Nepalis love their cigarettes (churot). The cheaper brands like Yak and Khukuri are harsh and strong for most Western tastes. Marlboro is widely available, while the most similar luxury domestic brand is Surya. After the evening meal, old men may be seen smoking tobacco in a hookah (hubble-bubble), or occasionally passing around a chilam (clay pipe).

Many Nepali men make quite a production of preparing chewing tobacco (surti), slapping and rubbing it in the palm of the hand before placing behind the lower lip. Surti comes in little foil packets hung outside most general stores.

At least as popular, particularly near India, is the digestive and mild stimulant paan. A paan seller starts with a betel leaf, upon which he spreads various ingredients, the most common being jharda (tobacco) or mitha (sweet). Paan-wallahs also sell foil packets of paan parag, a simple, ready-made mix.

Essentials

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Nepal features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

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