Eating hot food is one thing, but munching on a snack which has literally been set on fire? That is an entirely different experience.
A unique paan stall in New Delhi has recently gone viral on social media for its game-changing preparation that keeps the traditional chew aflame as it touches the customer’s mouth.
The street food stall, owned by Pradhuman Shukla’s family, has been selling paan in Delhi, India for 20 years, according to Barcroft.
Traditionally, paan is a prepared chew composed of betel leaf stuffed with areca nut and sometimes with tobacco added and is munched and then swallowed or spat out.
However 31-year-old Pradhuman, created a fiery twist on the traditional Indian chew by lighting them on fire before being stuffed into the customers’ mouths. He also changed the ingredients a bit adding sweet masala, with a little ice and a concentrated squash drink called Rooh Afza.
Consuming/chewing paan is said to have medicinal effects on several ailments including colds, flu and sore throats. According to the inventive stall owner, that was how he came up with the fire paan in the first place.
“I once had a customer who used to come here daily. He always had a sore throat and would tell me: ‘Make me paan. I have mouth ulcers.’ I would make him paan daily and every time he would say: ‘I didn’t cure,’” Pradhuman narrated.
“Then one day a guy who used to work here burnt the paan and gave the paan to the customer. That day he said, ‘Yes, my ulcers have cured. Two men were standing near him and when they saw the fire paan they said: ‘What is this? This is a new concept. Make one for us too.’”
While consuming the fire paan seems extremely risky, the shop owner claims the fire actually provides a cool sensation once placed inside the mouth.
“We know it’s a bit risky but people are enjoying it,” Pradhuman was quoted as saying. “I started with just one paan but now we make around 100 daily.”
He acknowledged that some customers get frightened to try it at first but he guarantees that no one has complained of getting hurt so far.
“I know how it works. I have tried it before. It’s safe and won’t cause injury to anyone. Some people may not find it tasty but no one has been hurt with it.”