Monday, April 19, 2010

Areca Nuts | the Chew of Maldives

A slice of Areca nut

Areca nuts
, often erroneously referred as the betel nuts are widely used as a mint after meals and holds a distinct history in Maldives.

According to historians and travelers like François Pyrard de Laval, areca nuts were deeply embedded into the Maldivian culture. The early Maldivians used a girdle on their waist in which they kept a good supply of areca nuts and it was customary that when they meet each other on the road, may it be a friend or stranger to offer his own betel nuts. It was also bestowed as a royal gift and offered to the person who proposes for marriage as a gift of approval.

Such traditions have changed over time but the areca nut continues to dominate the ‘chewing culture’ in the Maldives. It is now offered in almost all cafés, restaurants and shops in Maldives, in different forms with fixings like betel leaf, cloves and lime. Some modern innovations of the areca nut includes the ‘Kill’ a finely ground mixture of areca nuts, betel leaves, cardamon, sugar and cloves. Another form is ‘Supari’ a sweet flavored betel nut chunks in small sachets imported from India.

When consumed in small amounts, betel nuts can have health benefits such as prevention from tooth decay, digestive problems and healing of skin. It also helps remove strong food odors and prevent from bad breathes. Resorts like Alila Villas Hadahaa offers you to experience the areca nut after meals.

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