Betel leaves

The ‘bloody smile’ of this rice merchant in Kalaw market is the result of a dangerous addicting habit which is part of the life of the majority of Burmese people (both man and women): chewing Betel leaves. Supposed to give you a buzz, this Indian tradition of chewing Areca nuts mixed with spices (often tobacco) wrapped in a Betel leave and kept together by slacked lime leads to teeth damage and mouth cancer.

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