ones – I spotted a new beef sausage guy the other day), and maybe something random, like pork balls or offal. I might even make some rissoles. If whoever won was squeamish about local meat, I’d make up a much less impressive tray from local meat importers, Dan Meats.

    I’d also happily put together an all-seafood tray if somebody preferred that instead. I’d unhappily put together a tray of about 50 kilos of local tofu.

  4. Hi Phil

    Can you tell me where I can get hold of Kampot pepper online? Or do you know of a Cambodian supplier? I’m in the UK and it’s impossible to get hold of. I bought a small amount of pepper back from Cambodia 18 months ago but its now long gone. Would love to replenish my stock.


  5. The only reliable online Kampot pepper guy that I know about is Mr. Kurata of Kurata Pepper ( He also blogs at The only problem is that both sites are entirely in Japanese. I’ll drop by his Phnom Penh office and find out if there are any other options. Surely there has to be a French site sells meric, but I can’t seem to find it by searching for “poivre du Kampot” or “poivre du Cambodge”.

  6. Hi Phil

    Thanks for your speedy reply. I’ve looked everywhere and can find nothing. I managed to get an email address of Mr Kurata’s web site, so have tried to email him. If you can find anything else out for me I’d love to hear from you.

    My email address is

    Many thanks and cheers

  7. Phil

    Just to let you know that I’m now in contact with Mr Kurata and he’s agreed to send me soem of his finest pepper (black, white and red). I can’t wait. Thanks so much for your help.

  8. Dear Graham,

    Did you get the pepper from Mr. Kurata? And if so, did he also manage to include the kampot pepper???
    Last November I went to Kampot and bought a pound of this wonderful black pepper..but running out of it as my friends getting the taste for it and come for refills for their peppermills :) Looking everywhere to buy a replenishment but no luck sofar.
    Really thinking of starting importing this terrific pepper to the Netherlands; the restaurant-chefs I have given a little (!) trial are very enthousiastic….At least would love to get the pepper into my own kitchen

  9. in phnom penh you can buy pure kampot black peppercorns in 250g bags at lucky market on Sihanook blvd. just past street 63… best pepper in the world!

  10. Try as I will, I cannot find where , on what, and how to use my newly purchased Kampot Peperrcorns> Will appreciate suggestions.

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