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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Chin Star Asian Cuisine & Myanmar Restaurant (Decatur)

Toddler Foodie Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Gummy Bears

:) = The only restaurant in Metro Atlanta serving authentic, delicious Burmese food.  Clean, spacious dining area.  Friendly and attentive staff.  Diverse menu includes very kid-friendly Chinese and Thai staples, such as fried rice, chicken wings, noodles,and tom yum soup, in addition to traditional Burmese dishes.  A really unique dining experience. 

:( =  The restaurant is located right at a busy intersection on Memorial Drive, in an area heavily patrolled by DeKalb County police.  However, diners who are unfamiliar with this area may prefer to visit during lunch or early evening.  

4761 Memorial Drive
Decatur, GA 30032
Tel:  404-975-3041
Hours: M-F, 9-9
Sat, Sun, 8:30-8:30 

Today we had the opportunity to visit a brand new restaurant in town called Chin Star Asian Cuisine.  Chin Star serves various standard Asian dishes, but is currently the only Metro Atlanta restaurant offering authentic Burmese cuisine

Chin Star is owned and operated by Mr. Biak, a native of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) who came to the United States as a refugee in 2008.  We've heard the word "refugee" before.  Mommy has told us stories about how Daddy came to the U.S. as a refugee from Vietnam.  She said refugees leave their homes so they will be safe from war, violence, and mean people who might hurt them. 

When Mr. Biak lived in Myanmar, he loved to cook and often made meals for family and friends' parties. He fled Myanmar in 2006 because of the civil war in that country and settled in Malaysia, where he opened a small restaurant.  In 2008 he got permission to come to the U.S. and permanently resettled here.  In September 2014, Mr. Biak opened Chin Star.  The restaurant now serves as a popular weekend gathering place for local Burmese families who want to socialize, watch soccer, and eat authentic Burmese-Chin dishes.

Excited to try Burmese food for the first time, we arrived at Chin Star around 11:45 AM, before the restaurant filled up with its usual Sunday lunch crowd. We were accompanied by our Burmese friend, Mr. Nun, who assisted us with ordering almost every Burmese dish on the menu.  In a short time, our table was filled with steaming plates of exotic-looking food.

Our huge spread of yummy Burmese dishes.
Clockwise from left (dishes described in detail below):  Palata, lahpet thoke,
pork and vegetable stir-fry, ba kut te, samusa, Myanmar team, & mot hinn kha
Mommy and Daddy ordered authentic Myanmar tea to drink (iced or hot tea made with special tea leaves unique to Myanmar, flavored with sweet condensed milk).  They said it tasted like flowers.  We started our meal with vegetable samusas and palata.  The samusas were just like Indian samosas, but the dipping sauce was really different. The sauce was made with sweet-sour tamarind paste, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce.  The palata was filled with cooked egg and served with a side of curry soup with dal (a type of lentil).  Mommy said it tasted like Malaysian roti.  We loved both the samusas and the palata, and we amused ourselves by saying the word "roti" over and over again as we dipped the palata into the curry soup.

Tiny hand grabbing a samusa with tamarind sauce.
Palatas with curry broth for dipping.
Next came the soup.  We tried two different soups:  ba kut te (a Malaysian-style pork and Chinese broccoli soup cooked in a duck sauce infused-broth) and mot hinn kha (a traditional Burmese soup made with a fish-based broth similar to French boullabaisse, topped with rice noodles and crispy dal fritters). We didn't mind the ba kut te - it had a salty-sweet taste that blended nicely with the tender and somewhat fatty cuts of pork cooked in the soup.  But we absolutely loved, and each ate two bowls of, the mot hinn kha.  The noodles were chewy and went perfectly with the crunchy bites of dal fritters, and the soup had a subtle fishy taste that was cut by the tangy lime juice.  We especially enjoyed squeezing fresh lime juice into our soup bowls.

"Must. Not. Squeeze. Into. Eye."
After trying the soups, we had a couple entrees:  pork and vegetable stir-fry served with fresh tomatoes and lahpet thoke, a salad featuring pickled tea leaves, dried shrimp, roasted dal.  Lahpet thoke is a very traditional Burmese dish which Mr. Biak said is sold by street vendors all over Myanmar.  The lahpet thoke was a little too spicy for us, but Mommy and Daddy loved it and said they had never tasted anything like it before.  We really enjoyed the stir-fry, though. The tomatoes were a neat addition that added a cool, sweet bite to the dish. The main dishes were served with rice and fresh cucumber slices.  

"That salad is spiiiiiicy!  I'll let Mommy and
Daddy eat it all."
Overall, we really enjoyed this brand new food experience.  Eating at Chin Star reminded us that dining out and trying new types of cuisine is not just about filling our tummies with delicious food.  It's also about supporting local business owners and learning their stories through the meals they take time to prepare and serve to us.  We can't wait to go back to Chin Star, and we hope you will have a chance to visit them one day, too.  


Note from the Toddler Foodies
The Metro Atlanta cities of Clarkston, Stone Mountain, and Decatur are home to many newly resettled refugees from conflict-torn countries all over the world. Here is a website you can visit to learn more about Atlanta's refugee populations and the local organizations that help them settle into their new lives in the United States.  



  1. What an awesome review. I don't have toddlers anymore but loved your insight. I'm from Decatur originally and will definitely check out this restaurant.

    1. Thank you! We're so glad to hear that. Atlanta has yet to discover the joys of Burmese food, so we really want to see Chin Star do well.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this great review for my friend Biak's restaurant---it's pretty much the only online mention they have at the moment (hopefully that'll change as they grow) but you give a great description of what makes the place stand out. I'll definitely be directing people to check out your review when I'm encouraging them to go there to eat!

    1. You are most welcome! We really enjoyed our visit and learned a lot about Burmese cuisine while we were there. We hope many more people will have a chance to visit Chin Star and taste Biak's delicious cooking.