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May 12, 2002 01:01 AM

What the heck is Red Lime Paste???

  • j

My buddy picked up a small container or "Red Lime Paste" (no, not Red Curry Paste) from Chinatown the other day and nobody knows what to do with it.
It is only about a three ounce bag that looks and smells like red silly putty. I had the aweful misforutunee of being the first person to try it, and have never tasted anything quite so sickening. Imagine nail polish remover, an unripe persimmon, industrial strength bleach and hair spray times ten!
What could this be used for?
Does anyone know what to do with this potent oditiy?

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  1. That paste is the mineral lime, not the fruit. It's rolled into betel leaves and chewed in Thailand (India, also), usually with tobacco and areca nut. Red lime paste has cumin or chili added. I guess you buy it if you "roll your own," but most people who chew go to a favored purveyor. The lime paste is made from burning cockleshells at high heat, then using the ashes.

    (Chewing betel leaves is said to be addictive, it necessitates spitting, and it stains your teeth, so I'm not advocating that anyone pick it up, though I tried to buy some in an off-license in London years ago and the man wouldn't sell it to me, whether cause of girlness or Americanness I know not.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: lucia

      The lime activates the betel nuts psychoactive chemicals catalytically similar to how lime powder is added in very small amounts when chewing coca leaves to cause a catalytic reaction to increase the strength of the crude cocaine and other chemicals in the juice.

      It is much easier to go into almost any Indian grocery / deli and get some Paan (finely chopped Betel nuts, rose water, seeds and spices, sometimes including tobacco, wrapped in a betel leaf (not the same type of betel but a member of the pepper family) and chewed to get a caffeine buzz. The betel nut plus lime reacts and causes that intense amount of brilliant red saliva that you see spit on the sidwalks in neighborhoods which have betel chewers. It turns your teeth red at first, then almost black when used a lot, as it rots out your teeth and gums and causes mouth cancer. Paan is actually quite good on a rare occasion. "Sweet" paan is with seeds, spices, nuts, etc. and can settle your stomach after overeating. "Strong" paan has tobacco and other stuff, besides the spices, and is mighty powerful physically and mentally.

      By the way Betel nut is an illegal and addictive psychoactive drug in the US although it is readily available. (Actually consists of four active chemicals) It is being investigated for treatment for Alzheimer's and Schizophrenia among other diseases.