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Delectable Vietnam Through a Chef's Eyes. A Hosted Journey with Chef Thai Dang.

In February 2020, we pay a very special visit to Vietnam in the company of Chef Thai Dang, longtime R. Crusoe friend, founder of an incredible restaurant in Chicago, and native of Vietnam. Our 2019 version of this Hosted Journey was such a hit—and had such a long waiting list—that we’ve decided to do it again.

     Thai was born in a village outside Saigon and resettled in America in the mid 1980s. In 2017, he and his wife Danielle established the exceptional restaurant, HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen, right here in Chicago. Zagat raved. Michelin did, too. And in its first year, HaiSous was named a semifinalist for the 2018 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.

     Chef Thai offers personal anecdotes, insights, and much more to enhance our journey to Hanoi, Hoi An, Cho Chi Minh City, and beyond. He introduces us to friends and family, takes us to find hidden treasures in a night markets, and he teaches us the finer points of Vietnamese cuisine.

Tour Highlights:

  • Spend a day in Chef Thai’s ancestral village with his extended family and friends, and sit down to a festive meal there.
  • Chef Thai teaches us about Vietnam’s cuisine, its history, the local larder, and the interesting day and night markets.
  • Take a free day at the marvelous Four Seasons Nam Hai on China Beach to indulge in the excellent amenities.
  • In Hanoi, enjoy a private street-food tour and tasting led by a local food writer.
  • An expat expert on Vietnam’s tribal people guides us through a Hanoi museum and shows us his personal collection.
  • Have drinks and dinner with an expert on contemporary Vietnamese art at her private home-gallery-salon.


Dates:16 February 2020

Type:Hosted Journeys/Set Departure



Day 1: U.S.
Sunday, 16 February 2020
• Overnight flight to Asia.
Overnight in flight
Day 2: Asian Gateway City
day, 17 February 2020
• Land in the Asian gateway city of your choice.
Overnight at airport hotel (at traveler's expense)

Day 3: Asian Gateway City; Hanoi, Vietnam
Tuesday, 18 February 2020

• Fly to Hanoi, transfer to hotel.
• Tour briefing, welcome drinks and dinner.
Overnight: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Day 4-6: Hanoi
Wednesday-Friday, 19-21 February 2020

• Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, cyclo ride to Temple of Literature, walk Hoan Kiem Lake.
• Street-food walking tour and tasting with a local food writer.
• Cooking lesson by Chef Thai.
• Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton), Ethnology Museum and lunch and visit to the gallery of a  local expert.
• Cocktails and private dinner at the home-salon of a contemporary art expert.

Overnights: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Day 7: Da Nang
Saturday, 22 February 2020

• Fly to Da Nang.
• Hotel check-in.
• Barbecue dinner on China Beach.
Overnight: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

Day 8: Hoi An, Da Nang
Sunday, 23 February 2020

• Visit to Hoi An (UNESCO Wortld Heritage site) morning market with Ms. Lu of Market Restaurant, hands-on cooking lesson.
• Optional walking tour of old Hoi An.

• Join Chef Thai on an optional visit to a traditional herb and vegetable farm.
• Dinner with Chef Thai at a restaurant that trains underserved local youth.

Overnight: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

Day 9: My Son, Hoi An, Da Nang
Monday, 24 February 2020
• Optional walking tour of My Son (UNESCO World Heritage site) Cham sanctuary.
• Afternoon at leisure.
• D
inner at Mango Mango in Hoi An with a presentation by the restaurant's chef and Chef Thai.
Overnight: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

Day 10: Da Nang
Tuesday, 25 February 2020

• Day at leisure at our resort to relax and enjoy the amenities and activities.
Overnight: Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai

Day 11: Ho Chi Minh City
Wednesday, 26 February 2020

• Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, orientation walking tour including Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the old Central Post Office, hotel check-in.
• Optional walk through the night market with Chef Thai.
Overnight: Park Hyatt Saigon

Day 12: Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City
Thursday, 27 February 2020
• Option to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, then return to the city.
• War Remnants Museum.
• Free time to browse Ben Thanh Market or stroll Dong Khoi Street.

Overnight: Park Hyatt Saigon

Day 13: Dong Nai, Ho Chi Minh City
Friday, 28 February 2020
• Drive to Chef Thai's ancestral village, shop the markets, cooking lessons, celebratory farewell lunch with the extended Dang family and friends
• Return to Ho Chi Minh City, evening at leisure.
Overnight: Park Hyatt Saigon

Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City; Asian Gateway City; U.S.
Thursday, 19 March 2015

• Fly home.

Please note: This itinerary is subject to change.

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Per person sharing room from $10,990
Single supplement from $3,890
Internal airfare per person (estimate) $330

The above prices are based on a minimum number of 15 travelers as well as present currency exchange and fuel rates. If fewer than 15 travelers participate, or if there is a major change in exchange rates or a fuel surcharge, a price supplement may apply and/or the itinerary may be adjusted.

For more information or to book, please call R. Crusoe travel specialist Jane Franklin at 888-490-8019, or email her at jfranklin@rcrusoe.com.

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Chef Thai Dang.

Thai Dang was born in a village outside Saigon, and resettled in America with his parents, six brothers, and two of his three sisters in the mid 1980s. After living in Illinois for 18 months, the family moved to a large Vietnamese community in Virginia.

Following his passion, Thai enrolled in culinary school. He met and married his wife, Danielle Pizzutillo—an architect by training and an equally talented mixologist—and entered the world of upscale restaurants. One position led to another, and soon he was cooking under Laurent Gras at Chicago’s three-Michelin-starred L20.

Before long, the Dangs opened Embeya in Chicago. where Chef Thai’s progressive Asian menu made a splash.

In 2017, Chef Thai and Danielle created yet another exceptional restaurant, HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen. Zagat raved. So did USA Today. Michelin awarded the newbie a Bib Gourmand. Forbes chimed in, too. And within a year of opening its door, HaiSous was named a semifinalists in the 2018 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant, among the most prestigious dining honors in America.

We are thrilled to count Thai and Danielle among our friends, and we’re excited to have Chef Thai join us on our journey.

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