Betel nuts, often described as Taiwan’s chewing gum is a legal, common activity between taxi, truck drivers and many others in Taiwan.
‘Betel Nut Girls’ are scantily clad young women who sit in roadside stalls offering them for drivers who need a fix on the move. It is supposed to create a mild stimulating effect, suppress hunger and relieve stress. The nut is wrapped in a leaf which is also smeared with lime plaster or tobacco. The seriously corrosive nature of lime plaster also gives the user mouth cancer.
It is chewed and the juice is spat out accordingly which creates big red splashes on the pavement, a common sight in local parts, the mastication causes the teeth and gums to go dark red colour which is very frightening because it looks as if you are talking to a vampire! Many people in Taiwan don’t agree with the betel nut culture because they think it gives Taiwan a bad name.