Taiwan’s betel nut beauties (檳榔西施)

By | May 4, 2007

Here’s something for you to chew on before I upload more photos from my recent Taipei trip. The sight of scantily-clad girls selling betel nuts from kiosks decorated with bright neon lights is a uniquely Taiwanese phenomenon. Named after the legendary beauty Xi Shi (西施) from the Spring and Autumn Period (春秋時代) of ancient China, these girls drew increased media scrutiny as competition for customers’ attention led them to don more revealing clothing. In recent years, regulators clamped down on such activities to ensure the return of modesty.

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