The Chan family, the makers of a popular Kampot fish sauce, don’t boast of culinary secrets – because they don’t have any.
Fresh sea fish, salt from Kampot province and plenty of hard work are the main ingredients in the production of their tasty fish sauce – a product that is much sought after across the Kingdom.
The family, which owns the E Che Ngov Heng Food Production facility that makes the fish sauce, started their business the old-fashioned way – using just their bare hands, with wood and charcoal, to produce 1,000 litres of bottled fish sauce a day, which was then sold around the neighbourhood.
That was back in 1995.
Now the industrious family, who have transformed their cottage industry into a bustling SME, employ 50 workers and produce 10,000 litres of fish sauce daily using imported machinery.
It is testament to the homegrown company’s success story and its contribution to the national economy.
Ngov Heng Kampot Fish Sauce actively promotes its Khmer identity, generates jobs for local communities and helps the rural economy. The firm perhaps more importantly assists Kampot farmers by procuring their produce.
The sprawling factory located at Ta Ang village, produces a range of products – fish, soy and oyster sauces, as well as salt, vinegar, chillis, pickles and pepper – all sold under the Ngov Heng Kampot brand.
“We started as a family business and expanded gradually over the years. When we started, the sauce was produced manually, but now we have modern machines on our production line.
“We source all raw materials directly from local fishermen, and the salt and pepper used is all from Kampot. With the raw materials we use obtained locally, in this way we support the local community. We plan to get ISO standard certification soon,” E Che Ngov Heng Food Production of Kampot general manager Chan Silsocheat told The Post.
Located in Kampot province, which is renowned for its salt fields, pepper plantations and fishing industry, the company is well able to source fresh, high-quality raw materials.
Ngov Heng Kampot Fish Sauce is famous for its taste, with fresh sea fish and high-quality Kampot salt used in its preparation, Silsocheat said.
The sauce is then fermented in traditional wooden containers for up to two years.
The process adds a special flavour to the sauce, he said.
At its facility, the company produces 5,000 litres of soy sauce and 10,000 litres of fish sauce per day.
It also processes 10 tonnes of salt a month and up to 20 tonnes of pepper a year.
“We produce high-quality products that can compete in both the domestic and international markets, especially our fish and soy sauces, and our salt and pepper.
“In addition, we promote and support Khmer products, help farmers earn a living and create jobs for local people.
“Ngov Heng Kampot Fish Sauce is recognised as a condiment of high quality that contains proteins. It is an organic product made from sea fish. We focus mostly on quality because we care about the health of our customers.
“We have foreign experts who train our staff, and we have imported packaging, bottling and labelling machines from Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand to improve efficiency,” Silsocheat said.