Hookah also known as Shisha, Narghile and in Persian speaking countries such as Afghanistan and Iran it is known as Qelyon Miwaee “fruit hookah” and they have countless hookah flavors. I haven’t found a reliable source to where Hookah was first found. However in Iran, Turkey, India and Arab countries they have been smoking hookah for a very long time. In the last few decades the normal traditional hookah was changed to hookahs flavored with fruits. Shisha is very common among the younger generation of of Middle East, Central Asia and spreading around the world. There are different hookah sets, mainly they have only one pipe but some have many pipes so at the same time more than one person can smoke it.
Many open air restaurants and coffee shops serving hookah in Middle East and Central Asia. In fact when you scroll down the food menu, you will see the hookah flavors list. I have seen many who order food, hookah and the tea all together, obviously hookah and tea were for after the food. Last time in Afghanistan we were invited to a friends’ house and the first thing he brought us was tea and hookah in a big tray but I refused to smoke on empty stomach. Although, I tried different light hookah flavors in Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Iran and Afghanistan and I’m not trying to encourage you to smoke hookah but if you end up smoking hookah which is very likely to happen in the countries I mentioned, here are my tips on what hookah flavors to smoke.
If you are a first-timer, I suggest you smoke the light hookah flavors in the list below as well as the heavy hookah flavors you better avoid.
Best hookah flavors and combinations
Best hookah flavors combinations can vary depending on individual’s preferences. My favorite in particular is Cinnamon flavor, it is very light and gives a nice taste to the mouth. Lemon, mint, gum and orange hookah flavors are light as well. In one hookah you can have two or three flavors mixed at the time, for example mint and lemon or lemon and gum. Some hookah bars and restaurants offer what they call “natural fruit hookah”. Instead of the tobacco bowl they put an orange or lemon on the top of the hookah shaft and fill it with tobaccos. Keep in mind Orange flavor gives headache to some users, so you might want to avoid it. Hookah flavors you should definitely avoid unless you have years of experience smoking hookah. Two Apples flavor, peach, Sour cherry, apple, black grapes, wine, cappuccino and watermelon flavors.
How to smoke shisha/hookah for the first time
place the mouthpiece of the hookah to your lips and hold the pipe with one hand. Start inhaling slowly and gradually, don’t inhale too much smoke otherwise you start coughing. The same goes for exhaling, exhale the smoke through your mouth slowly. Don’t go too fast, break for 3-5 seconds before you inhale again.
Is shisha/hookah bad for you?
Yes it is, but it is okay if you want to smoke few puffs once or twice on a trip when you are offered to smoke it in a cafe or restaurant.
How to avoid hookah headache
To avoid hookah headache its important to be hydrated and to drink water, tea or juice throughout your session of smoking. Eat before you start because smoking on the empty stomach makes the body to absorb the nicotine of the hookah too quick which can be one of the main factors of hookah headaches. The quality of hookah charcoal and tobacco are the other two main factors of hookah headache, fuzziness and nausea.
How to get rid of hookah headache
First of all you need to stop the second you feel dizzy, headache or shaky. Get away from the smoke to somewhere you can no longer smell it and get some fresh air, drink a glass of cold water and if you happen to be hungry, eat something.
In Istanbul, every restaurant and cafe has many narghilé available for customers, because let’s face it, can we have Turkish tea without a good an orange flavored smoke?