If you want an authentic Vietnamese dining experience, then Puku isn’t the place to visit. Located at 60 Hang Trong in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Puku is a popular ex-pat hangout, and a great place to relax on a hot day and eavesdrop on gossiping UN volunteers. You can also hook-up your laptop and catch up with your emails.
The doorway to Puku is squished between an art gallery and a tailor’s shop and can be easy to miss. Step inside and walk along the narrow alley; then turn left and climb up the concrete stairs to two levels of great eating. The first floor is brightly painted and has the kitchen which is staffed by friendly locals. Settle back on the faded, comfortable couch and armchairs or the more formal bench seat and tables; or perch on a stool out on the small balcony and watch the action below.
The second floor is up a set of treacherous stairs and is an oasis on a hot day in Hanoi. Open on three sides, the space is covered with cosy couches and armchairs, tables and chairs, and low wooden coffee tables. Pots of green plants, wind chimes and paper lanterns add to the leisurely atmosphere. Here’s where the best eavesdropping can be done as you listen to young travellers discuss their antics from the night before.
Puku was once owned by a New Zealander and this influences the menu. There is a long list of tea and coffee to satisfy any craving as well as fresh juices and soft drinks. Take your pick from the all day breakfast menu, pastas, open grills, pancakes, bangers and mash, and pita bread rolls. All meals are freshly prepared and are between 40,000 – 50,000 Vietnam dong. Come on a Saturday morning for brunch and enjoy the activity.