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Thai Chef at New Elmhurst Restaurant Got Cooking Tips from 'Soup Nazi'

By Katie Honan | August 14, 2014 8:33am | Updated on August 15, 2014 5:43pm
 The chef at Paet Rio has successful restaurants in Manhattan but has a more authentic menu in Queens.
Thai Chef Brings Soup Nazi-Assisted Recipes to Elmhurst Restaurant
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ELMHURST — The chef at a string of Manhattan restaurants has brought an "authentic" Thai menu — along with some pointers she picked up from the "Soup Nazi" — to her storefront on Broadway.

Nicky Phimpoy, 55, started Wondee Siam 18 years ago in Hell’s Kitchen, and opened her first Queens restaurant, Paet Rio, on Broadway and 81s Street last month.

Phimpoy’s most popular dishes are the pla nueng manan, a steamed fish dish, and her list of soups, which she cooks for hours — a tip she learned from Al Yeganeh, made famous in the Soup Nazi parody on "Seinfeld."

Their Manhattan restaurants were nearby and they swapped soup recipes, with Yeganeh, who owns the Original Soup Man chain of restaurants, recommending she cook the broth for as long as possible for maximum flavor.

“When you want to make a good soup, you need to cook for a long time,” she said.

The Elmhurst venture is named for the province in Thailand where she grew up and learned how to cook, honing her skills by preparing large feasts during holidays at her village’s temple, she said. 

Phimpoy brought some of those recipes to the new restaurant, which she’s designed to be more authentic for the neighborhood, which has a large Thai population.

“It’s 100 percent real Thai,” Phimpoy said. “What you have in Thailand, you can have here, too.”

Popular dishes include a por pia sod, which is a roll stuffed with sweet Chinese sausage served with chili sauce, and pla muek yang, a grilled squid dish.

Phimpoy met the co-owner of Paet Rio, Koi Kritikar, 36, while working together at Wondee Siam and both said they are happy to have branched out in Queens.

“It’s more authentic food for the people here,” she said.

A representative for Yeganeh did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

Paet Rio, 81-10 Broadway. Open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m to 2 a.m.