January 3, 2011
Egyptian Café - Shisha
The next biggest thing that one must master is the ordering of the Shisha, or Hookah/Nargileh. In Egypt it is called Shisha, so that is what I will be calling it through out this post. Through my daily experience at the Egyptian Café's smoking shishas, I will provide you with some useful phrases that you wont find in any Arabic phrase book. So let's begin.
Most street café's wont provide a menu, so having the appropriate vocabulary is necessary in ordering anything. But even in the situation where there is a menu, most likely all the shisha flavors will not be available so it would be better to just ask the following:
في شيشة ايه النهارده؟
fii shiisha eh innahaarda?
(what shisha is there today?)
Don't forget to ask for the mouth piece since everyone uses the pipe, and usually they don't wash them in between uses, although you will find the occasional place that does.
انا عاوز مبسم كمان
ana 3aawiz mabsam kmaan
(I want a mouthpiece as well)
If there is a problem with your shisha, and it is not smoking well, you can ask him to try it, or fix/adjust it.
لو سمحت! ممكن تجرّب الشيشة؟ في مشكلة فيها
law samaHt! mumkin tagarrab ash shiisha? fii muskila fiiha
(excuse me!, can you try the shisha, there's a problem with it)
ممكن تظبّط الشيشة؟
mumkin taZabbaT ash shiisha?
(can you fix/adjust the shisha?)
Just so everyone knows, the coals in Egypt are free, you can get as many coals as you want. So take advantage of that. If you are at a street café, where the quality of the shisha is not all that great, you can maybe get three or four rounds of coals and then the shisha is charred. But if you are at a nice café, you can go for a long time, I don't know an exact number but go until you can't handle the coal flavor.
لو سمحت! هات وِلعة
law SamaHt! haat wel3a
(excuse me! bring the coals)
ايه يا عم! الوِلعة مطفية, هات وِلعة تاني
eh ya 3am! al wel3a maTfiyya, haat wel3a taani
(what's this guy/man!, the coals are out, bring more coals)