WHITESTONE, Queens - On this week's "Neighborhood Eats," we travel to Queens to try some Asian fare from an unlikely pairing.
Petra Rickman had her first bowl of pho five years ago in Prague. From that moment, the Czech native fell in love with Asian cuisine and traveled to the continent to learn how to cook Thai and Vietnamese food.
Six months ago, Rickman, joined by her Slovakian fiance, Michael Prelovsky, opened "Ginger and Lemongrass" in Whitestone. They are serving authentic Asian food despite their own backgrounds.
"The reaction is crazy," Prelovsky said. "Sometimes people are hesitant to try us but after they do, we're getting really good feedback."
Rickman sees herself as a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to her pho. She says it took her many attempts to get her recipe right.
"I made about 100 pho," Rickman said, "and one day I said that's the pho, that's my pho."
Her pho is the most popular item on the menu and she couldn't be prouder.
"Sometimes I'll do a peek in the front," she said, "and when I see someone is eating my pho and he's happy, it's everything to me."
Beef Noodle Soup - Pho Bo
8 thin slices of rare beef eye round
1/2 lb fresh rice noodles
thinly sliced fresh onion
mung bean sprouts
Place beef brisket, beef oxtail, beef feet and 1 peeled onion in approx 12 quart pot. Add salt and fill up the pot with cold water. Bring to boil and cook on low fire for 8 hours.
Char 1 onion cut in half along with ginger in open flame until soft and fragrant (about 10-15 minutes). Place all spices on a dry pan and roast about 2 - 3 minutes.
After 8 hours remove fat from the surface of the soup. Add charred onion, ginger and roasted spices to the soup. Stir in sugar, salt and fish sauce. Keep on medium heat and cook for another 2 hours.
Once soup is based on your taste finished. Clean from all vegetables and spices until you have crystal clear stock.
Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add pinch of salt and oil. Soak the fresh rice noodles for about 10-15 seconds.
In a large bowl place noodles. Top with rare sliced beef and cover with boiling broth. Serve with onion, cilantro, Thai basil and scallion along with side of bean sprouts, lime, sliced Jalapeno peppers, hoisin and Sriracha sauce.