The Edible Fire


Rajkot, the fourth largest city in the state of Gujarat, has a lot to share with the local people and the tourists visiting the place. One of the craziest activities which the city sells is the ‘FIRE PAAN’.

Paan has been India’s identity from the Vedic times. A Paan can be bought in nearly every street corner in India. Paan consists of a betel leaf wrapped in a triangular shape with a mixture of spices, mukhwas, dried fruits, and sugar. It is chewed for its stimulant and psychoactive effects. According to Ayurvedic science, betel leaf or paan is very useful in curing of ailments like cough, cold, headaches. It is also said that paan intake freshens the breath and increases passion.

If you like paan and are excited to try new flavours, this one is for you. One of the paanwaala in Rajkot has created a unique paan- the flaming paan. It looks like eating this fire paan might be risky, but the maker of this paan believes otherwise. It does require guts to eat this amalgamation of herbs, ice and fire. The owners of the galaxy paan shop in Rajkot have been selling paans since 1972.They have been popular in the town for experimenting and innovating new ideas for making special paans.They have been selling fire paans since past 7years. The Tadwani Brothers came up with this idea when they visited Mumbai and saw the fire shots of alcohol being served at various places. This inspired them to make fire paan which took them 45 days of experimentation to come up with the perfect recipe of Fire Paan. Paan has great demand during winters. Hundreds of Paan Flavours are available and recent addition to the flavour list is “Fire Paan”.

The fire paan combines spices, dry fruits, nuts and sugar with special cloves inserted on top which is then set on fire and thrown straight into the mouth of the customer by the vendor. Once the fire is out, the cloves give a cooling sensation. Although it looks dangerous, no one has burnt their mouth while eating fire paans. Although, one should not move back when the paanwaala is placing the paan in your mouth. It has medical benefits too and helps in fighting cold and flu.

It seems totally crazy for a few reasons; hygiene aside, the idea of someone throwing hot melting sugar into your mouth on the side of a street in Rajkot just seems like asking for trouble. As mad as it seems, people in India are happily standing in line for a shot. The Tadwanis have witnessed a huge inflow of customers after the innovation of the special paan especially during the festival seasons. Also the tourists visiting the state make sure to come over to the Tadwanis for experiencing an enriching moment. In recent times many paan parlours have adopted this technique to boost their sales all over India.

Although initially, people who were hesitant to try, but once they tried they started enjoying it and come rushing to the shop to indulge the fire paan time and again.

Photo of The Edible Fire 1/1 by Prerana Bharadwaj