13 of the Best Street Foods in Chennai

The city of Chennai means serene and beautiful beaches, magnificent temples, a rich cultural heritage, and not to forget, an array of mouthwatering foods. Its streets would offer you anything from dosa, idli, and idiyappam to noodle and rice dishes, with the most famous street food hubs being the Triplicane neighborhood, Mylapore belt, and the T. Nagar area. Here is a list of some of the top street foods in Chennai.Street Foods in Chennai

Dosa – A Crispy Pancake with Dip

Dosa Street Food in Chennai

Dosa, a paper-thin pancake made from a rice batter, is either eaten plain or stuffed with properly cooked and spiced mashed potatoes. Hot sambar (vegetable stew made with lentils) and coconut chutney (dip) are eaten as accompaniments.

Varieties: Rava dosa (prepared with semolina that makes it even crispier); Muttai dosa (made with stuffings of egg); Podi dosa (sprinkled with podi, a coarse powder made from dried spices such as chilies, chickpeas, and sesame seeds)

Best places to get it:

Dosart, Kilpauk; Krishna’s Dosa Kadai, Mogappair; Remix Dosa, Kodambakkam; Koyembedu Bus Terminus area; streets surrounding the Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore

Approximate cost:

Rs 20 to 50 (Plain dosa); Rs 30 to 60 (Masala dosa); Rs 60 to 80 (Rava dosa)

Idli – Round-Shaped Savory Rice Cake

Idli Best Street Food in Chennai

Though in the recent times you will get idli anywhere in India, its authentic taste and unique flavor could perhaps be found in South India only. Prepared by steaming a batter of rice and black lentils in a mold made specifically for idlis, it is often served on banana leaves, coupled with sambar, as well as coconut and mint or tamarind chutney.

Varieties: Rawa idli (made with semolina); Thattu idli (as big as a plate, coated with chili powder that has been mixed in ghee); Podi idli (sprinkled with podi)

Best places to get it:

Idli Xpress (provides chicken or fish curry and a serving of podi as a side dish), Velachery; Murugan Idli shop (serves various dips like mint, tomato, coconut and coriander with idli), T. Nagar; Idli Factory, Mylapore; Ratna Café, Triplicane

Approximate cost:

Rs 14-20 (1 piece plain idli); Rs 20-30 (2pieces plain idli); Rs 25-40 (ghee podi idli)

Sundal – Chennai’s Favorite Beach Snack

Sundal Chennai Famous Beach Street Food

Boiled chickpeas topped with pieces of chopped onions, raw mangoes, and coconut, seasoned with several spices and a dash of asafetida, this is what sundal is all about. Served in paper cones, vendors selling sundal are mostly seen in the beach area.

Best places to get it:

Marina beach area; O.S.B Hot & Chat, West Mambalam; Royal Sandwich Shop, Alwarpet

Approximate cost:

Rs 10- 20 per cone

Idiyappam – A Noodle-Like Breakfast Dish

Idiyappam Indian Street Food Chennai

Popular in Chennai and other South Indian states, it has rice flour, salt, and water as its main ingredients. Its noodle-like shape is attained by putting the dough in an idiyappam pressing machine. This dish comes with veg or non-veg curry or even a coconut dip.

Best places to get it:

ID, Royapettah; Kozhi Idli, Adyar

Approximate cost:

Rs 90 (2 pieces with a side dish); Rs 100 (4 pieces with a side dish)

Bhajji – Crispy Vegetable Fritters

Bhajji Good Street Food in Chennai

An instant hit in Chennai, bhajjis are crispy, spicy fritters prepared by dipping slices of potato, capsicum, onion or any other vegetable into a batter of gram flour and deep frying. Bondas, their close cousin, is also prepared in a similar way, the only difference being their round shape. Both bhajjis and bondas are a delight to have when teamed with a hot cup of coffee.

Varieties: Mirchi bhajji (stuffed with capsicum); Onion bhajji; Alu bhajji (filling of potato); Bread bhajji

Best places to get it:

Mak N Bhajji Shop, Triplicane; Jannal Kadai Window Bajji stall, Mylapore; Nair Mess, Triplicane

Approximate cost:

Rs 12-15 per piece

Atho – A Traditional Burmese Noodle Dish

Atho Burmese Street Food in Chennai

The influence of Burmese cuisine on Chennai is prominent, all because of the immigrants from Burma who settled here in the 1960s, atho being one such popular food. It is a crispy, tangy, dish, orange in color (because of the food coloring), made by cooking the noodles, tossing them in fried onions, garlic, shredded cabbage, roasted grams and chili flakes, before garnishing with a dash of lemon juice and coriander leaves.

 Varieties: Egg atho, Chicken atho, Prawn atho

Best places to get it:

Stalls at Burma Bazar, George Town (adjacent to Parry’s Corner); Atho Man, Washermenpet; Sandwich Corner and Atho Corner, Madipakkam; Mulberry Star Burma Atho Shop, Thiruvalluvar Nagar

Approximate cost:

Rs 50-70 (Veg Atho); Rs 70 to 80 (Egg Atho); Rs 90 to 100 (Chicken Atho)

Jigarthanda – A Refreshing Beverage

Jigarthanda Local Street Food of Chennai

Translating to a ‘cool heart’, Jigarthanda, originating in Madurai and equally popular in Chennai, is a refreshing summer drink sold mostly in May and June. It is prepared with milk, badam pisin (almond gum), ice cream and nannari syrup herbal syrup).

Best places to get it:

Madurai Vilakuthoon Hanifa Jigarthanda, T. Nagar; Maplai, Nungambakkam; Murugan Idli Shop, Anna Nagar East; Jigar Rose, OMR Food Street, Navallur

Approximate cost:

Rs 30-40 (Mini); Rs 60-70 (Regular)

Puttu – Steamed Rice Cake

Puttu Top Street Food at Chennai

A popular breakfast snack in Kerala, puttu is sought after in Chennai too. Made by steaming ground rice (rarely, black rice is used) and grated coconut, it is mostly eaten with kadala (black chickpea) curry. Egg or fish curry, banana and jackfruit can also be teamed with it.

Best places to get it:

Near the Usman Road Flyover area (black rice puttu sold by a street vendor, Mohammad Ismail); Maplai, Nungambakkam

Approximate cost:

Rs 50-60 (without curry)

Uttapam – A Tasty Breakfast Snack

Uttappam Vegetarian Street Food in Chennai

A pancake similar to dosa, uttappam is however not as crispy but has a thick texture. Made by frying a batter of rice and lentils, it is topped with chilies, onion, coriander, tomato, and capsicum. Hot sambar, coconut and tamarind chutneys are served with this dish.

Varieties: Onion uttapam; Tomato uttapam; Ghee uttapam

Best places to get it:

Deepam Tiffin Center Menu, Adambakkam; Murugan Idli Shop, Anna Nagar East

Approximate cost:

Rs 60-70

Kuzhi Paniyaram – Sweet or Spicy Balls

Kuzhi Paniyaram Cheap Street Food in Chennai

Made from a batter of rice and black lentils, the preparation process is similar to idli. Its USP lies in the scope of versatility it offers, as you can pass it off as a dessert (when jaggery, sugar, and pieces of coconut are added to the batter) or as a spicy savory (when green chilies and other spices are a part of the batter).

Best places to get it:

Areas surrounding Venkatesan Street (a vendor sells the spicy and sweet variety on a cart); The Old Madras café, Semmancheri; Murugan Idli Shop, Anna Nagar East

Approximate cost:

Rs 50 (4 pieces)

Kothu Parotta – Shredded Flatbread Dish

Kothu Parotta Chennai Ramadan Street Food

An amazing platter of shredded parotta (flatbread) mixed with a curry (veg or non-veg), alongside chili, ginger-garlic paste, pepper powder and other spices. Mostly eaten during Ramadan, street side stalls uniquely serve them on banana leaves, providing coconut or tomato dips as accompaniments.

Varieties: Chicken Kothu Parotta; Muttai or Egg Kothu Parotta; Mutton Kothu Parotta; Chilli Parotta

Best places to get it:

Grand Fast Food, Anna Nagar East; fast food joints near Choolaimedu;

Approximate cost:

Rs 60 to 70 (Chilli Parotta); Rs 80 to 90 (Egg Parotta); Rs 90 to 110 (Chicken Parotta)

Kalaan Masala – A Tasty Mushroom Dish

Kalan Chennai Street Food

Originally from Coimbatore, it is prepared by frying the mushroom in a batter of flour, cooking it with spices and onions, and garnishing it with a dash of lemon, coriander leaves, bhujia (crispy snack) and chopped onions.

Best places to get it:

The Kalaan Shop near Arcot Road, Kodambakkam

Approximate cost:

Rs 20 to 30

Murukku Sandwich – A Fusion Snack

Murukku Sandwich Street Food of Chennai

An innovative experimentation with murukku, the famous coiled deep-fried savory of the South, where tomato, cucumber slices are inserted between two murukkus, with a mint sauce, to give it a sandwich-like look.

Varieties: Murukku cheese sandwich (a slice of cheese added)

Best places to get it:

Links, Purasavakkam

Approximate cost:

Rs 50 (Plain Murukku Sandwich); Rs 70 (Cheese Murukku Sandwich)

Food in Chennai is not just restricted to South Indian dishes; it excels in providing an array of North Indian (chole bhature, samosa, kulfi) and Chinese delicacies (chowmein, chicken Manchurian) as well. During the month of Ramadan, some parts of Chennai, particularly the Triplicane area, are a delight to visit with almost every stall presenting a host of lip-smacking dishes vadas, cutlets, sherbets, and puffs.

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