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Vongsaly brings passion for Thai cuisine to new downtown restaurant
in business-juju thai
Judy Vongsaly takes a plate of drunken noodles to a customer at her newest restaurant, Ju Ju Thai Cuisine, in downtown Turlock. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal

Name of Business: Ju Ju Thai Cuisine

Type of Business: Thai restaurant

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sundays

Location: 235 W. Main St., Turlock

Contact information: (209) 815-8424

History of Business: Judy Vongsaly grew up around the restaurant business. Her dad and uncle are both chefs and well-known in the Thai food community. That love of Thai cuisine was passed on and after spending 13 years working in finance, Vongsaly finally decided to start making her own mark in the family business. She started out doing catering while still working full-time in finance, but three years in she knew that food was now her life.

Now, with over 20 years of experience in the industry and after opening two restaurants — one in Fremont and one in Modesto — Vongsaly has brought her love of Thai cuisine to downtown Turlock.

"Turlock needed a Thai restaurant; a good place to eat," said Vongsaly.

She chose the W. Main Street location because of the downtown's "family-oriented" atmosphere and many boutique shops. She took over the site of the former Chinese restaurant in June and has spent the last three months remodeling. Vongsaly opened Ju Ju Thai Cuisine last week and has already been warmly welcomed by the community.

"Now I'm here and I'm never leaving. The people here are all wonderful," she said.

Business Specialty: Vongsaly enticed her father to move back to the West Coast from Atlanta to run the kitchen of Ju Ju Cuisine, and his dishes have been perfected over the years. According to Vongsaly, the Basil Stir Fry is Ju Ju Thai Cuisine's signature dish.

"It has a lot of flavor. Thai cuisine uses a lot of basil," she said.

Vongsaly said the restaurant's Pad Thai dish has a secret ingredient that makes it unique and keeps customers coming back for more.

Other dishes Vongsaly recommends are the deep fried bananas and sticky rice with mango, which includes rice that has been marinated in coconut milk, topped with sliced mangos and then a coconut glaze is poured on top.