This is a learners guide to all things shisha. You may know it as hubbly bubbly, hookah, argyle or something else but they are essentially all the same. Lets go through exactly what it is and why we use it. Shisha is one of the most popular social past times in the Middle East. Here in Saudi Arabia it is very common for people to smoke Shisha in cafes and restaurants as well as their homes. The downside to smoking Shisha in Saudi Arabia is it has now been banned in many regions around Saudi Arabia. Yet, Jeddah is a place that is infamously popular for it and it is yet to be prohibited.
A smoking device that allows for users to smoke flavored tobacco.
How it works
A special ceramic cup is placed atop the shisha covered in aluminum foil. The aluminum foil will have holes pricked into it (toothpick size). The bottom of the shisha is made up of a glass vase that is filled halfway with water. The vase and special cup are attached by the barrel (a metal body); the barrel will have an input for the pipe that is inserted for smoking.
Arabic “Mooassal”. Raw plain tobacco is mixed with flavor and color agents that allow for the tobacco to smell and taste differently when smoked. Common flavors are double apple, mint, grape and cocktail. The ranges of flavors are plenty everything from watermelon, cantaloupe, and melon,strawberry to rose, bubblegum and many more.
Key Tip: When ordering shisha out ask the waiter for the most requested tobacco. The most requested tobacco tends to be the freshest in stock. The lesser-requested tobaccos often have been there for a while and have begun to stale; losing flavor.
Arabic “Lay” or “Kaasaba”. The pipe on the shisha differs, depending on the one you buy. Regular pipes are fine for single smokers and for home use. Regular pipes tend to absorb the smell and flavor of previously smoked tobacco often creating distorted tastes when smoked again. They also need to be cleaned thoroughly and often.Plastic (disposable) pipes are hygienic, cheap and my preferred pipe.
Arabic “Faham”. The coal is ordinary lit coal that is changed frequently to burn the tobacco while smoking. There is special sized coal for shisha specifically but these coals tend to have a chemical coating to help ignite them. The chemical coating is said to be harmful but has not been proven. When exhaling the amount of smoke differs on if the coal is burning enough. If you exhale and very little smoke comes out then coal needs to be changed.
Health Notice: Shisha is a form of smoking and it has been proven that its effects on your health are similar if not more than cigarettes.