Sunday, January 6, 2013

Areca Nut in Changsha: networking and socialism tool

Betel Nut or Areca nut is the seed of the Areca palm which grows in much of the tropical Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa.
This great Wikipedia article explains a lot about it

The Betel Nut as we find it in Changsha and Southern China is in its dried form.

Chewing Areca Nut is an important cultural tradition. 
Even though a lot of Chinese culture disappeared during the turmoil of the cultural revolution, and is continiously deminishing year by year, I believe that culture exists mainly in Chinese language, Chinese food, festivals and beliefs.
Chinese people have been chewing Areca Nut for thousands of years.

This is a major networking and socialism tool.
Networking in China requires you to give token presents and share with those in your company. It is important to offer cigarettes and Areca Nuts, or to buy some bottles of water. In China it is important to be generous. Sharing and giving is a way to build your image and reputation.
As a rule, only men offer cigarettes or Areca Nuts; women are viewed to not smoke or chew Areca Nut in Chinese society. I believe that it is also a sign of virility to offer cigarettes or nuts.

You should be attentive as to when to chew or offer Areca nuts.
Often, you will first have lunch or dinner with several people. You will drink together and share the food. Then, after the meal, you will offer cigarettes and Areca Nuts around the table.
The Areca Nut acts to wake you up after eating and drinking too much.

You should peel the nut

There are different tastes and different syrup are prepared.

It should then be dried.

It is now very rare to find home made Areca Nut. In most places you find packaged Areca Nut.
I advise not to start eating Areca Nuts: even though it is used in Chinese medecine and to cure some sicknesses, it is very addictive. It has a negative effect on health and increases the risk of cancer. It also darkens your teeth!

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