Difference Between Hookah and Shisha

  • Hookah hot coals on shisha bowl making clouds of steam

Is that tall glass contraption you smoke from called shisha? Wait, isn’t it called a hookah? What about that odd-looking substance you put into it?

So many questions and even more confusion surrounding this amazing way of smoking tobacco molasses. If you dabbled into traditional smoking methods, you’ve probably heard about terms like “hookah” or “shisha”. While passionate tobacco users might distinguish the two, for recreational smokers and first-time users, these two terms are either interchangeable or just plain confusing.

As an experienced hookah smoking lounge, we’re going to give you some insight and share our knowledge. It’s time to tackle the hookah vs. shisha topic and set the record straight once and for all. Here’s our explanation on why these two terms are often confused with one another and how they are connected.

Shisha vs Hookah: What’s the Difference?

Let’s start from the device you use for smoking. The term “Hookah” was first used in the Indian subcontinent where it is believed that this method of smoking was conceived. Later it spread to other neighboring countries but also overseas, as India was a British colony in the 1800s. 

Hookah was also widely used in the Middle East but under another name. In countries like Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, the pipe-like device was called “Argilah” or “Argileh”. Without going too much into the history and meaning of the term Hookah, the most important thing to remember is that the name directly translates to “pot, jar” and “cavity, hollow”, hence why it refers to the device, not the substance. 

Using the decorated water pipe for smoking tobacco is a mesmerizing experience, and it’s even considered healthier than conventional cigarettes. It might look intimidating at first, but it’s actually simple to use even in the comfort of your own home. However, if you’ve never smoke through a hookah before, we recommend stopping by our lounge where our knowledgeable staff can help you out and make sure your first time is a pleasurable one.

Man smoking pipe of hookah in night cafe

What About the Substance You Put into the Device?

Ready to get confused? The term shisha is derived from the Persian word “shīshe” which directly translates to “glass” in English. In Egypt, people still use the term to describe the water pipe instead of the substance. However, “Shisha” refers only to the glass base of the instrument, not the actual device.

So what’s the correct name of the substance in the USA? 

If you’re shopping for flavored tobacco to put into your hookah, you’ll find that the term “Shisha” is most commonly associated with the substance, not the water pipe. The main takeaway is that “Hookah” refers to the instrument, and “Shisha” is the tobacco you smoke. Shisha comes in many flavors, and we highly suggest you try several of them.

Hopefully, that clears up some of the confusion surrounding this traditional tobacco smoking method. It’s not exactly fraud upon if you use the hookah and shisha interchangeably; however, it’s always better to use the two terms appropriately. 

If you want to read more articles related to smoking devices, or you want to find out more about the food we serve at our restaurant, make sure to check out our blog. Want to share your first hookah smoking experience with us? You can do so in the comments below.

2019-09-17T12:38:54+00:00August 12th, 2019|Hookah|0 Comments
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