LFM: Dinner at Dalat -$25, Endorphin High – Priceless

It was a rough week…or rather Wednesday. That afternoon I was supposed to get a database refreshed and get the ERP environment set up so our developers can apply a Tax-update for the American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009. It was simple enough, except the previous day I was given a new computer and had some software that needed further configuration.  It was getting so frustrating I finally decided to just switch back to the old computer only to find out that I needed newer software that was installed on the new computer. 

            If I was not too embarrassed to swear at work there would have been really very unladylike curses “*#@%!&(((&!#$$$” streaming from my lips. I marched up to my boss and said “I am about to go postal on my two pcs!!” He said “That’s okay – just get it done by the end of the day.”

            By the end of the day, I was ready for a big glass of wine.

Yesterday, the hubby took pity on me and said we should go out to eat and I can take my pick of places. Where I lived, pickings are slim and we were lazy to drive towards the Fan/Carytown area where the restaurants were something other than suburban chains. So I gave him a choice of three places “Dalat, Ipanema Grill or Umi.”

We went to Dalat.

Hubby went for #26 – Pho Sate (rare sliced beef with sate). I went for some soup myself – #29 Mi Do Bien (Egg noodle with shrimp, scallop, squid, fishball and crabmeat). Both were huge bowls and were $6.95 each.

            I did not eat chili till I was in my 30s. My brother and mom were the ones who would have dipping sauces of vinegar with crushed siling labuyo (Philippines fiery bird’s eye pepper) with each meal – carefully preparing them each time as if they were having their last supper.

            Anyway, it was not until I had an apartment mate here in the U.S. who was addicted to spicy food and would dip fried chicken wings from a Chinese restaurant with vinegar and hot pepper that I realized what I was missing out on. Sure there was that sting on my tongue…but there was pleasure in that pain.

            So back to Dalat. Mimicking the same ritualistic reverence done by my brother and mom, I scooped up some noodles and shrimp into my soup spoon and topped it with chili sauce and put the whole thing in my mouth just as the hubby interjected “It’s really spicy!!!” Too late, my eyes teared up, my upper lip broke up into a sweat and my mouth was on fire.

 I was crying and laughing at the same time.

            I’ve embarrassed myself already so what the heck. Scoop and repeat. The customers around us probably thought I was one crazy Asian woman.

            Years ago, another friend of mine explained to me why Thai Diner -another restaurant in the West End -has an avid following for their spicy noodle soup.  “It’s the endorphins,” she says “really spicy food releases endorphins which is responsible for that feeling of euphoria.” I have seen my friends sweat over that bowl of Thai-hot brothy concoction and they just keep on going even as they sniffle and wipe the sweat off their foreheads after eating each spoonful.  There is no scientific proof to this claim, endorphin release might be a secondary effect by the pain triggered by eating chili…a little research on google came up with these two articles. So read away if interested.

I did feel elated after my big bowl of tear-inducing noodle soup, more so after I saw our bill – $25.00 for 2 spring rolls, 2 bowls of soup, 1 soda, 1 hot tea and 1 take-out order of grilled shrimp and beef on broken rice – not bad eh?

9 thoughts on “LFM: Dinner at Dalat -$25, Endorphin High – Priceless

  1. alls well that ends so well as an endorphin high from a bowl of tear-inducing noodle soup and a $25 bill after a day like that one 😉 😉
    Now you have me craving a night out for Thai.
    Hope today is smooth.

  2. thanks Dani – it was pretty funny and the hubby couldn't understand why I torture myself even if my lips are so pink already.
    Hi Tanna – the soup itself was not spicy, it was the peppers and chili sauce that was served with it that was really fiery.
    Thanks Lisa- yes you should make a trip to Richmond soon!

  3. There is a little hole in the wall pho place next to where I work in downtown and their food is fantastic and the prices are too. I just love getting a big, steaming bowl of delicious soup. I haven't been brave enough to try the spicy sauce, though!

  4. I really believe the endorphin explanation, I have a brother in Santa Fe and he swears people keep going back to the same old hole in the walls to get their chili and salsa fixes

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