The city of Chennai which was formerly known as Madras is one of the biggest cities of South India. Nicknamed as “The Detroit of India”, it is one of the metropolia of India and serves as the gateway of the culture of South India. The city has a lot more to offer than south Indian dishes like idli and dosa. From atho to bhajji and puttu to a huge variety of chaats, the street food in Chennai is famous throughout the nation.
So, do not miss out on these delicious street foods in Chennai that will satisfy your hunger pangs without burning a hole in your pocket.
List of 15 best street food in Chennai
So, here is a list of 15 best street food that should not be missed under any circumstances.
Idli is one of the most famous South Indian street foods you can find in Chennai. It can be found in almost every street in Chennai. Idlis are made with fermented rice batter and are served with sambhar and coconut chutney. These idlis are super healthy since no oil is used in making them. They are fluffy, light and make a perfect breakfast option.
Best Place to Have:Murugan Idly Shop, Idly Express and Idly Factory.
Atho is originally a Burmese dish but is quite famous in Chennai. They are orange-coloured noodles that are then fried with a mix of sauteed veggies, spices and meat. Although, you can find vegetarian atho at many places in Chennai but non-vegetarian atho like Chicken Atho and egg atho are most popular.
So, do not miss this scrumptious dish that will satiate your cravings for spicy food.
Best Place to Have:Atho Man- G.A. Road, Atho Corner- CNK Road, Mulberry Star Burma Atho Shop- MKN Road & Aziz’s Atho Stall- George Town.
Bhajjis are a south Indian version to pakodas and are quite popular among Chennai locals. The bhajjis are soft fritters and are served with tangy chutney that is best for a rainy day. You can easily find these spicy and delicious Bhajjis on the streets of Chennai.
Best Place to Have:Jannal Kadai- Mylapore, Bajji shop in Adyar and Mak N Bhajji Shop.
Chaat is a street food that is loved in every part of India. Chennai thus has a huge variety of delicious street food that is a great hit among locals. The variety of chaats is well balanced and has several ingredients with lots of spices. A few of these chaats are aloo tikki, chana chaat, aloo chaat and papdi chaat.
We recommend you to try these delicious street style chaat whenever you visit Chennai.
Best Place to Have:Hemanth Chats, Kakada Ramprasad Chats and Sweets, Ganga Chats.
Also visit Vishnu’s Pani puris, Gangotree and Shree Mithai to snack on crispy and spicy panipuris.
Puttu is a staple for many households in Chennai. The dish is made with rice and coconuts, mixed with a few spices and then steamed in puttu kutti vessels. It is then garnished with crushed coconuts and sugar.
Usually, the dish is made with normal rice but there are a few places that prepare this dish with black rice. They are nominally priced and are very filling, so, do give these a shot.
Best Place to Have:Maplai, Nair Mess, and Ente Keralam.
No introduction is needed to describe these crunchy and lightweight and amazing dosas. Dosas are the staple food of South India and are served with sambhar and coconut chutney. They usually have a stuffing of boiled potatoes or onions but plain dosa is also very popular.
Dosas are very reasonable and are a must-try when visiting Chennai.
Best Place to Have:Remix Dosa, Krishna Dosa Kadai and Dosart.
Uttapam is a South Indian dish and is prepared using fermented rice batter. It is like dosa but is softer and is served with sambhar and chutney. Also Uttapams have vegetables filled inside it and the most popular version of Uttapams is the onion uttapam. But you may choose the filling according to your likings.
Best Place to Have:Seena Bhai Tiffin Centre, Saravana Bhavan, Anachi Dosai Kada and Ratna Cafe.
Jalebi is a sweet snack that is popular all over India. It is made by deep-frying maida into a circular shape and then soaking the jalebis in sugar syrup. The dish tastes best when served with Rabri as it enhances the flavour of sweet and sticky jalebis.
The jalebis are crispy, warm, sweet and are a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Best Place to Have:Ram Prasad’s Jalebi stall, Shubh and Rotiwala.
Samosas are a very popular go-to snack, especially in North India. They are a perfect snack for a rainy day and are served with mint chutney and sweet yet tangy tamarind chutney. The samosas are a fried pastry made with all-purpose flour and have a filling of potatoes, peas and spices. Traditionally, they are shaped like triangular cones but the shape could differ according to the regions.
Do give this lip-smacking and spicy deep-fried delicacy a try that is reasonable and can be found easily in Chennai.
Best Place to Have:Sri Karpagambal Kapali Sweet Stall, The Samosa Factory & Samosa Treat.
Also, try the delightful onion samosas if you ever visit Sri Karpagambal Kapali Sweet Stall in Mylapore.
Sundal is a street dish that is made using boiled chickpeas, raw mangoes, mixed with onions and assortment of spices, herbs and topped with coconuts. It is an exotic street food that is found on many beaches in Chennai.
Sundal is a must try and we guarantee that you will fall in love with this street food of Chennai.
Best Place to Have:Mathsya, OSB hot and chat, Marina Beach & Royal Sandwich.
11. Kuzhi Paniyaram
Kuzhi Paniyaram is locally known as Paddu and can be eaten as sweet or savoury. The dish is made using only two ingredients- black lentils and rice and is made in a special mould. Locals love both the sweet and savoury flavour of kuzhi paniyaram. So, why don’t you try both the versions and decide for yourself which one is better
Best Place to Have:Venkatesan Street, The Old Madras Cafe, Murugan Idli Shop and Dakshina Puram.
Idiyappam is a breakfast dish that is like an Indian version of noodles. The noodles are prepared with rice flour and are served in a ring-like design. The noodles are served with curry and coconut milk. It is one of the most popular dishes of south India and can easily be found in street-side stalls in the city.
If you love noodles then you must definitely try this delicious dish while in Chennai.
Best Place to Have:ID, Kaaraikudi and Kozhi Idli.
13. Kothu Parotta
Parotta is a flatbread that is similar to Lachha Parantha of North India. The flatbread is made from flour. Kothu Parotta is made with shredded parotta which is mixed with meat, egg and vegetables. It is a specialty of Chennai and can be found in restaurants as well as street side stalls.
Best Place to Have:Thambi Vilas, Madurai Kumar Mess, and Maplai.
Murukku is a deep-fried crunchy snack that means ‘twisted’ in Tamil. It is prepared from a combination of gram flour and rice flour, salt, cumin seeds, chilli powder and asafoetida. The dish is deep-fried and has a Jalebi like appearance. They are best served with tea or coffee and are quite popular.
Murukku sandwich is also popular which contains tomato, cucumber, onions and mint chutney between two murukku pieces. Do try this crunchy snack that is very popular among locals.
Best Place to Have:Links- Purasawakkam, Ajanabi, Feastinn, 3 Star Murukku Shop & The Grand Sweets and Snacks.
This drink is healthy and is quite popular during the summers in Chennai. Jigarthanda means ‘cool heart’ and like its name, it is a cold and refreshing drink. The dish is popular among the younger generation and is reasonable as a glass costs INR 50.
The best part is it has ice cream in it. So, what more can one ask for?
Best Place to Have:Madurai Famous Jigarthanda, OMR Jigarthanda, Hanifa Jigarthanda & Jigarthanda Triplicane Chennai.
Chennai is famous for its street food and the best part is that it will not cost you much to try these delicious delicacies. So, visit the city of Chennai and try for yourself the vibrant food culture of this amazing city.