Push carts, sidewalk vendors, food trucks—even in rich metro cities, some of the best meals are found on their streets. Just like most of the cities in India, Chennai too boasts a vibrant street food culture. Its incredible culture reflects inits food palate too. If you think chaats and idlis are the only street foods Chennai is popular for, then you should certainly try the irresistible street foods like parottas, sundal, atho man, muttai curry, kozhi roast. Here’s a list of 15 best street foods in Chennai that’ll make you run for a bite.
Mouthwatering street food of Chennai
1. Atho man
Among the most popular street foods in Chennai, Atho Man is originally a Burmese dish, but it has become so popular in Chennai that people have forgotten its origin. Anyway, Atho Man is a plain orange colored noodles dish mixed and served with fresh raw vegetables. You can see small stalls in almost every corner of the streets of Chennai selling Atho Man, and people lined up to buy a plate.
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2. Paani poori
Golgappas in north India, Phuchka in West Bengal, Paani poori in Mumbai and Chennai, you can call them anything, but people’s love for these will never fade. These tiny delicious balls filled with potato, imli chutney, ragda, green chutney, and sometimes onion are among the greatest pleasures of life. Whether you want a quick bite or you’re searching for something pocket-friendly and delicious in Chennai, Paani poori is all that you need. In search of the best pani puri in Chennai? Try Kailash Parbat, Sri Keshav Chaats, Kol style Pani puri, and Meenu’s Pani Puri Shop.
If you don’t fall in love with the masala sundal sold on the gorgeous beaches and roadside kadais of Chennai, then there’s no snack you’ll ever love. It’s a simple street dish made using coconut, raw mango, dried peas, with a dash of asafoetida. You can find them mostly near the beach area and it is best eaten while enjoying the cool ocean air.
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Chennai chat includes multiple varieties of delicious street chaat. Aloo chaat, chana chaat, and papdi chaat are a few of them.
Once poor man’s dish, Boli is among the most delicious street foods in Chennai. The aroma of hot-hot boli will surely draw you to a nearby stall. It is basically a sweet refined flour paratha stuffed with masded toor dal, jaggery, charoli, cardamom, nuts, and raisins. If you have a sweet tooth, you must try this yummylicious street dish.
6. Podi dosai
Podi dosai is Chennai’s best kept secret. Made fresh and given to customers within minutes, this one is probably the spiciest and most delicious dosai you’ll ever eat. A “Chennai special food”, it is soaked in rusty red podi that’ll make you sweat as you eat it, but it’s worth trying.
Nothing new about them, but they are as delicious as they’ve always been. The little white, steamed rice cake served with sambhar or coconut chutney on the street is probably the healthiest street food in Chennai. Idli makes a great and healthy breakfast option as there’s no oil required in making them. They are steamed in a mold that are especially made for idlis.
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Bhajji is a well-liked food that can be seen in street-side stalls of Chennai. Some of the bhajji stalls in Chennai have been successfully running for 20 years and the secret an be felt in their tangy chutney and crispy and soft bhajjis that are best eaten on a rainy day. Jannal Kadai in Mylapore is among those most popular bhajji stalls that serve you magic on a plate.
Wada, vade, vadai, wadeh and bara, you can call it anything, but it will remain the best street food in Chennai. This snack can be seen in almost every nook and cranny of the city. Made of spices and Bengal Gram, these deep fried donuts may not be a healthy option, but it certainly is a delicious delicacy. The street-side stalls in Chennai sell vadas with either sambhar orcoconut chutney.
A deep fried, crunchy snack sold on the streets of Chennai, Murukku is made using rice flour, salt, gram flour, and cumin seeds. The snacks are shaped into coils and served with tea. Murukku sandwich, which contains tomato, cucumber, and mint chutney, is another street food becoming popular among people.
11. Kothu Parotta
Parotta is made of refined flour, it’s a flatbread served on the streets of Chennai. It is much like the north Indian Lachha Parantha. And Kothu Parotta is prepared using shredded parotta, mixed with meat, egg, and vegetables. A Chennai special food, this can be found in restaurants too.
12. Bhel puri
A savory snack, Bhelpuri is originally from the Indian subcontinent. A type of chaat, it is a light snack made of puffed rice, tomato, onion, peanuts, and tangy tamarind and mint chutney. This may not be typical Chennai chaat, but it has become quite popular among Chennaikars.
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A dense and creamy ice-cream, which is tastes better than the normal ice-cream, Kulfi can be found in almost every city of India. In Chennai, you can see people lined up out small outlets or road-side stalls to try various types of kulfis. From the thick malai flavour to the a bit bitter coffee flavour, you get what you want.
Idiyappam may look like noodles, but they taste quite different. Made with rice flour and served with coconut milk and curry, Idiyappam is a popular street food in Chennai. There’s no dearth of street-side stalls selling Idiyappam in the city.
A Chennai special drink, Jigarthanda, which literally means ‘cool heart’ is a cold and refreshing drink quite popular in Chennai during summer. The drink was originated in Madurai and gradually became popular among younger generation. Served at roadside stalls, these drinks are perfect to beat the harsh Chennai heat.
With all these sumptuous street foods, Chennai is among the most interesting cities that foodies and explorers will love. Let us know what’s the best thing you have eaten on the buzzing streets of Chennai!
Further Read: 15 Mesmerizing Hill Stations in South India
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