The Christiane Chronicles: Here’s how you ruin ribs

Plus: Do yourself a service and try the Burmese cuisine at Royal Myanmar
Christiane Chronicles

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

Bad to the Bone
I recently tasted 19 plates of ribs smoked by some of our best local chefs for the Smoke and Glory charity event in Oakhurst. One version blew me away, two or three were pretty good, and the rest ended up in the “no” pile.

Smoked ribs must be tender but not mushy, and deep pink on the inside with a dark burnish on the outside. Contrary to popular opinion, the meat should not be falling off the bone. On the other hand, my fellow judges and I should not have had to forcefully wrench the meat away with our teeth.

Then there’s the quirk factor. The ribs that had been deboned, shredded, and packed into wonton wrappers? They finished dead last. Other crimes against ribs include parboiling them, smoking them until they taste like cigarette butts, and deep-frying them. (Yes, this happens.)

So here’s a gift from me to you: the names of two chefs whom I trust to smoke ribs the right way. Ex-fine-dining honcho Dave Roberts of Community Q and the best new pit master in town, Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ Barbeque. Go forth and gnaw.

Royal Myanmar
Lah pet thoke (top) and pork meatball soup at Royal Myanmar

Photograph by Caroline C. Kilgore

Say Hello to Burma
Like a will-o’-the-wisp, Burmese cuisine makes rare and beguiling app­ear­ances on the Atlanta dining land­scape. Prior to the modest, family­-run Royal Myanmar, which opened last fall in a Clarkston strip mall, our city had been home to just two short-lived Burmese restaurants in the past 30 years.

Known as Burma until 1989, Myanmar is one of the only places in the world where tea leaves are eaten. On first glance at Royal Myanmar’s menu, you may think briefly of India, Thailand, or Vietnam, but work your way through a platter of lah pet thoke—a fermented tea leaf salad with crunchy peanuts, fried garlic, and yellow peas—and you’ll discover that Burmese food tastes like nothing else.

Pro tip: Look for owner Zo Mawi’s homemade fer­m­en­ted shrimp and chile paste, which is sold in plastic tubs behind the counter. 1353 Brockett Road, Clarkston, 470-359-7157

This article originally appeared in our August 2017 issue.