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.
HaiSous was nominated for 2018 semifinalist for Best New Restaurant by James Beard and awarded a Bib Gourmand 2018-2019 by Michelin. Additional accolades include Plate Magazine’s Chefs to Watch 2018, Chicago Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant: 2018” at #3; Jean Banchet “Rising Chef of the Year” in 2014. He was nominated two consecutive years in Food & Wine People’s Choice, “Chef of the Year” 2013, 2014 and Zagat has recognized him on the “30 under 30” list in 2013.