18 Iconic Street Foods In Chennai That’ll Make You Drool In 2022!


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 18 best street foods in Chennai that’ll make you run for a bite.

18 Best Street Foods In Chennai

Here is a list of the best street foods in Chennai that will satiate your inner foodie and leave you gloated and bloated. Keep scrolling down and read along to know all about these scrumptious delights!

  • Atho Man
  • Paani Poori
  • Sundal
  • Chaat
  • Boli
  • Podi Dosai
  • Idli
  • Bhajji
  • Vada
  • Murukku
  • Kothu Parotta
  • Bhel Puri
  • Kulfi
  • Idiyappam
  • Jigarthanda
  • Uthappam
  • Puttu
  • Kuzhi Paniyaram

1. Atho Man

Atho man street food

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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

Golgappe street food chennai

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.

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3. Sundal

sundal street food in chennai

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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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4. Chaat

delicious chaat street

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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. Chat is one of the most popular items throughout India and even the locals in Chennai love your favorite puchkas. Do try the street style chaat serves in this stunning city!

5. Boli

Boli sreet food Chennai

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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.

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6. Podi Dosai

podi dosa street food

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.

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7. Idli

street food idli on banana leaf

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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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8. Bhajji

bhajji with green chutney on street

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.

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9. Vada

vada street food in chennai

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.

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10. Murukku

street food murukku

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.

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11. Kothu Parotta

parotta street food

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.

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12. Bhel Puri

bhel puri chennai street food

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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13. Kulfi

kulfi street food chennai

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. A lip-smacking Chennai famous food loved by all. 

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14. Idiyappam

idiyappam street food

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.

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15. Jigarthanda

Jigarthanda drink chennai

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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 the younger generation. Served at roadside stalls, these drinks are perfect to beat the harsh Chennai heat. This is indeed Chennai famous street food that is savoured by both natives and tourists. 

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16. Uthappam


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Disclaimer: The image is for representation purposes only.

Uthappam is one of the most sold street foods in Chennai after Dosai. Uthappam is made out of rice and is loaded with all types of vegetables like capsicum, tomato, and cabbage. Served with Sambhar and coconut chutney, Uthappam will surely become one of your favorite South Indian dishes. Seena Bhai Tiffin Centre is the best place in Chennai that is serving the most scrumptious Uthappam for the past 36 years. Other places where you can relish one of the best street foods in Chennai are Saravana Bhavan Anachi Dosai Kada and Ratna Cafe.

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17. Puttu


Image Credit: Anto Paul for Wikimedia Commons

Disclaimer: The image is for representation purposes only.

Puttu is a famous breakfast dish in South India. For making Puttu, rice is grounded and then steamed in a cylindrical shape vessel. Puttu is then garnished with crushed coconut and served with sweet dish or curry. The sweet dish served is either banana or pam sugar. Curries made with pulses, chickpeas, fishes, and mutton is served with Putti at some places. You can get your hands on the most delicious Puttu under the North Usman Flyover and at just INR 10 per plate. You can also visit Maplai or Nair Mess for trying it. It is one of the most savoured Chennai street food.

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18. Kuzhi Paniyaram

 Kuzhi Paniyaram

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Disclaimer: The image is for representation purposes only.

Locally known as Paddu, Kuzhi Paniyaram is a small version of Idli but tastes a little different and tastier. Made out of black lentils and rice batter, Paddu is made in a special mould. Kuzhi Paniyaram is one of the most popular dishes and the locals make it at their home frequently. Visit Venkatesan Street, The Old Madras Cafe, Murugan Idli Shop and Dakshina Puram to have the best Kuzhi Paniyaram of your life. Do not forget to taste this Chennai street food when touring the place. 

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With all these sumptuous street foods, Chennai is among the most interesting cities that foodies and explorers will love. Get ready to have a terrific vacation in Chennai and do try all these delicacies on your food spree. Let us know what’s the best thing you have eaten out of these street foods in Chennai mentioned in this list. The buzzing streets of Chennai await you!

Frequently Asked Questions About Street Foods In Chennai

What is famous in Chennai to eat?

Idli is a very famous breakfast in Chennai which is prepared by the mix of rice and black gram flour. Idli is generally served with Sambar and varieties of Chutneys. Where to eat: Murugan Idli Kadai, A2B, Saravana Bhavan, Balaji Bhavan, Ratha Café, etc.

What is Chennai food?

Idli Sambhar is a common food in South India. It’s a delicacy made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (de-husked) and rice.

What is the national food of Chennai?

Rice is the staple food of South India and this is why most of the food items are made of rice: be it breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner. In breakfast, people prefer to have idli (steamed rice cakes) or dosa along with coconut chutney or tomato chutney. Both these are made from a fine paste of rice and lentils.

For what Chennai is famous for?

The Chennai Metropolitan Area is one of the largest municipal economies of India. Chennai is nicknamed “The Detroit of India”, with more than one-third of India’s automobile industry being based in the city. Home to the Tamil film industry, Chennai is also known as a major film production center.

Which language is used in Chennai?

Tamil spoken in Chennai uses English words liberally, so much so that it is often called Madras bashai (Tamil for “Madras language”). Other languages spoken in the city include Telugu, Malayalam, and Urdu and they contribute to the vocabulary of Madras bashai as well.

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