Pan - the kind you put in your mouth, suck, chew, and spit
Anyone know of the existence of pan is the area?
(google panwalla if you want to see a few references)
This is a mixture of spices, lime paste and betel nut wrapped in a leaf and put in your cheek.
There are many varieties and I've only had the sweet or "desert" one at a small place in Vancouver BC after trying it in Karachi Pakistan.
Let's please hear if you know of anyone making it in the greater Seattle area.
Never seen or heard about it in Seattle--but if googling, I've mostly seen it spelled 'paan'. Certainly there are plenty of places in Van, BC that do it, just don't know that Seattle has any. If you learn anything, would love to hear about it.
Just so you know, paan is associated with a number of health risks. In addition to containing carcinogenic substances it also, as anyone who has seen a serious paan addict will tell you, wrecks your teeth. Meetha (sweet) paan is, I think, always devoid of tobacco and areca nut and should be a safer bet.
The reason I am telling you this is that I don't think some people realise what is in the non-sweet kinds of paan. To many people it seems like something weird and "ethnic" and a little bit cool - they want to try it when they visit South Asia and that's sort of understandable. Partake if you wish, just be aware that it is not a particularly healthy thing.
Yes, I bought it in 2000, I believe in an Indian grocery in Bellevue off of 148th ave between 520 and 8th, store was on the west side of 148th. Since I've slept since then, I may have some of my facts wrong, but I seem to remember that the store carried films in both Hindi and Telugu.
Price of the Paan I bought was about $5.00
The store you may be thinking (kinda close to the location you mention) is
Mayuri Food & Video
2560 152nd Avenue NE # A
Redmond, WA 98052-5535
It's close to the Overlake Shopping Center on NE24th (where the Safeway is).
I called to verify they still have it. I was told they carry dried paan on the shelf (not the same experience IMO). A few times a week an Indian woman comes by and makes fresh paan.
As I understand it, neither the dried nor fresh paan contain tobacco.
Paan is nice? Meetha paan is a nice usually harmless after dinner mouth freshener. But I would caution against calling "proper" paan nice. It's an addictive habit that causes life threatening health problems and destroys the teeth. Why do people do it? Well for one thing it gets rid of hunger.
The trouble is that a lot of stuff gets put in paan that is not all that nice. Areca and tobacco are known to be bad news. Then there's chuna/ choona plus all sorts of other bits and pieces that I'm not sure are great to put in your mouth.
Sorry to be such a killjoy but as I said above many people think paan is just a quirky "ethnic" curiousity and are unaware of its risks.
Does it contain areca nut (incorrectly called betel nut sometimes)? Because the areca nut itself is not healthy and is known to be carcinogenic. This is why even paan without tobacco has been shown to cause health problems.
As I said above, meetha paan is usually rather innocent and not like "proper" paan so it may be regarded as more likely to be safe. Just check it does not have areca, chuna or tobacco.