How To Solomon Islands

Betel nut, betel nut, betel nut.

August 19, 2017

The betel nut is a small nut that is chewed for its euphoric drug-like experiences. Every corner in the Solomon Islands seems to have a betel nut stand. At only 1-3 SBD for a hit, everyone can afford to get in on it. Based on the amount of red spit covering the streets, buildings, and even cars, and the frequency of taxi drivers hanging out the side of their moving vehicle to spit all over the road, it appears everybody here does get in on it.

Why chew it? “Bikos hem feel good.” That and chewing betel nut is a social pastime – a way to get together, stori, and get a quick and cheap high. Some people will chew every day, others can chew ten a day. For people that don’t have a toothbrush or toothpaste, chewing the nut husk can work in lieu of a toothbrush and toothpaste, and can also help with bad breath.

“Betel nut is like u go with frens fo coffee.” Unfortunately, betel nut causes mouth cancers, red or orange stainage to gums and teeth, and a whole host of other maladies. The “lime” also doesn’t help these symptoms which, in the Sollies, is made by grinding coral or limestone to a fine powder.

So naturally, when Dan’s fren stopped on the side of the road for a betel nut sesh Nid had to try it.

How to get that betel nut smile


1 betel nut stand

1 betel nut

1 leaf (a more accurate description would be a plant stalk)

1 packet of lime (ground up coral or limestone)

1-3 SBD


1. Find a nut that’s not too ‘strong’ and use your teeth to bite the top and stem off. Open up the husk to reveal the nut inside.

2. Chew on the nut for a bit and push it to the side of your mouth.

3. Dip the leaf into the lime and bite that section off to add to the rest of the nut mush in your mouth. Chew. Keep it all to the one side of the mouth, you don’t want it going all over your tongue. Do not swallow.

4. You should feel your mouth start to salivate along with hints of pepper. Add more lime for more high. Spit when there is too much saliva building up. Chew, and spit. Chew, and spit. The more lime you add, the redder your smile will be.

5. Expect a high that is comparable to when you get up too fast and get a head rush. This should last a few minutes but if you are disappointed, add more lime.

6. Nice. Rock that glassy eyed stare and betel nut smile.

7. Spit and discard all betel nut mush. Aiming it at something, like a wall or a car, will get you bonus points. Don’t forget to pay the seven-year-old gele that was manning the stand.

8. Nobody will want to kiss you after a betel nut sesh so make sure you use the husk to clean your teeth afterward to return your mouth to a kissable state.

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Dan and Nid
Honiara, Solomon Islands

Kia ora. We are Dan and Nid. We've just moved from the Solomon Islands and are exploring New Caledonia for the next three years.


We haven’t sent an update in a while… but we will soon.


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