Awadh, known for its mehmaan-nawaazi (being good hosts), would play a part at the Obamas' Delhi dinner. The 'paan' that would be offered to US President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama would be concocted and rolled by a famous paanwala from Gonda.
The paan would be from Paraspur Pathkanpurwa (Sariyaan) resident Shivnarayan's Delhi shop. Shivnarayan has a paan shop near the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The Rashtrapati Bhawan, where the dinner will be hosted, has summoned Shivnarayan Pandey for the delicacy.
Shivnarayan's grandson Harihom said: "I am also engaged along with my grandfather in paan preparation."
According to him, it was the then President Rajendra Prasad who got the shop allotted to Shivnarayan in 1973. He has been making and selling paan in Delhi since 1942. Once when Rajendra Prasad ate a paan prepared by Shivnaryan's he decided to get a paan shop allotted to him. Since then, for three generations, the shop has been run by someone from the family.
The list of varieties of paan that the Pandeys would serve at the dinner are: Chocolayer, Chocolate coated orange, strawberry, chocolate chips, butterscotch, cranberry, apple and some traditional ones.
And Obama indeed ate a butterscotch paan after the dinner during his 2010 India visit.
Places like Lucknow, Gonda or Faizabad were part of erstwhile Awadh region where paan culture flourished during the Mughal and Nawabi times.