Areca, an oriental chewing gum
In some provinces of China (Hunan, Yunnan, and Taiwan,) people have the custom of chewing areca as a kind of natural gum.
Arecas, fruitage of areca trees that vastly grew in tropical parts of China (Hainan, Yunnan and Taiwan), are always used as a simple element of Chinese traditional medicine. As the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia says, it is able to cure the allergy of humidity and eliminate toxins inside body.
Since the period of Ming, some people lived north to the Qin Mountain began to chew arecas. They put arecas freshly into mouth and chewed them with out any sauces. Doing this can make them feel a bit high and excited because arecas are supposed to contain some kind of alkaloid such as caffeine in coffee. In modern times, Hunanese ate prepared arecas. Those fruitages were soused in spirit and then baked without visual fire. When you wanna eat them, some specially made sauce would be added. The sauce was made with lime caramel and a bit of unknown stuff.
Chewing arecas is considered to be a macho behavior just like smoking. Girls are sometimes not allowed to do that. I think it is because the manner of chewing looked rude. When first chewing arecas, the beginner will get his throat uncomfortable and heart beating quickly. After 2 or 3 times, he’ll get used to such kind of feeling.
As the development of areca industrial, people are now able to enjoy many flavors of arecas: baked, unbaked, fresh, mid light etc. There are some famous brand of packed arecas like ‘Glory lord’(皇爷槟榔), Youwen(友文槟榔) and ‘Fat Buddy’(胖哥槟榔).
I like chewing arecas very much, almost two packages everyday.