Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

Betel

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Chewing betelnut (actually a combination of betel leaves and areca nut, Wikipedia tells me) is a major part of the culture in Myanmar. Betel provides a mild stimulant, but also stains the chewer’s teeth red and is a major cause of cancer. This series of pictures from Mandalay shows the areca nuts being sliced and sorted; the betel leaves being arranged in baskets for sale at the market; a street stand selling parcels of nuts and leaves; and a betel smile.

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9 Responses to “Betel”

  1. Dave Nash

    Same in the rural areas where my wife’s family live. Looks disgusting, red teeth and the floor stained red where they spit it out.

    Reply
  2. ianbcross

    Jon, half the population of the city of Leicester are Indian. The Royal Infirmary has a histopathologist who specialises in oral cancers caused by betel nut chewing.

    Have you tried it? It’s very pleasant after a spicy Indian meal as an aid to digestion.

    Reply
  3. Robert Parker Teel

    Wonderful photos, I lived in Hong Kong for a while, but haven’t been anywhere else in Asia yet, this country looks fascinating. Do you know why the people slicing the nuts choose something like a battle axe for what looks like close work?

    Reply

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