Activities Sports & Athletics Hookah 101—Middle Eastern Water Pipe Smoking Share PINTEREST Email Print Wilfried Krecichwost / Getty Images Sports & Athletics Other Activities Cigars Collecting Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Table Tennis Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Learn More By Saad Fayed Food Writer and Restaurateur A restaurateur and food writer, Saad Fayed has published hundreds of recipes and articles about Middle Eastern cuisine. our editorial process Saad Fayed Updated January 29, 2020 You may know it by hookah, narghile, sheesha, or perhaps as hubbly bubbly. Middle Eastern water pipe smoking in on the rise in Western countries and you may have even noticed hookah lounges popping up in your neighborhood. So, what is a hookah? Hookah is the name of a large water pipe that originated in India but gained popularity in the Middle East, mainly in Turkey and Iran. It is a large pipe that utilizes water and indirect heat for smoking. Shisha is the name of the tobacco mixture that is smoked in the water pipe. Shisha comes in several flavors, with fruit flavors being the most popular. Smoking the hookah is a social activity that is gaining popularity all over the world, especially among young people. A typical hookah session lasts about 45 minutes and a hookah can be shared by one or several people. Traditionally, the hookah pipe is reserved for men. It is extremely frowned upon for women to smoke the water pipe. However, you may see female tourists in Middle Eastern countries like Egypt enjoying the water pipe.