BETEL NUT BEAUTIES

 
 

Betel Nut Beauties

Betel Nut Beauties is a photo series documenting the compelling phenomenon of roadside betel nut stands across Taiwan. A fixture on the streets of urban and sub-urban Taiwan, these brightly lit, often ramshackle huts sell a mild stimulant made from the nut of the areca palm and wrapped in betel leaves. Known across South Asia as paan, it is generally translated to ‘betel nut’ in English. Staffed almost exclusively by young women, the stands cater to

long-haul truck drivers and, like taxi dancers or cigarette girls in casinos, the betel nut girls are encouraged to dress in skimpy clothes to lure in male customers. Snapped while waiting for their next sale, Biernat’s compassionate photographs capture the isolation and tedium of these sell-ers who themselves are on display, a daily existence bounded by walls of glass.

 

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