Paan in Paris

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“Paan” is a digestive aid and/or stimulant from India, which is chewed after a meal. If you have ever taken a spoonful of neon-colored candies on the way out of an Indian or a Pakistani restaurant, you have had it. Typically, in the U.S., it consists of sugar-coated fennel seeds–meant to freshen the breath a bit and end on a sweet note after aromatic food. You can buy it in spice or ethnic markets, but read the ingredients. It can contain nuts and seeds in addition to herbs and spices, and sometimes tobacco. We were served fresh apple slices sprinkled with paan at Le Chateaubriand (see post) in Paris. How refreshing!

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