Paan Talk

Thursday, December 8

Location: Chandigarh, Sector 17, walk two block back from Gymcanna's Pub towards the Taj Hotel and it's right beside the road.
Rating: *****/5

For those who have not been to India or even if you have been if you didn't party with locals you probably never had the delicate treat that is paan. I have not tried much of it but thanks to my fiends Aman I am now a recognized customer if not a regular at the best paan shop in Chandigarh. There are a number of types of paan but the basic idea is a bunch of stuff wrapped in a betelnut leaf that you suck and chew on. I'm a fan of the sweet paan because it doesn't have tobacco in it.

This particular paan stand is the only light you'll see as you head towards the Taj Hotel at night. A small open window with dirty glass jars filled with who knows what and a friendly guy that mixes it all up before your eyes. First the betelnut leaf is put down and some kind of sweet liquid rubbed on it. Then what I think are rose petals, coconut, mint and who knows what else is put in before wrapping it all up. The first one I had was the regular size. I struggled to get it into my cheek to suck on so I've now moved to the smaller paan. When you initially get it into your cheek the sweetness releases first followed by mind and a slightly nutty flavor. The paan usually lasts about 10 min depending on how much you chew and suck on it. Then comes the struggle to get it out of your mouth and clean out everything from in between your teeth. While it's a messy treat it always leaves my mouth fresh and tasty and there's always at least one or two green things stuck in my teeth (hot I know).

The newest addition to the paan family is the mint cigarette. Now I don't smoke, seriously I cough like crazy when I try to be cool and smoke but he gave me one for free so how could I refuse. I picked a Marlboro because I'm a classy guy. First the cigarette was coated with some brown jelly (I don't want to know what it is) and then rolled in what looked like dried mint. I was skeptical but when I tried it I was sold. Like breathing in vics vapor rub followed by the usually cigarette buzz. If only my lungs didn't feel like I stuck my mouth on an exhaust pipe the next morning I might actually get to like them. In any case it's a nice treat from time to time and yeah, I can quit whenever I want.
nicholas, 2:48 AM


I think this is what I saw on Pilot Guides. The guy said it turns your teeth red. Is that the same stuff you tried? I remember him mentioning betelnut. The guy spit it out. Couldn't take it.
Anonymous kent's mom, at 6:24 PM  
Ya, that's the same stuff.

I always thought it was like eating 15 different types of toothpaste and a hint of laundry detergent. The only difference between you and me, Nick, is that I chewed and swallowed that thing.

It was one of the grosser things i've had here, but apparently it's an acquired taste.
Blogger kent, at 9:32 PM  
The red one is the tobacco one which I don't like. The sweet one is good though.

I guess I'm getting local since I can handly paan. I'll take you to my place in 17 Kent and trust me you'll like it.
Blogger nicholas, at 4:02 AM  
We almost got there...what happened?
Blogger kent, at 4:12 AM  
Hey bud there's a new one that i want you to try. It's a Flambée Pan!
Blogger 30.45 N,76.48 E, at 4:21 AM  
I know we were on our way in a random van and somehow ended up at a bar? These things happen. Next time we'll make it evern if we have to ride our bikes from 36-C we will get Paan!
Blogger nicholas, at 4:44 AM  

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