On My Way: A Paan-Lover’s Paradise
A tiny leaf-wrap. Inside is a magical concoction of saffron, spices, and all things nice. You bite into it, and there’s a burst of freshness permeating in your mouth. Well, congratulations, you’re in India, chewing away at a paan, which is probably the world’s oldest mouth freshener. Who doesn’t like this sensation of a paan? It’s like a refreshing, awakening burst of heaven in the mouth. Now, imagine a dash of chocolate, or a hint of mango, or a whiff of rose in it. Then you’re probably in On My Way in Salt Lake.
On My Way: The Paradise For Paan-Lovers
Indians have been enjoying this natural mouth freshener for thousands of years, so much so that it has always been a part of our culture. From the 16th century cookbook, Nimmatnama-i Nasiruddin-Shahi and the descriptions by Ibn Batuta, to the popular Bollywood songs, paan’s presence is largely felt. While women of the non-lipstick generation used it to colour their lips, we’ve seen Wahida Rahman overcome with joy to see perfect laal lips on the fair face of her Sawariya, all thanks to paan. While seasonal crop farmers choose betel leaf farming in the off-season, there are paan-sellers in every corner of the road in India.
On My Way: The Menu
But, what makes On My Way different? Well, for one, it promises hygiene. Indeed, when I accepted an invitation they sent to the food bloggers’ group, Panch Phoron, I was amazed to witness their attention to hygiene. From washing hands before starting every preparation to wearing gloves while doing it, cleanliness is definitely On My Way’s USP. Well, cleanliness, and their stunningly wide range of paans.
This shop has more than types of paans. And now you need to sit down for this – their menu includes everything conceivable, from Chocolate Paan to GOLD PAAN! Yup, you read that right, although, it is not a regular availability at the store for customers who walk in for one; they only make on a pre-order basis. What you will get at the customer is a Silver Paan worth Rs. 170. On an average, they claim to sell about 10 of this luxurious item.
With the price range of paans being between Rs. 20 and Rs. 500, it’s obvious that On My Way has built itself an elite customer base, with people who have their own source of earning showing their loyalty to this shop. It’s just about a year old, and has already succeeded in gaining loyal customers. They get orders for the big, fat weddings of the city, as well as the most notable food events at the top restaurants. And why not? Besides bringing in the best masala, premium quality leaves, and their very own Gulkhand recipes, this shop invests time and mind into bringing the biggest innovations, when it comes to paan. Chocolate, butterscotch, mango, strawberry – you name it, they have it.
Frankly, I was quite apprehensive about trying a chocolate paan or fruit paan. How the tastes and flavours would gel was beyond my imagination. But, once I did try their chocolate and fruit paans, I was totally floored! But, the best thing I have tried at this store is the Paan Shot. It’s just bliss! The flavours and the freshness last in the mouth long after the shot has been downed. I repeat: it’s bliss – pure, liquid, edible bliss!
Currently, they are working on developing recipes of coffee paan, to be introduced in their new menu during or after the festive season. Aside from the unique paans, which are hot favourites mainly with people below 30, they also have the traditional ones, from meetha to magai.
Besides, paan, I have also tried their Ice Golas and Kulfis. Like I mentioned before, this shop gives special attention to health, hygiene and cleanliness. Hence, the water purifier in the store – they do not buy ice for the golas. Besides, thanks to their Japanese ice-crusher, the gola is really smooth, and melts immediately in the warmth of the mouth, which is a good thing for children, as there are no icicles that allow them to catch cold. And the flavours are indeed mind-blowing and varied, too, developed with authentic recipes from India’s Gola capital, Gujarat.
As for their Kulfis, well, that’s another experience. It’s not the regular flavoured creamsicles that need hammer and chisel to break. The one I tried was the almond Kulfi, made of nothing but almond, roasted and grounded to perfection. Besides these must-try Golas and Kulfis, I also look forward to trying their Litti and Chokha of which I have heard aplenty.
Among their specialties, there’s a range of 15 different mouth fresheners, also developed by them. Besides, this little shop also offers imported chocolates, snacks, oil-free pickles, and a lot more. In fact, the moment I entered the shop, the first thing I remembered are the candy stores of New Market (but I learnt soon enough that this is a far costlier version). It also sells Hooka and Sisha, as well as flavours, for those who love a puff in the comfort of their home.
On My Way is on its way to establish itself as the city’s favourite store for desserts, golas, and other titbits, and above all, for paan. And, I think, it’s thriving!