South Indian dishes really are a delight to eat and Chennai, being one of the major metro cities in this peninsular region, is a hub for all the delicious recipes. Its mouth-watering street food will surely make you visit the city again and again. So, without further ado, let’s know how foods in Chennai are different yet so delicious!

1. Idli

Idli; Source: Archana's Kitchen

One of the most popular South Indian breakfasts, Idli is a type of savoury rice cake made by steaming a batter of fermented black lentils and rice. It is often served alongside the delicious sambar, which is a type of lentil-based vegetable stew. Many times other things like cool coconut sauce and different spices are also added to the plate to make it all the more finger-licking. Idli is in fact one of the healthiest foods. So, now you can enjoy tasty food while losing weight at the same time. What a dream come true situation, right?

Must-visit Spots:

  • Murugan Idli Shop: 149/1, 6th Avenue, Opposite Vilankanni Church, Besant Nagar
  • Idly Express: 6, Venkateshwara Nagar, 2nd Main Road, Off 100 feet Bypass Road, Near Simran’s Appa Kadai, Velachery
  • Triplicane Ratna cafe: Triplicane High Road, Triplicane

2. Atho

Atho; Source: Holidify

Atho is a type of wheat noodle salad made with veggies, shrimp, and grated with lime, garlic oil, and chili powder. It gets its crunch from peanuts and bejo which is a crispy deep-fried snack. It will be a perfect dish for you if you don’t like too much spicy food.

It is in fact a variation of a Burmese salad. So, with this dish, you’ll be able to try out two cuisines at a time. Killing two birds with one stone now, aren’t we?

Must-visit Spots:

  • Atho Man: 86/2, Cemetery Rd, Mottai Thottam, Royapuram
  • Burma Atho Kadai: EB Office, Mettukuppam Mani road, Viswasa Nagar, Opposite MMDA Colony, Maduravoyal
  • Atho Street Food: SH 114, Parry's Corner, George Town

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3. Uttapam

Uttapam; Source:

You must have tried different types of South Indian dosas and you might even be a fan of the dish. Well, Uttapam is a type of dosa only with a slight variation that it is thicker, with toppings. It is known by different names in different parts of South India but the authentic taste remains the same everywhere. The oats and veggies variations of uttapam are considered very healthy and hence, make up an important part of South Indians’ daily meals who prefer a low-fat diet.

Must-visit Spots:

  • Mathsya Egmore: 1, Tamil Salai, KVN Puram, Egmore
  • Ratna Cafe: Triplicane High Rd, Triplicane
  • Murugan Idly Kadai: Virudhunagar Nadar Mansion, 1113, Poonamallee High Rd, Park Town

4. Bhaji

Bhaji; Source: WhiskAffair

A spicy hot vegetable snack, Bhaji is a popular dish in the Indian subcontinent, especially in Chennai. You can have chilli bhaji, potato bhaji, or even bread bhaji!. Bread bhaji is something you might recognise by the name of bread pakoda. It goes great with a cup of tea or coffee and of course, monsoon!

Must-visit Spots:

  • Nair Mess: No.22, Mohammed Abdullah Sahib, 2nd St, Chepauk
  • Mak N Bajji Shop: 58-30, Nalla Thambi St, near Pa, Narayana Krishnaraja Puram, Triplicane
  • Mylapore Jannal Kadai: 12, 1, Ponnambala Vadhyar St, Vinayaka Nagar Colony, Mylapore

5. Kothu Parotta

Kothu Parotta; Source: Licious

Also known as flaky ribbon pancake, Kothu Parotta is a layered flatbread made with all-purpose flour. It is quite popular at weddings and religious feasts. In North India, paranthas are usually stuffed with vegetables and served with yogurt but here in South India, kothu parotta is a dish made up of shredded parottas mixed with egg, chicken, fish, mutton, spicy sauce and vegetable korma. The dish actually originated in Sri Lanka and the Tamil workers brought it to India. Guess, we really need to thank them for this noble act.

Must-visit Spots:

  • Maplai: No.14, Sterling Rd, Nungambakkam
  • Thambi Villas: C43, 2nd Avenue, 12th Main Rd, Anna Nagar West
  • Madurai Kumar Mess: No 165, 167, Jawaharlal Nehru Rd, Sarvamangala Colony, Aruna Colony, Vadapalani

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6. Idiyappam

Idiyappam; Source: Flavors of Mumbai

Popularly known by the names of string hopper, nool puttu and chomai, idiyappam is a kind of rice noodle dish made from rice flour. The noodles are beautifully woven into a flat disc shape and then steamed. It is accompanied by different kinds of tasty curries such as chicken and fish curries or a vegetable stew. The dish is rich in fibers and minerals too so you won’t have to worry about your health while gobbling down a plate full of these mouth-watering strings.

Must-visit Spots:

  • Kozhi Idli: New No.155, Avvai Shanmugam Salai, Road, Royapettah
  • ID

7. Kuzhi Paniyaram

Kuzhi Paniyaram; Source: iD Fresh Food

These cute little dumplings called Kuzhi Paniyaram are usually made from rice and urad dal batter. You can also make them with your leftover idli batter. These dumplings are made in a special pan called Paniyaram chatti. If you are vegan, then this is a must-try for you. In addition, they are gluten-free as well! What more can you ever desire?

Must-visit Spots:

  • Murugan Idli Shop
  • Sangeetha Veg Restaurant
  • The old Madras Cafe:  9, 127, Old Mahabalipuram Rd, Sholinganallur

8. Sundal

Sundal; Source: Maunika Gowardhan

Sundal is a very auspicious South Indian dish that is usually prepared for naivedyam or prasad for poojas. It can be prepared using different legumes but the one with white chickpeas is the most famous in Chennai. It is basically a stir-fried dish made with spiced dry legume-lentil ingredients, tempered along with fresh coconut. Being a delicious and nutritious dish, it can fit right into your diet plan.

Must-visit Spots:

  • Mathsya
  • Royal Sandwich
  • OSB Hot and Chaat: 82, Lake View Rd, Ramakrishnapuram, West Mambalam

9. Murukku

Murukku; Source: Tickling palates

This savoury and crunchy snack derives its name from the Tamil word for ‘twisted’, as you can notice in the picture. You might adore it by the name of Chakli. It is a fried snack prepared from many kinds of flour including rice flour, wheat flour, and lentil flour, and compliments with cumin, onion powder, or chilli. Since it is a deep-fried snack so you might want to eat it in moderation.

Must-visit Spots:

  • The Grand Sweets and Snacks: Krishna Castle, 5/1, 5, 1st Ave, Shastri Nagar, Adyar
  • Sri Krishna Sweets: No. 4, Gandhi Nagar 1st Main Rd, near Madhya Kailash, Sangeetha Hotel, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar

So, here we looked at some amazing Chennai dishes and got to know quite a lot about them. We hope you’ll enjoy visiting these places and get to taste them all. Also, if you are a big foodie and you want to visit Chennai to quench this thirst of yours for unique dishes then we have a surprise for you! MiStay is India’s largest hourly hotel booking platform and it can help you to save both money and time on your next delicious getaway. Check out the best hourly hotels in Chennai here!