Five wide varieties of Banarasi Paan to savour on your next visit to the city.
“Ke khaike paan Banaras waala”- this is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Banarasi paan. The Amitabh Bachchan-starrer iconic Bollywood song has successfully emphasised the popularity and the sheer magic of Banarasi paan. After all, who can doubt the potential of food that can unlock a “band akal ka taala”. Banarasi paan is just a type of the OG mouth freshener-paan that has been existing long before the Bollywood number.
The age-old mouth freshener has found its mention in numerous scriptures of Ayurveda. Many Hindu scriptures and epics like the Ramayana have mentions of paan being a symbol of love, heartfelt greetings and prosperity. Even Kama Sutra, which was written back in the 3rd century has mentions of paan being an aphrodisiac offering between partners as a part of foreplay. Needless to say, paan has kept us Indians hooked to its distinct flavour, texture and appearance.
Coming back to Banarasi paan, many argue that the origin of this special variety doesn’t lie in Banaras itself. The fragrant betel leaves are either the Maghai variety of Bihar or Jagannathi of Odisha. However, someone who has tasted and seen the preparation of Banarasi paan would argue that it is the ingredients, the method and the amount of love put into it that makes Banarasi paan the famous delicacy that it is. If you are planning to visit Banaras anytime soon, here are some Banarasi paan varieties you can savour.
1. Sada Paan
Made with some typical paan elements like chuna, kattha, some spices and the fragrant betel leaves, Banarasi sada paan is one of the first things to savour after reaching the city.
2. Meetha Paan
Filled with the goodness of mukhwas, Banarasi meetha paan is a hit among the youth of Banaras. If you are just starting to enjoy the flavour of paan, Banarasi meetha paan is perfect for you to savour.
3. Panchmeva Paan
As the name suggests, the paan has five broad varieties of dry fruits along with some exotic spices. Perfect to serve on special occasions, this paan variety stands up to the hype.
4. Zarda Paan
A delectable combination of spices like cardamom, cloves and mint along with the magic of betel leaves are what make this paan a speciality. Easily available in the lanes of Banaras, this variety of paan is a must-have.
5. Amavat Paan
For someone who is not too familiar with eating paans, a combination of sweet and sour flavours might seem eerie and absurd to them. However, the combination of paan, aam papad and some basic elements like betel nuts and kattha can make someone a fan of this tantalising paan instantly.