Beyond its well-known restaurants and charming cafes, Chennai boasts a rich street food scene that promises an explosion of flavours and aromas. It's a delightful notion to indulge in some of the city's signature dishes like crispy vadas, piping hot idlis, tangy pani puri, and creamy filter coffee to truly savour the essence of this coastal metropolis.
Our curated list features some of the most beloved establishments that dish out delectable treats, spanning the diverse spectrum of South Indian street cuisine.
The streets of Sowcarpet, where the aroma of delectable North Indian delicacies wafts through the air, one south-indian space stands out among the crowd - Seena Bhai. This renowned eatery has carved a niche for itself, earning a reputation for its exceptional Uthappam and Podi Idly. Locals and visitors alike flock to Seena Bhai to savour these South Indian delights, prepared with a mastery that speaks volumes of the culinary expertise honed over the years.
Moreover, Sowcarpet boasts a unique culinary treasure known as Thattu Idly. While the traditional Idly is small and spongy, Thattu Idly takes it to a whole new level. It's large, flat, generously served with Ghee and Podi, creating an explosion of flavors with every bite.
A must-try delicacy here is the versatile Kuzhi Paniyaram. This snack, enjoyed in both savory and sweet variations, shares a similar preparation method with idli, using black lentils and rice. While this specialty can be found throughout T. Nagar, for an authentic experience, head to Venkatesan Street. Also, the best drink to go with it is Jigarthanda made with precision using fresh, top-quality ingredients, which you can get at Madurai Famous Jigarthanda.
Besant Nagar & Marina Beach
Besant Nagar is heaven for food enthusiasts, offering a wide variety of dishes from various cuisines. Don't miss out on trying Sundal, a popular Chennai street food made with boiled chickpeas, onions, and coconut granules. Close to Bessie Beach, there is Murugan Idli which carries considerable popularity in the realm of South Indian cuisine. As implied by the name, they specialise in Idli and Dosa, along with a selection of other breakfast dishes. If you're at Marina Beach, indulge in delicious bhelpuri, panipuri, chaats, bhajis, and fresh seafood.
East Mada Road
In Chennai, when the rain pours, there's no better snack than bhajjis, the local rendition of pakoras. Along the East Mada Road, numerous roadside stalls specialise in serving these delectably spicy treats, perfectly complemented by an equally zesty chutney. For the ultimate bhajji experience, head to Makk Bhajji Shop, where you'll find the crispiest and most flavorful bhajjis in town.
Located in the southern part of the city, Mylapore is another popular destination for street food in Chennai. Bhajjis, like pakoras, are a favorite snack across India and hold a special place in the hearts of locals in Chennai. Served with a variety of chutneys, this crispy treat is a must-try. For a unique bhaji experience, make your way to Jannal Kadai, a quaint shop with a window in Mylapore, promising a taste of tradition with every delectable bite.
These street food spots offer a diverse range of flavours, from classic South Indian items to North Indian snacks and refreshing beverages. Whether you're in the mood for traditional favorites or seeking something new, Chennai's street food scene has something to satisfy every palate.
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