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Old February 11th, 2010, 03:52 PM
Hajo Flettner
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Hookah Legend
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,746
Default Re: How Hookahs, Medwaks, and Tobacco Forever Changed the Middle East!

Interesting post! I confess that I don't approve of children anywhere smoking anything so I can sympathize with the UAE crackgown on that that sort of thing.

In my travels I haven't run in to much Dokha at all and outside of the KSA and Yemen I haven't spent any significant time on the Arabian peninsula so I guess my lack of knowledge is understandable. What I have seen in terms of Dokha has been restricted to Tunis and a few Iranian cities. It seems that cigarettes are very common in the Arab world (as well as in Turkey, Iran and India) and that really surprises since even the super expensive high end cigarettes taste give a lousy smoke.

As to dokha making being an art rather then a science I certainly agree in that having seen moassel being made my small scale producers like Shooting Star it's apparent that Western style QA is substituted with artisan like care and lots of labour intensive processes.
Originally Posted by Bassem View Post
Ah, Hajo! The man for whom it was written-
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”

Dokha usage is still fairly uncommon outside the U.A.E. Recently (2007 I believe) the U.A.E. cracked down on cigarette sales to minors, which started a small explosion in the dokha business. They are now attempting to control dokha sales to minors, but from what I hear, not very successfully. Always more popular with the younger set, more now so than ever. After all, you can snuff, dump, and pocket a medwakh in about 3 seconds. (Trust me, I know this!) Perfect for clandestine underage use, at school, home, or on the street. Urban usage by far outstrips rural, if only due to availibility issues. Ten years ago, there were perhaps 4 or 5 different 'brands' of dokha, rida and rabsha being the best known. Today I can think of at least 10 off hand. Each region now has it's own brand (sometimes two), although a few of the larger distributors have started to support and supply each other, which has certainly broadened the various brands exposure. Aziz was only available in parts of Dubai for the longest time, but recently I've found it far from there, and cheerfully being sold by the 'competition'. The manufacture of dokha is a very haphazard process at best, which can make it frustrating for anyone trying to provide a consistant product on a larger scale. abu Mohamed, Yousef Redha, and bin Khumeri are the three big boys for manufacture and distribution. Each buys the tobacco leaves and other additives from their own unique sources, and literally have guys sitting in the back of the stores or outside in the shade grinding and pounding their proprietary various blends. There's not much accurate measuring that go's on, nor quality control. I guess it's an art, not a science. Each do carry a unique difference, though, that somehow manages to survive the manufacturing process. Redha's the hottest, abu Mohamed is known for being cool and flavorful, and bin Khumeri has the most consistant product. (The McDonalds of dokha, if you will.)

I haven't forgotten about your dokha video, and will provide when opportunity presents.
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