"The boy was entirely happy to be out chewing pan"

Pan, or paan, is a South Asian and South East Asian tradition: chewing betel leaf with areca nut as a palate cleanser and breath freshener. In India it is often offered as a sign of hospitality at the beginning of social and cultural events.  Savoury paan may make use of tobacco, while sweet paan usually includes candied fruit, fennel seeds and sugar.