Bike Hugger Betel Nut


by Byron on Oct 14, 2007 at 8:30 AM

Most of the ride, Jason was hanging out behind us with Matt from Dahon until we had some betel nut. Then he was all sprinting from stop lights, taking pulls, dropping us, mister energized on the bike – watch the video. Then I climbed a hill like never before on a folding bike, while I heard Once in a Lifetime in my head. I expect my legs to really hurt tomorrow.


Betel nut is a chewable stimulant sold in stands, similar to cocoa leaf, and it’s dispensed by girls in lingerie. A betel nut sports drink would make Red Bull seem like kool-aid. It also turns your mouth red, sort of like the spice in Dune, and is part of the Taipei experience.

If we get tired blogging at the IDF, I know where that stand is.

More Blogging Taipei photos in our photostream … and Matt’s photo gallery. Podcasts tomorrow.

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Spice must flow!

you’ll be riding giant worms and speaking the word of power tomorrow.

the quisat hadaract!

or however you spell it…

where do i get these “beetle” nuts?

The beetle juice as we called it is available in stands all over the city (not the business district, but urban Taipei). The stands are lit with a green neon nut and a skinny, scantily-clad nut girl standing in the window.

The nut rush is near instantaneous—it tastes terrible and gives you cotton mouth and it’s not exactly [good for you](

Dude, betel nut not only turns your mouth red, it rots your teeth. Not sure if that is the betel nut iteself or the lime you have to take with it to cut the acidity.

You’ve been warned…

We kind of figured that out fast . . .also see this warning from the [Department of Health](

ah Taiwan chewing gum -you really are getting a taste of the “ROC” now!

Dudes, betel nut is more like nicotine or even meth than caffeine, and it’s highly addictive stuff. Buying this stuff from skanky whores and consuming it is not exactly something to brag about, IMO. When somebody mentions “betel nut” to me, I associate it with stoned unemployed old men with cancerous mouth sores in the nastiest alleyways you can think of in southeast Asia.

Have you bought any watches yet from the street? You know, from the guy who invested his life savings into it but now he has to sell them all at a steep loss just so he can feed his children tonight?


When in Rome . . . and maybe since you’re last visit you didn’t know how it was on every corner, even in brightly-lit shopping districts. I understand farther away from downtown more services are available in the Betel nut stands, but we don’t know much more than that.

Our hosts thoroughly enjoyed the Betel nut stories and we connected with them by doing some culturally relevant to them. Like say, having a pint of the black at Elyssian.

As to selling all your possessions, we did tour the Night Market and I was not down at all, in the least, with the snake section. Small dogs are in here and some of them are dyed various colors.

Mmmm, snakes.

Glad you’re having fun, anyway. ENjoy the show.