Philippine cuisine has been influenced by Chinese, Malay, Spanish, Mexican, American, and Indian cooking. The staple of Filipino food is rice, usually served with pig, seafood, chicken, and/or native fruits, and the ever-present dipping sauces.
Betel palms are recognized by their slim, gray trunk and the hanging tufts of nuts near the top. Frequent chewers have vivid red lips and black teeth. The fruit contains a fibrous husk and an acorn-shaped seed rich in tannin and red dye. To make a betel nut quid, you split a green nut, sprinkle it with lime, wrap it in a leaf of betel pepper, and place it in your mouth. As you chew, saliva mixes with the quid to generate a red juice that you spit out. While it's an acquired taste, devotees find betel nut refreshing and mildly stimulating.
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This page modified January 2007
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