Ahh! A Paan after a sumptuous dinner. Nothing like it.
But what if the Paan is on fire? Not very sure, right? Then take a trip to Old Dhaka's Jalil Mia's Paan shop in Nazira Bazaar. There you get this strange Paan that is set on fire before you gulp it down, the whole thing including the fire. It will feel even better than any ordinary Paan.
If you think Paan is a mere betel leaf and betel nut thing mixed with a little bit of lime and catechu then Jalil Mia will prove you wrong.
At his Allahar Dan Jaliler Misty Paan, he adds 20 ingredients to the regular Paan, one after another. He sprinkles honey on a layer of coconut. And then adds jafran, jelly and various syrups to be topped up with a drop of special syrup. And finally he lights it.
As the flame grows he asks his customer to open his mouth wide and take it in one go. You have to immediately shut your mouth and chomp the delicious thing. Ahh! Now that is called a Paan! It costs Tk 50 for a single Paan.
Taking to The Daily Star, Jalil Mia said he learnt the technique of making the Paan from India and started selling it here some six months ago.
Asked how his business was going, he said, “It is pretty good. I am happy.”
He declined to disclose all the ingredients of the Paan, saying he did not want others to learn to make the special thing.
A customer can find some 20 types of Paan at his shop. Each of them costs Tk 10 to Tk 300.
Jalil said he started selling Paan in the 1980s. At that time, he used to work at a Paan shop on the nearby Alauddin Road. Later, he had his own shop.
“It's a great delight to see people having Paan. I like it when they leave my shop happily …,” he said.