In love with Vietnam

Pépé & Yu Masuda's love for Vietnamese cuisine

Pépé and Yu Masuda are the co-founders of the well-known restaurant “PéPé la Poule” in Hanoi. The two friends hope it will become a rendezvous for many international friends to enjoy the food and learn about Vietnamese culture. 
Born in 1980, Japanese chef Yu Masuda travelled to many countries and chose Vietnam as a place to stay for a while. PéPé, who was born in France in 1989, used to be the representative of a French program called “School on a boat” in Vietnam where she found a special love for the country with its warm and friendly people. During a volunteer program for poor children, they met and discovered their common love for Vietnam so they decided to open PéPé la Poule restaurant.

Besides deciding to open a restaurant, Yu also wanted to build a place to train young Vietnamese chefs and provide them with jobs and a stable income. PéPé spends her free time teaching French, helping  young people to communicate professional and friendly with foreigners.

Yu Masuda and PéPé opened the restaurant with the aim of connecting foreigners
who love Vietnam. 

Yu Masuda uses native ingredients and spices in cooking. 

Yu always helps Vietnamese young employees to work on new dishes. 

Yu and PéPé chat with their diners at the restaurant. 

Foreign diners at PéPé la Poule. 

Yu teaches his trainees to cook foie gras with dragon fruit.  

Yu Masuda teaches children to make biscuits. 

PéPé la Poule’s cuisine is a combination of different types of Asian food. All dishes are cooked and seasoned using native ingredients and spices. Yu uses seasonal vegetables and fruit in Vietnam to make a diverse menu.
After six years, PéPé la Poule has now become a favorite stop for foreign visitors to Vietnam. At the restaurant, they not only enjoy the meals cooked by Yu Masuda, but also can share experiences about their life and work in Vietnam.

According to Yu Masuda, the restaurant’s goal is to focus on training their Vietnamese staff the skills that are needed in cooking and communicating so that they can be confident in their jobs. Hopefully, they will have stable income and improve their standard of living. Yu spends part of the restaurant’s profit to donate to homeless families on floating houses along the Red river and near Long Bien bridge, assisting them with the educational fees for their children. 

Some typical dishes cooked by Yu Masuda and PéPé. 

“Diners at PéPé la Poule are mainly foreigners who have different culinary tastes. I try to create the most harmonious menu so that everyone will be happy with their meals”, Yu added.

Being a dynamic person, PéPé often organizes outside activities for staff such as teaching cooking to children. Both PéPé and Yu said that the more money the restaurant makes the more charity funds there are for poor children. They always hope their love of cooking will inspire young chefs to love their jobs and become good citizens in their homeland.

Story: Bich Van  -   Photos: Thanh Giang

UN-Habitat Turns Hanoi into a Creative City

UN-Habitat Turns Hanoi into a Creative City

The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) has been supporting the Vietnamese government to address its urban development challenges, including the difficulties Hanoi faces. The Hanoi Creative Design Festival is one of Hanoi's annual programs sponsored by UN-Habitat to develop a public people-oriented cultural environment, creating sustainable development and preserving heritages.