the nut

This evening one of my roommates (now about a week ago, sorry!), Tashi, brought back a small package from his friend. Inside were layers of green leaves covered in white lime, and a small pile of white and red stone-like rocks. I’ve seen beetle nut before, but this was my first opportunity to try the stuff. My roommate explained to me that chewing beetle nut is an old, even ancient, Bhutanese custom. And it feels that way too, because no matter where you are, there is always someone chewing it—as is evident by the pungent smell and harsh red color it leaves behind. Right before I started chewing,Tashi explained how the Bhutanese see beetle nut as the human body: the leaf is the skin, the lime is the fat, and the beetle nut is the bone. When all are chewed, the red residue resembles blood. With this in mind I tried the beetle nut…

Three words to conclude the experience: bitter, harsh, and unbelievable messy. Now about a week later, I’ve had beetlenut a few more times and its not as bitter or messy. The flavor isn’t too bad and it gives a little high. There are variation of beetle nut (or doma), where the nut is flavored. Some are sold in little snack baggies and actually taste like peppermint gum or mints, while others are sold in side shops with the leaf and lime, but where the nut is much sweeter. Am I becoming an addict? Or maybe I’m just becoming more Bhutanese (=

Maybe I’ll bring some back for you to try?

One thought on “the nut

  1. Tri says:

    Cool! Vietnamese eat those too. Though we don’t have that interesting explanation.

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