Chopped Clams are Perfect Drinking Food at Chicago's HaiSous

At Chicago’s HaiSous, the drink menu from beverage director Danielle Dang consists mostly of affordable sparkling wines and easygoing cocktails, like a refreshing combination of mezcal, pineapple and a bitter hint of Cappelletti. It works out well then that chef Thai Dang’s Vietnamese dishes are perfect drinking food—they’re homey with perfectly calibrated flavors, and the restaurant’s lively atmosphere encourages lingering.

So there’s no better way to start a meal at HaiSous than by ordering a drink and putting in for a plate of hến xúc bánh đa, a classic dish frequently made with mussels, while perusing the rest of the menu. Dang finely chops clams and mixes them with lime, Thai basil and roasted peanuts, while grilled rice crackers come alongside. Pile the spread atop the crackers and you’ll get a range of textures—chewy clams, crunchy peanuts, crisp crackers—all in one bite.

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