I’m curious about how much you all know about betel nut. Anyone ever tried it? What is your opinion on the habit, regular or ocassional, of chewing betel nut?

First thing I put in my mouth here in Taiwan. Yuk!!

When I lived in Jiayi back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, betelnut was used as a social lubricant, so I had many chances to partake. The little ones aren’t bad, but I never developed a taste for the bigger leaf-wrapped ones. Those are just too bitter. Sometimes, when I’m drinking Taipi outside at some beerhouse, and the weather is a little cool, a betelnut is exactly the right thing. But it’s a disgusting habit in general, and does nasty things to the mouths of long-term users. And women will not kiss you if you have even a hint of it on your breath. :wink:

If it wasn’t such a socially unacceptable habit with big wads of thick red spit. I would be a constant chewer as it is. I keep myself down to once a month. I prefer the one that is red versus the white stuff and you have to becareful who you buy it from. It can give you little splinters in your gums if it is bad. I always allow a betetnut conneuseur(sp?) help me pick out the shop.

It can be really mind numbing if you get the good stuff. You could easily do a repetetive action over and over and it wouldn’t bother you. It also gives a very mellow happy devil-may-care feeling. Be careful, as you’re normally driving like me after chewing the “good stuff” and it can be hair-raising keeping copntrol of your scooter’car, not that you care though at the time.

I find Americans and Australians like it along with some English fellows. South Africans and Canadians tend to be repulsed by it. Maoman is correct that it is the perfect thing for a cool day, especially goes well with beer and a smoke. I prefer to chew betelnut, drink a beer and smoke a cigarette at the same time. The feeling is wonderful and I quite enjoy the biannual times I actually get to do it.


By asking about your experience, I wasn’t implying that I don’t have any. I’m sort of suprised, so far, to find that others also enjoy the ocassional betel nut experience.

Unlike Maoman and Okami, I enjoy leaf-wrapped betel nut, because you don’t have to spit it, and the high is a bit stronger than the red stuff. I also like to keep my teeth stain-free.

I probably eat betel nut once every two months, usually when I’m out with my friend who is a Ph.D’d professor of art history. How’s that for a stereotype buster?

I agree with Okami in that there are few more relaxing states than enjoying the trifecta of a cold beer, a good cigarette or cigar, and a nice betel nut.

I’m only good for one or two kernels before my mouth starts to hurt, so I guess I’m a lightweight.

Has anyone had the experience of buying a bag that contains a daodiaozi, the “King of the Betel Nuts?” According to local lore, a daodiaozi appears in only one out of 100 bags, and is something like 10 times as strong as a regular nut. The one I ate knocked me on my ass, sweating, for a half hour, right in front of Roxy 99.

I used to chew it constantly, but stopped when I realized that my spit had corroded my saxophone almost all the way through. :shock:

Many years ago…

I only tried betel once, in Myanmar, and I kindof liked the buzz and might have done it again except that, after just one time, I noticed my teeth had a reddish tint that couldn’t easily be removed by vigorous tooth brushing. After the above comments, though, I might try it again.

Concerning trying local drugs, however, I had an amusing experience once in Vietnam. In Hanoi I noticed that all the men smoked from bamboo water pipes that looked just like bongs I had smoked marijuana from back home. Whether in the fields or shops, they always had their bamboo bongs by their sides, and I was impressed that pot-smoking was such an accepted habit in Vietnam. So, when I saw a store selling an assortment of such pipes, adorned with carvings of dragons and buffalos, I thought I should buy one. Before making my purchase, however, I told the guy I’d like to give it a try first, so he pulled out a baggie and packed a good bowl for me.

Being an old pro, and having had no ganja since Thailand, a few weeks back, I lit the bowl and drew mightily, filling my lungs with a massive cloud of smoke as the proprietor and his astonished companions watched. Moments later, I exploded in a fit of coughing and hacking, my mouth watered, red eyes bulged in my head, and I staggered dizzy, bewildered, frightened and nauseous. Reeling, I feared I would pass out, and they pushed a stool under my butt as I collapsed. Recalling the passage I read in Lonely Planet about locals who will hand you a drugged cigarrette and rob you when you’re out, I was certain the curtain was about to fall and I would awaken naked in some alley.

Though my hacking wouldn’t stop, my eyes filled with tears, I could hardly breath and was on the verge of passing out, I refused to be taken in by these conniving schemers, so I lurched from the stool and staggered back to my hotel, eliciting bewildered stares from those that I passed. Once back in the safety of my hotel, I rinsed my mouth and crashed out on my bed, nauseous for over an hour.

Only later did I realize that to my disappointment, it wasn’t marijuana they were smoking at all, but tobacco. Having obtained the water pipe and seen what an effect the vile weed (tobacco) can have, however, I indulged a few more times thereafter, though never with quite the passion of my first hit. That was the last time I’ve touched the stuff.

so, its just like an amphetamine then? or am i wrong…ive been wanting to try it recently but i cant handle that kind of stuff, ephedra , amphetamines…too much mid nineties uk clubbing…it gives me anxiety attacks

Its a very mild stimulant that raises the heartrate a bit, causes mild sweating and gives a faint buzz, but its not like speed or anything.

It stains your teeth, can sometimes hurt your gums and causes oral and throat cancer.

I chew it once a month or so, when offered by a local friend or new acquiantance, or when I do research on the
“Betel Nut Betties” around here.

Not bad. A true drug.

I heard that it isn’t the nut that does the damage or gives you the high and the warmth in winter, BUt the white or red sauce they lace the things with! RIGHT? The nut itself is harmless as it the leaf. The real deal is that chemical sauce they lay on… that is what kills people and should be outlawed.

Yeh, good taste, especially with beer. If only it wasn’t harmful…

I had my first taste just over month ago. I didn’t really think much of it. Kind of a strange taste. Unfortunately it was at about 3am on a work night, we were out talking to beetle nut girls, and it kept me awake for the rest of the night.

We actually videotaped the whole experience, not sure why,
and put it on the web.

I doubt I’ll partake again.

the chemical is mostly composed of lime that activates the active ingredient. think the rest of the red stuff is flavoring, don’t know if any other active ingredients are added. like both kinds, especially when driving and listening to nakashi music, brings back memories :slight_smile:

There’s a big difference between just a few nuts and really going on a binge.

I’d tried binglang a few times, and not really thought much of it (a little bit nauseating by the third or so). Then my bro came over and on his first weekend night we were both two tired to go out, so settled for a few beers on my balcony. This was 8PM, but we were pretty sleepy, so we thought we could use a few stimulants to keep us going to til midnight or so and then get an early night. So we got a box of binglung a couple of man nius and a bottle of whisbey. We ended up chaining the nuts and knocking back the whisbey along with the beer (and some old tea brandy that had been lying aorund a couple of years when the beer ran out and we weren’t able to go on another resupply mission). When you’re getting well into the double digits on the nut, it’s quite a buzz. Add a couple of bottles of whisbey to this and plenty of beers and you’re really feeling good. The thing that is so great about it at the time, and so terrible the next morning is that the binglang and whisbey give you the energy to keep drinking and drinking well past the time you would have crashe. Iswear I was so tired that without the stimulants I would have crashed at 12. As it happened it was the heat of the rising summer sun that finally drove us inside and to sleep at 8 in the morning.

At the time I crashed, I was thinking ‘this is fantastic, I have to try it again’ but the next day (or two) put me well of that idea. Never again, but it’s an experience everyone should try once (and only once).


The first time I ever tried one, it reminded me of the first time I ever smoked a cigarette, except slightly more pleasant. There was a definite psychoactive effect, a “buzz”, if you will. I felt a little bit separated from my body and robotic, like marijuana but without the sillies.
The taste of binglangs is bitter and alkaline, almost soapy or chalky. Quite unlike marijuana, they make my mouth water too much, and cause parts of my mouth to get swollen, both of which reminds me of a head cold.

I chewed binglangs for a couple weeks when I first came to Taiwan, then abruptly quit when I got a new girlfriend who clued me in to the fact that they were very low-class. Not that I would’ve continued for much longer – the caustic juice almost swelled my throat closed once. Also, they were inconvenient, because I had to remember to spit every couple minutes, and thus couldn’t go indoors. Accidentally swallow a mouthful of juice, and you’re in for a nasty bout of heartburn.

Toward the end, binglangs truly began to make me feel nauseous, very much like my first couple cigarettes. They say binglangs are an upper and a stimulant, but they had no such effect on me. I really think it’s all about the trashy girls who sell them.

BTW, since I live in the Burmese quarter of Zhonghe, I also have another variety of binglang available. This is the kind they chew in S and SE Asia – the slices of nut wrapped with a pinch of tobacco, a caradmom pod, and some limewater in a leaf. They taste like spicy dishwater, dissolve quickly, and have no noticeable effect on my mind or body.

I feel that chewing betel nuts are disgusting and would probably prefer to eat my dog’s poop.

I’m quite fond of binlang/betelnut. I chew about once a month, the red one and I swallow the saliva after I spit out the first mouthful. It doesn’t really bother me, because I can eat almost anything. About once every 6 months I go for the trifecta, betelnut, beer and a cigarettes. My body can only handle that much abuse twice a year.

I like chewing for long rides in the countryside. I find it very relaxing and carefree. Most gfs I have had, have forbidden me from chewing. I would be a more frequent chewer if it wasn’t such a socially disgusting habit. I would love to see the look on my kindy’s parents faces when they realized, that yes, Teacher is really chewing binlang in school.

The only downer though is it gives me diarhea the next day.


I’ve never tasted poop, but I’m fairly certain betel nut tastes better than poop.

I enjoy the ocassional kernel from time to time. I don’t chew more than one or two in one sitting. I prefer the wrapped version, and always enjoy the buying process. I’ll speak English first, then switch to Mandarin and Taiwanese to bring the poor girl back to life. My Taiwanese friends are always sitting in the car sniggering at the sight of a waiguoren buying betel nut.

If you try betel nut, be aware that some nuts are stronger than others. I once had one that knocked me on my 6’2", 210 pound ass for an hour. Very much like an extremely powerful joint, or so I’ve heard 8-).

According to Taiwanese social standard, chewing betelnut is a habbit which shows that you’re from a lower class. Only thoses who don’t really have education and proper manner would chew betelnut. Furthermore, it’s something gets you sick and brings you cancer. I would never ever chew betelnut although I do smoke sometimes and drink coffee… I care about my image and “face”… :blush:

This wouldn’t be the same “social standard” that says things like wearing pointy shoes, bleaching your skin white and holding very small dogs when shopping show that you’re from a higher class and have education and proper manners, would it? :unamused: