Betelnut girls

New York, NY, USA

Betelnut girl

Art installation by Annamarie Ho

New York, NY, USA

In Taiwan, betelnut is sold by scantily-clad girls in glass booths. Artist Annamarie Ho has imported a betelnut girl (or rather an actress playing the part of one) to lower Manhattan. Her installation Betelnut Girls recreates a betelnut booth in a space on Centre St at Broome.

The booth itself is tucked away behind a popular taqueria, and many people probably walked past it without giving it a second glance. The actress told me that 'business' only picked up on the weekend, when a number of Taiwanese tourists saw the booth and did a double-take, surprised to see betelnut on sale in Manhattan. They were destined to be disappointed, however: apparently there was no fresh betelnut available, and the Taiwanese customers complained unanimously that it was too dry.