In Bangladesh, paan is consumed daily by mostly the elderly population -- however with time, the tradition carried on. At present, even the younger side of the population can be seen chewing on paan after a hearty meal or as a food experiment. The journey of betel leaf over the years is still not lost and there is a simple cause behind it -- innovation. Innovation is not only taking place in the global market of demand and supply but can also be noticed in the minor, wordly attributes and culture we uphold. Over the years, the makers of paan, mostly known as ‘paanwala’, have been trying out different ingredients such as -- flavours, spices, sliced bobas and jelly, in order to bring a new change in the old betel leaf. As we revolutionize, our bodies change, which includes our taste buds. This is the main reason behind the younger generation munching on paan as the paan comes with various flavours.
The base tradition of paan in Bangladesh is mostly presented as an act of respect, gratitude, welcoming and bonding. In weddings mostly, paan is seen as a post dinner delicacy. It is almost mandatory as it is seen to give off an aura of class, culture and aristocracy. Amongst the new flavour creation of paan, the ones which have won the hearts of both the young and old millenials are:
Banarasi gulab paan
This betel leaf is presented unfolded, and in the middle there is a colourful and beautiful aroma of the mixed ingredients; which include fruit syrups, preserved and flavoured rose petals. This is a very highly demanded paan by the sweet lovers of the country due to the concept of a red rose.
It’s chocolate, you already love it. But with betel leaf? Yes. It’s an eccentric idea but that's how the greatest creations are formed. This paan has grated chocolate, cherry mixture, fennel seeds, elaichi dana and other exotic flavours. The young generation prefers this paan a lot due to the chocolate induced flavour amongst the minty leaf.
Gujiya usually consists of sweetened khoya (mawa) and semolina (suji). The maker forms a tantalizing shape of the gujiya in the paan. The taste of it is sweet and fruity. Usually, the maker rubs gulkand on it which leaves a refreshing aftertaste in the mouth. This paan is enjoyed in every age group as in serves an exclusive blend of cardamom and fennel seeds.
The betel leaf is evergreen. The availability of betel leaf in Bangladesh is very convenient as the basic betel leaf with areca nut is literally available on every street alley. The cost of betel leaf overall varies from Tk10 to Tk300 approximately. The grand paan flavours are comparatively rare to find. Star Kabab, Dhanmondi Road 2, Old town, Mohammadpur Bihari camp, Rupayan Golden Age in Gulshan are the common zones if you are up for a crazy paan extravaganza.