The name of the new Burmese restaurant on Thornton Avenue in Fremont is a mouthful: Kyain Kyain – Main Main Kyay Oh & See Chat Kout Swe.
The good news is that you can probably get away with simply referring to it as “the Burmese restaurant,” since it’s the only one in Fremont and the Tri-Cities (not counting Donut Delight Oriental Pastries in Union City, which I just learned via Yelp serves Burmese food on weekends).
According to co-owner Charkming Chin, the restaurant’s long-winded name incorporates Chin and his business partner’s names — Chin’s nickname is “Main;” his partner, “Kyain” — and two of their staple dishes. Kyay oh is a popular Burmese soup dish and kout swe is coconut milk chicken curry with noodles.
In an ethnically diverse community such as the Tri-Cities, it’s surprising that there aren’t any other Burmese restaurants in the area — not that competition would pose much of a threat; the quality of food and price-to-portion ratio at Kyain Kyain – Main Main Kyay Oh is tough to match.
Located at 3649 Thornton Ave. next to Satomi Sushi, the quaint and cozy restaurant’s main dishes range from $5.50 for their kout swe to a $10 for their Chili Onion Garlic Dried Shrimp, the sole item at that not-so-whopping price. And their servings are ample.
For $7.99, their yellow rice with chicken comes with two meaty drumsticks and a heaping mound of yellow rice with peas, raisins and nuts. It’s Ming’s interpretation of biryani, a popular Indian rice plate. The curry sauce isn’t as bold or heavy as in Indian food, but delicious nonetheless. It’s become one of their most popular items, according to Chin.
“It’s so famous, it’s all sold out by 6 p.m.,” Chin said.
The popularity of Chin’s food is what inspired him to open the restaurant.
“I have a big family,” the 50-year-old restaurateur said.
One of 10 siblings, Chin became the go-to cook for family functions and on weekends. “Everyone was so eager to try my food,” Chin said.
Chin and his partner keep that family feeling going at their restaurant. All of the dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients and their broths made straight from the bone. The staff is friendly and helpful, taking the time to explain each of their items.
Despite only being open for a month and not having any publicity, the cash-only restaurant is quickly becoming a destination for local foodies. The restaurant fills up fast during lunchtime, and its already received more than a dozen rave reviews on Yelp from both seasoned eaters and Burmese beginners.
"I don't know Burmese food, but I know great tasting food, and this restaurant was delicious," one patron wrote on Yelp.
Try it yourself and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Kyain Kyain – Main Main Oh & See Chat Kout Swe is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 8 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.