There are two types of people in this world. Those who love paan and swear by it, and those who just can’t handle it. This post is directed at both of these varieties. The good ol’ paan is no more just ‘saada’ and demands your attention.
For the uninitiated, once paan used to be just a simple preparation of a fresh betel leaf stuffed with supari (areca nut) or sometimes with gulkand, sugar-coated fennel seeds and other whole spices. But now paan has gotten trendy.
Despite living in a family where paan was a must-have post lunch and dinner, I never got into the habit of eating one. Even during college when everybody raved about chocolate paan, strawberry paan, mango paan and frozen paan, I was never quite taken with it. That’s till I met the wonder that is flaming paan in Connaught Place. What is it? Fire paan is a normal meetha gulkand paan with peppermint brass which is ‘lit’ right before one puts it inside the mouth.
And last year when I was at Tourist Janpath with my cousins, I was introduced to Chocolate Paan Shots. No kidding, they have a paan shot on their menu which costs for Rs 275. At first, I was little apprehensive because why would anybody drink something that is customarily made to chew? But frankly, I see the hype now.
The next thing I tried was the Paan Kulfi, followed by Paan Gelato at Khaaja Chowk. This made me curious about other things made using paan. It was at Cafe Wanderlust in Gurgaon where I tried Paan Milkshake. It was a simply blended milk flavoured with paan syrup. And then I visited a friend’s home and had Paan Mojito. It was a meetha paan in white rum and it was delicious.
Paan Gulkand Macaron at Mumbai’s La Folie Patisserie is yet another creation that can leave one gaping. You might relate it more to a macaron and less to a paan, but it is worth a try. SpiceKlub in Lower Parel has Paan Mousse which comes with a paan leaf wrapped around mousse and frozen with liquid nitrogen.
As it happens, Glocal Restopub in Bengaluru has Paan cheesecake on the menu and Paan Biryani is served at Sattvam. Well, we still love saada paan or meetha paan but these fusions are definitely exciting.