Shihshan Pepper Plantation, which covers 1.45 hectares of land in Liouguei District's Sinfa Village, is the only pepper plantation in Taiwan. Founder Mr. Chen Jhen-shan has been dubbed “Uncle Pepper.”
Uncle Pepper collaborated with Pingtung Institute of Agriculture (now National Pingtung University of Science and Technology) to cultivate Taiwan's native pepper, and their efforts were rewarded with success in 1973. Uncle Pepper has since passed the torch to his son, Mr. Chen Yu-long.
The younger Mr. Chen says pepper requires a certain amount of shade. He therefore grows peppercorn vines among betel-nut palms, mango trees, olive trees, and cempedak trees.
Pepper vines yield berries after a year of cultivation. When a cluster of berries ripen, they turn red, while emitting aroma and flavor. Ripened berries can stay on the vines for a week or two without affecting the pepper's quality. Pepper vines are easy to manage, and do not require pesticides or herbicides.
Shihshan Pepper Plantation produces both black and white peppercorns. Black peppercorns are ready for use after being fully sun-dried. White peppercorns are those where the wrinkled skin has been removed by soaking in water for a week, then drying under the sun. Mr. Chen Yu-long says black pepper is more piquant than white pepper because the former peppercorns retain their skins.
High-quality pepper is not the only reason to visit Shihshan Pepper Plantation. Delicious pepper-based cuisine, such as roasted black-pepper chicken, stewed chicken pepper soup, pork sausage with pepper, and fried pork belly with pepper, can be enjoyed by visitors. Mr. Chen Yu-long says the plantation's kitchen uses black pepper in every dish because its palpable aroma perfectly showcases this beloved spice.
From the moment they are greeted with cups of pepper tea (made using dried pepper leaves), visitors will find a trip to Shihshan Pepper Plantation an adventure in rich smells and tasty cuisines.
◎Shihshan Pepper Plantation
No. 78, Shihshan, Liouguei Dist., Kaohsiung City
Tel: (07) 679-1798
Business hours:09:30~17:00 (meals must be booked in advance)