After more than 40 years in Singapore and on this planet, this is the first time I have come across Hookahs and people smoking these beautiful water pipes. I sure am swakoo (Singlish for country bumpkin), but in a way I am glad that there are still things that amaze me in my own little country. It just energizes me to discover something new.
So here we were during our walk around Arab Street and I walked towards this blue tiled Turkish restaurant called Sufis Corner. It truly felt like I had entered some kind of space warp, instantly transported to exotic Turkey. Never been to the real Turkey, so this was exciting. This time I just took photos, but next time I have to try some Turkish cuisine.
I was enthralled as I sneeked a peek at the fire within.
I also enjoyed spying at the hookah smokers who all seemed to be a a relaxed and hazy state. It made me want to have a puff so bad even though I have never smoked in my life and would probably have no idea how to.
The patrons seemed to be mostly tourists. I wonder if there are any Turkish Singaporeans here as well. My curiosity and interweb search led me to discover that there is a Turkish Community here and they even have a cultural centre which was set up in 1999 and they even offer Turkish language courses. This discovery makes me yearn to visit the country.
I saw more people enjoying their hookahs than eating. But I guess it was just past the lunch hour. Also I only noticed men here smoking hookahs also known as shishas.
I enjoyed seeing how relaxed this man looked with his pipe. A Hookah can be single stemmed or multi-stemmed for sharing, but I only saw single stemmed ones here. The smoke is cooled and filtered as it’s passed through water. It originated around the border of Pakistan in the state of Rajasthan and Gujarat about 4000 years ago during the Mughul rule and it soon became a status symbol for the Indian aristocracy. How it works is, when you inhale, the charcoal vaporizes the tobacco. I would think the water would make it healthier, but actually it’s sad to be twice as bad as smoking a cigarette as the session last for about an hour and you ending up inhaling more smoke. I didn’t get any of the horrible second hand smoke that makes me cough. According to the Mayo Clinic, the water does not filter out toxic ingredients.
This place also sells handicrafts and is located next to the main road on 48 Arab Street.
The Hookahs themselves are works of art. They would be lovely as decorations in a home.
I saw a Hookah close up outside another Cafe at Bussorah Street and the apple flavour intrigued me. Perhaps there are non-tabacco, healthy herbal hookahs? I would love to try a Turkish coffee and just people watch at this palm tree lined shopping street that frames the majestic Sultan Mosque.