Lunch with Chef Judi - 5/3

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Pho Cali is my “go to place”. It feels like home with fresh, delicious and authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

Open for lunch and dinner but closed on Sundays, the noodle soup bowls are amazing and the #79 with grilled pork is my favorite.

Watch the video and we will show you how to eat the Vietnamese pancake with pork and shrimp- messy but voted best appetizer in Sarasota! I love the fresh shrimp spring rolls- low in calories and light for the summer heat. Shrimp pad thai – believe it or not in a Vietnamese restaurant is OUTSTANDING as well

Mango bubble tea is so cool and refreshing and the sizzling fish- yum!

Fresh Vietnamese Spring Rolls w/ Peanut Dipping Sauce (Serves 6)

1 dz Jumbo Shrimp

6 Dried Rice Paper

Romaine Lettuce

Mint Sprigs

Thai Basil Sprigs

½ Package Dried Vermicelli Noodle Sticks

½ lb. Mung Bean Sprouts

2 pint peanut sauce* (see recipe)

Preparing filing:

Boil Vermicelli Noodles in hot water until soft and rinse with cool water immediately. Set aside for later use.

Peel and devein shrimp, boil shrimp and cool immediately with ice bath. Strain all the water out and slice shrimp in half. Set aside for later use.

Wash lettuce and shred into workable size. Wash bean sprouts, mint and basil (do not use stems). Drain until completely dry, otherwise it will be too wet to roll and will break rice paper.

Find a large bowl and fill with hot water. Dip the individual rice papers into the water and set on a large plate. Rice paper will be ready to roll in less than 1 minute. Place 4 shrimp half facing downward onto the rice paper first. Put enough of lettuce, mint, basil, and vermicelli noodles as you like. Roll bottom of paper upward halfway. Fold sides of paper inwards. Lastly roll the rest of the roll upwards to the top. You are ready to enjoy your spring roll. 

Peanut Sauce:

2 cups of Hoisin Sauce (Available at Vietnamese Supermarket)

½ cup smooth peanut butter

Mix until smooth and set aside. Top with crushed peanuts if preferred.


Ginger Fish (Serves 2)

Three 4 ounce boneless fish filets

2 ounces fresh shredded ginger

3 stalks scallion

½ Spanish onion

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar


Shred ginger, scallions and onions and set aside.

Wash fish filets and pat dry with paper towel. Lightly season filets with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat frying pan and coat with oil on medium heat. Lightly coat filets with all-purpose flour. Fry the filets on each side for approximately 7 minutes or until done. Put fish filets on a large plate. Mix soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl and pour on top of fish.

In a separate pan, sautéed onions and ginger for about one minute, then add scallions and top the fish with the mixture. Fish is ready to be served.


Culinary Director

As the Culinary Director for ABC 7, I whip up cooking segments on ABC 7 News at Noon, along with recipes, cooking tips, reviews and great food finds on MySuncoast Dining at