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Paan – mouth freshner


Today I’m interested to introduce you all with PAAN, which is traditional mouth freshener in India, which is having very beautiful history from the era of kings to recent era, it’s still famous as before. So, let’s have a look to know more about our own yummy paan.

Paan, comes from the word pan in Urdu. According to South and South East Asian tradition pan means which consists of chewing Betel leaf (Piper betle) combined with the areca nut. There are many regional variations.

Paan is chewed as a palate cleanser and a breath freshener. It is also commonly offered to guests and visitors as a sign of hospitality and as “ice breaker” to start conversation.

It also has a symbolic value at ceremonies and cultural events in South and Southeast Asia. Paan makers may use mukhwas or tobacco as an ingredient in their paan fillings.

In India many people are habituate to eat paan daily after their dinner. Many paan are famous like banarasi paan, mumbaiya paan etc.  PAAN is a traditional mouth fresher which was used by kings and queens in ancient era, generally it’s a symbol for shayar in India. Now a days in modern marriage one can see counter of pan also to serve their guests, so, it’s new theme in modern society to eat sweet PAAN which is not having tobacco or supari, packed with one stick & cherry.

So, PAAN does not remain as old story, in abroad also shops of Indian are available in few countries in which PAAN is available for their customers. Countries in which paan is used are Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia. Although most types of paan contain areca nuts as a filling, some do not. Other types include what is called sweet paan, where sugar, candied fruit and fennel seeds are used.

Paan is available in many different forms and flavours. The most commonly found include:

•    Tobacco (tambaku paan): Betel leaf filled with powdered tobacco with spices.
•    Betel nut (paan supari, paan masala or sada paan): Betel leaf filled with a mixture consisting of a coarsely ground or chopped betel nuts and other spices.
•    “Sweet” (meetha paan): Betel leaf with neither tobacco nor areca nuts. The filling is made up primarily of coconut, fruit preserves, and various spices. It is also often served with a maraschino cherry.
•    “Trento” (olarno paan): It is said that it tastes like betel but has a minty after taste.

Eaten along with fresh potatoes, it is served in most Indian restaurants.
There are a variety of betel leaves grown in different parts of India and Bangladesh; the method of preparation also differs from region to region. The delicately flavoured paan from Bengal is known as Desi Mahoba. Maghai and Jagannath are the main paans of Benaras. Paan prepared from small and fragile leaves from south India is known as Chigrlayele. The thicker black paan leaves, the ambadi and Kariyele, are more popular and are chewed with tobacco.
The skilled paan maker is known in North India as a paanwala. Many people believe that their paanwala is the best, considering it an art that takes practice and expert touch.

Paan eating was taken to its zenith of cultural refinement in the pre-partition era in North India, mainly Lucknow, where paan eating became an elaborate cultural custom, and was seen as a ritual of the utmost sophistication. The traditional way of paan making, storing and serving is interesting. The leaves are stored wrapped in a moist, red colored cloth called ‘shaal-baaf’, inside a metal casket called ‘PaanDaani’. The PaanDaani has several lidded compartments, each for storing a different filling or spice.

To serve, a leaf is removed from the wrapping cloth, de-veined, and kattha and lime paste is generously applied on its surface. This is topped with tiny pieces of betel nuts, cardamom saffron, (un)/roasted coconut pieces/powder, cloves, tobacco etc, according to the eater’s personal preferences. The leaf is then folded in a special manner into a triangle, called ‘Gilouree’ and is ready to be eaten. On special occasions, the gilouree is wrapped in delicate silver leaf (vark). To serve, a silver pin is inserted to prevent the gilouree from unfolding, and placed inside a domed casket called ‘Khaas-daan’. Alternatively, the gilouree is sometimes held together by a paper or foil folded into a funnel with the gilouree’s pointed end inserted inside it. Voracious paan eaters do not swallow; instead, they chew it, enjoying its flavours, and then spit it into a spittoon.


In India bananas is famous for banarasi sari & PAN also, where one can see variety of PANS. It’s consisting of betel leaf(nagarvel’s leaf), tobacco, coconut, tuti-futi, gulkand, areca nut  & much more, it depends on a person, choice is yours.

One can order PAN according to it’s choice integrands. Price of PAN is depending on shop owner, it can be 10 rupees to 200 also.

PAN is a traditional mouth fresher which was used by kings & queens in ancient era, generally it’s a symbol for shayar in India. Now a days in modern marriage one can see counter of pan also to serve their guests.

So, it’s new theme in modern society to eat sweet PAN which is not having tobacco or supari, packed with one stick & cherry.

So, PAN is not remain as old story, in abroad also shops of Indian are available in few countries in which PAN is available for their customers.

In bollywood there are many famous songs like “khaike pan banaras wala, pan khaye siya hamaro” etc. in Gujarat one can see many PAN shops available by roadside, older shopping places & older areas. People will never leave to eat PAN after their dinner. In gujrat people are meeting their friends at PAN shops, they are spending their time by watching Indian cricket match or chatting for any political issues.

Nothing can beat it in future also, because it is unique one. It’s demand and place will remain in world forever.


Posts by SpeakBindas Editorial Team.

12 thoughts on “Paan – mouth freshner

    1. Ravi Jaiswal says:

      vry nice……may u help me?

  1. neema says:

    thanks to all who spend their precious time to read this article,

    1. Sunil says:

      neema, that was a wonderful article.. I am looking at starting a paan shop, so could you suggest me where I can get the recipes of the best paans? And also any suggestions from you would be great!

  2. Dilip Patel says:

    To glorify this bad habit shows the illness and bad taste of the author THis dirty habit of paan should be baned and get reed of cancer of mouth . People are spitting everywere and anywere,When I caome to India It feels so disgusting that I feel why after so much education people still eat this?
    Anyway it may be goos in older days but now in professional world to have red mouth with dirty looking teeth is not a welcoming feeling

  3. Dilipbhai, agree with you that the habit of Pan is a bad one. But I guess author wanted to represent India As It Is. We can not even deny the fact that people enjoy it very much. Even during weddings, the host provide Pan at the end of lunch or dinner. Of course, having tobacco in it, should not be welcome at all.

  4. geetika arora says:

    @ dilip sir
    “tobacco is injurious to health”
    it is read everywhere bt who all r followin it…infct it is welcomed by people, and nt in d form of paan only.
    nd yup…paan leaves cn b served without tobacco filling also…in fact its a part of Gujarati cuisine.people enjoy havin it…aftr their meal…as its gud fr digestion plus also wrks as a mouth freshener.
    so ill suggest…d readers to consider both d ends of d article posted.

  5. neema says:

    i’m also agreed with dilipbhai & geetika that pan is having two opposite sides, one should not eat pan consist of tobacco, which is not good for health, but one can take it as mouth freshener.

  6. Ch@ndr@ says:

    Naagarwel paan and Sopari in modoration are to digest our food,
    I have to say sorry that tobacco company and our govoverment .
    I also agree with Neemaji, Dilibhai and Geetikaji,,,,


  7. Miya says:

    Hi DilipBhai
    Yes! I too against the people spit everywhere and use tobacco in pan. But if you look into history pan was never introduced to have a tobacco as ingredient in it. so this article will not show illness or bad taste of author, but it is much good habit compare to the folks smoke cigarette (which as became a fashion for men & women) and its pollution is worse than PAAN.
    Please review the history and conditions before commenting anything as bad or good.

    There are few things to be considered as part of cultural activities to eat a paan, Yes i accept few locals will eat and spit everywhere but these poor guys don’t know how to respect and follow the mannerism.

    Moghal and shyaars use to spit into container (Ugaldhan means spittoon box) which will be used in while eating a paan. Our elder still chew sweet pan after dinner and I never seen them spitting all over the way, instead they will site & chew it one place and spitting is not required at all if they don’t use tobacco in it.

  8. Rajiv Ulpe says:

    While the author has done a good job describing what ‘paan’ is and the various types of paan used, we should be aware that both areca nut (also called wrongly as betel nut) and tobacco used in gutkha, zarda can cause cancer (World Health Organization). There are paan shops wherever Indians live abroad, and some streets are pockmarked with paan stains, and look like blood stains. We belive that paan aids in digestion, relaxes our mind, and some think it helps in bowel movements. However, I think all of the above are mere beliefs, and have never been scientifically proven. Paan with or without tobacco can cause cancer. I hope the author had added this message to her article.

  9. Sameer Chourasia says:

    A paan, to us growing up in India was a mouth freshener after a heavy meal. We were told that it helped digestion, and thus had a reason to eat it. Today, when I go back to India, I make sure that I have at least two paans whenever I can – perhaps just to make up for lost opportunities.

    My Elders doing buisness if anyone needed banarasi paan then contact with us 09425354014

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