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Betel Nut Essay

2021 words - 9 pages

Eating Betel Nut (ăn trầu)

Eating Betel Nut (ăn trầu)

When I was about sixteen, in high school in Australia, my teacher gave me a book to read called, “The Surprising Asians”. And it was a book about a young Australian woman, who traveled around Southeast Asia, and had a wonderful time and met people from Cambodia and Laos, Thailand and Vietnam and learned about their culture and tried the food that they ate, that she had never eaten before. And when I read this book, I think it really captured my imagination. And it made me really want to travel and see different ways of life, and so as soon as I was able, I traveled myself. I traveled to Europe and I traveled around Australia and in ...view middle of the document...

I’d never heard of betel nut before; I’ve never seen it in the West. I’m sure you can’t find it anywhere in the United States or Australia or Europe, and I always thought it was such an interesting thing to eat this nut that made your mouth red and gave you a feeling of, that stimulated you a little bit like maybe coffee or another stimulant. So I really always wanted to see what this was and to try it.

Nhưng hồi mười sáu tuổi, khi đọc cuốn sách này, cuốn sách "Kinh ngạc về người Châu Á", có một điều đọng lại trong bộ nhớ của tôi là sự mô tả về tục ăn trầu. Trước đó, tôi chưa bao giờ nghe nói về ăn trầu, tôi chưa bao giờ nhìn thấy nó ở phương Tây. Tôi chắc chắn rằng bạn không thể tìm thấy nó ở bất cứ nơi nào tại Hoa Kỳ, Úc hay châu Âu, và tôi luôn luôn nghĩ rằng nó thật thú vị khi ăn hạt mà làm cho đỏ miệng và mang lại cho bạn một cảm giác, nó hơi kích thích bạn một chút, có lẽ giống như cà phê hay các chất kích thích gì đấy. Vì vậy, tôi luôn thực sự muốn thấy đó là cái gì đã xảy ra và muốn dùng thử nó.

So when I came to Vietnam, I was traveling in the north, and I went to some markets in Bac Ha, near Sa Pa, and I saw an old woman and her mouth was very red with betel nut juice. And I pointed to her mouth and I tried to explain that I wanted to eat some betel nut, too. But because I don’t speak Vietnamese and she didn’t speak English, she didn’t understand me. But she took me down the street to a little shop and I thought she was going to show me betel nut but instead she showed me lipstick because she must have thought I wanted red lips! She didn’t know I wanted betel nut. She probably thought it would be very strange for a Westerner to want to chew betel nut. So I couldn’t find betel nut and I didn’t know what to look for. If I went to the markets, I didn’t recognize betel nut because I didn’t know what it looked like.

Vì vậy, khi tôi đến Việt Nam, tôi đã đi du lịch ở phía Bắc, và tôi đã đi đến một số chợ ở Bắc Hà, gần Sa Pa, tôi thấy một bà già, miệng rất đỏ với nước cốt trầu. Tôi chỉ vào miệng bà ấy và cố gắng giải thích rằng mình cũng muốn ăn trầu. Nhưng bởi vì tôi không nói được tiếng Việt và bà ấy lại không nói được tiếng Anh nên bà ấy không hiểu tôi. Nhưng bà ấy đã chỉ tôi xuống đường phố đến một cửa hàng nhỏ và tôi nghĩ rằng bà ấy sẽ hướng dẫn cho tôi ăn trầu nhưng thay vào đó bà chỉ cho tôi son môi bởi vì bà ấy nghĩ rằng tôi muốn có đôi môi đỏ! Bà ấy không biết tôi muốn ăn trầu. Có thể bà ấy nghĩ rằng sẽ rất là lạ với một người phương Tây như tôi mà muốn nhai trầu. Vì vậy, tôi không thể tìm thấy trầu và tôi không cũng biết làm thế nào để tìm được chúng. Nếu tôi có đi đến các chợ, tôi cũng không thể nhận ra trầu vì tôi không biết nó trông như thế nào.

So I asked a Vietnamese teacher here how I could get some betel nut and try it. And she very kindly got the nut and the leaves and the lime and prepared it for me so I could try it. And I was expecting it to...

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