Chef Thai Dang along with Director of Operations and wife Danielle showcase the flavors and depth of Vietnam at their Chicago restaurant, HaiSous in Pilsen the Heart of Chicago. Dang was born in Vietnam and raised outside of Washington D.C. in Virginia. He grew up celebrating the flavors and recipes his mother and sisters brought from Vietnam. Those family recipes and limited resources for authentic ingredients during the early years developed a different lens of Vietnamese food in America.
His passion for the culinary world and family values stem from the kitchen table as a boy where he learned to build bonds and relationships by connecting through food and went on to attend L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland mastering French cuisine and techniques. After years of honing his craft at highly-regarded establishments throughout D.C.; he moved to Chicago joining Michelin-starred restaurants interjecting his love for fresh flavors coupled with his contemporary approach to technique and presentation.
In 2013, Dang teamed with his wife and another couple to open Embeya in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Here, Dang was able to define and reinvent flavors and textures found throughout Southeast Asia using French techniques to create an original approach to what he termed as “Progressive Asian” cuisine. As the Embeya chapter closed, the husband and wife duo traveled back to his home country to taste and experience the new Vietnam, but also find inspiration from the old.
This launched the idea for “HaiSous: Vietnamese Kitchen” bringing a true taste of Vietnam to Chicago in the Pilsen neighborhood. The flavors found at HaiSous capture the essence of Vietnam with masterful execution from his early professional years. This menu truly highlights Dang’s childhood experience through his new vision for Vietnamese cuisine. HaiSous is translated from Vietnamese and means, two sous or two pennies. Two sous suggest equality in partnership, and shared visions in hospitality, while two pennies will forever remind the couple of their humble beginnings that started with a dream and two pennies. The Dang’s are now considered world class travelers, bringing groups of 20 high profile guests on yearly Culinary Food Tours to Vietnam and traveling for Chicago Press Tours both domestically and internationally with Choose Chicago and other partners.
HaiSous’ notable recognitions include two nominations by the James Beard Foundation – Best New Restaurant 2018 and Best Chef: Great Lakes 2019 and awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for four consecutive years 2018-2021. Thrillist calls HaiSous one of Best Vietnamese Restaurants in the country. Dang is also the National Chef Advisor for U.S Food Asian Cuisine 2019. Eater noted HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen to be one of the Most Beautiful Restaurants in 2018. See Dang’s contributions to Vogues “Best Books “A Place at the Table, New American Recipes from the Nation’s Top Foreign-Born Chefs” by G. Langholtz. Additional accolades include Plate Magazine’s Chefs to Watch 2018, Chicago Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant: 2018” at #3.
Awards & Press
- James Beard Award