The Kep shoreline

How close is the crab fishery to the village of Kep, Cambodia? When photographer Paul Findlay visited Kimly’s on the waterfront there recently, the restaurant didn’t have enough crab for his order. No problem: a waiter just jumped into the dark waters of the Gulf of Thailand, waded out 50 yards to a crabpot, and returned with dinner. These are his photos of the crab markets and the crab pots and above all the crabbers of Kep.

Roads & Kingdoms’ Matt Goulding visited Kimly’s late last year and found the same perfect ringside seat for this Cambodian delicacy:

The restaurant is called Kimly’s, a seaside shack whose position on the Gulf of Thailand is so privileged that when you order your crabs, you’re likely to see a woman wade into the waters and pluck them directly from a trap set just beyond the sandy banks. Still dripping with ocean water, they go into a screaming hot wok bubbling with fresh coconut milk, garlic and ginger. The final touch is the most important: a fistful of Kampot pepper, fragrant coils of spice so fresh and tender that you suck the whole peppercorns directly from the branch as you work your way through the crab. By the time you finish, you have little rivers of coconut milk and crab juice inching their way down your forearms. The famous chili crabs of Singapore seem clumsy by comparison, the delicate taste of the crab stifled beneath a tongue-numbing blanket of capsaicin. At Kimly’s, it’s all briny ocean sweetness.

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