You’re probably asking, “What is a betelnut?”. The answer is simple. It’s not a beetle or a nut. It’s a little bit like a small coconut (another nut that isn’t nut-like). I say that because of the fibers that end up in your mouth at the end are like the outer-inside part of a coconut (not where the milk is). Starting to go nutty yet? I’m not gonna do any in depth reporting on this. If you try it, (don’t be a wuss! Try one for crying out loud!) you will find it tastes a little bit like black licorice. Not bad but definitely not very good. It will cause you to salivate uncontrollably and you may even feel al little light-headed and/or warm. Your saliva will turn a bright red in color, and you will want to spit gobs of it out. It’s ok! Do it right on the street. You’ll get used to seeing the spit marks and used up betelnut shreds lying on the street almost wherever you go. After about 5 or ten minutes, your nut will be used up, so just spit the rest of it out.

Check here for more in-depth research on betelnut.

Wikipedia Betelnut

Betelnut Stands

The best thing about the betelnut is how it’s sold. Usually there will be a young, scantily clad girl (or at least young looking from a distance) behind some glass, waiting for the betelnut chewers to come and buy some. She sits there, looking bored as hell, maybe watching TV, or maybe preparing the nuts. Some places have girls outside on the street, occasionally dancing. Some places have old men and woman selling the nuts. Betelnut stands come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some are quite large, with big glass windows and bright neon signs declaring their intent. I saw one called Armani in Nan Kan. I wonder if Giorgio knows about it. Many are small and drab, basically little covered cubicles with windows.

The betelnut stands will also have a variety of beverages, so you can also, conveniently I might add, buy a cool drink on a hot day, right from the comfort of your scooter! They sell beer too on the cheap so feel free to indulge yourself in a Taiwan beer. Remember don’t drink and drive. Ahhh, hell. It’s only one!.

And finally, a special take on what betelnut beauty means

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