Best street food in chennai

Famous Street Food in Chennai: People’s Choice

Nothing compares to savoring the street cuisine of a place to experience its essence truly. Tamil Nadu’s cultural center, Chennai, is known for more than simply its idlis and dosas. For those who love cuisine and want to experience the city’s rich culture authentically, it is indeed a refuge. 

Chennai’s street food selection voted People’s Choice, reflects the city’s passion for strong flavors, inventive adaptations, and diverse culinary experiences. Discovering these street cuisine treats is necessary when visiting or living in Chennai; they are vital to the city’s culture. 

We’ll explore the best-loved treats that both residents and tourists can’t resist as we dive into the core of Chennai’s street food culture in this blog. Come explore some of Chennai’s most well-known street cuisine with us.

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Chennai’s Street Food Extravaganza

Chennai’s culinary scene is forever changed by its long history as a naval command center and a hub for trade. Every palette may enjoy a gourmet excursion in the city’s street food choices, which showcase a blend of numerous influences. Now, let’s explore the most adored and well-known street cuisine in Chennai, the People’s Choice.

Atho: A Burmese Delight with a Chennai Twist

For those craving an exotic culinary experience, Atho is a must-try among Chennai’s street foods.

Chennai surprises with Atho, a dish originating from Burma but seamlessly adapted to local tastes. Atho features noodles blended with fresh raw vegetables, garlic oil, chili oil, and masalas, creating a vibrant orange finish. Widely available on street corners, Atho embodies the city’s cosmopolitan flair, offering a delightful fusion of flavors.

Boli: A Sweet Paratha Affair

Satisfy your sweet tooth with Boli, a delectable sweet paratha found in the heart of Chennai.

Boli, once a humble dish, has evolved into a sweet paratha made with refined flour and stuffed with mashed toor dal, jaggery, charoli, cardamom, nuts, and raisins. Resonating with influences from Kerala and Maharashtra, Chennai’s Boli has carved its niche as a sweet treat, captivating the hearts of those with a penchant for sugary delights.

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Idiyappam: Stringy Rice Flour Noodles for Every Palate

Often mistaken for regular noodles, Idiyappam boasts a dedicated following. These stringy rice flour noodle pancakes are served in a round heap, accompanied by a hot coconut milk-based curry. Street-side stalls offer various options and flavors, promising a delightful experience for those seeking something different.

Kothu Parotta: Shredded Parotta Extravaganza

Experience the textures and flavors of Chennai with Kothu Parotta, a local favorite.

Parotta, a staple in South India, takes a unique form on Chennai’s streets through Kothu Parotta. Crispy parotta shreds are mixed with meat, egg, and vegetables, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. Kothu Parotta stands as a testament to Chennai’s culinary creativity, capturing the essence of the city in every bite.

Murukku: Crunchy Delight with a Chennai Twist

Indulge in a unique Murukku experience – a crunchy snack with a Chennai twist.

A popular bar snack across the country, Murukku finds a distinctive form in Chennai – the Murukku sandwich. Deep-fried and crunchy, these snacks made from rice flour, salt, gram flour, and cumin seeds are layered with tomato, cucumber, and mint chutney between bread slices, offering a unique and flavorful on-the-go meal.

Podi Dosai: Chennai’s Spicy Dosa Delight

For spice enthusiasts, Podi Dosai is a must-try, showcasing Chennai’s love for bold flavors.

While dosas are ubiquitous, Podi Dosai stands out as a Chennai specialty. Known for its spiciness, the fiery hot dry podi spread on the dosa may induce a bit of sweat, but the flavorful experience is unanimously considered worth the heat. This unique dosa variation is a must-try for those seeking an extra kick.

Sundal: Tamil Nadu’s Beloved Chickpea Snack

Sundal, a beloved snack in Tamil Nadu, comes in various forms, including boiled peanut sandals on the beaches and diverse Navratri sandals during the Golu festival. Made from chickpeas, green gram, black gram, lentils, or other legumes, Sundal shares common tempering, base spices, and a soft yet slightly chewy texture, preserving the integrity of the chickpeas or lentils.

Bhajji: Rainy Day Crunchy Treats

Chennai’s little stalls make bhajjis like no other. Some have been doing it for 20 years, and their secret? Well, it’s in the tangy chutney that dances with the crispy bhajjis. Jannal Kadai in Mylapore is one of the famous spots, and when you taste their bhajis, it’s like magic on a plate – especially on a rainy day.

Vada: The Irresistible Fried Rings

You’ll find it everywhere in the city. These deep-fried doughnuts, made with spices and Bengal Gram, might not be the healthiest snack, but they are delicious! And in Chennai, they serve it with sambhar or coconut chutney. A classic treat for all taste buds.

Murukku: The Crunchy Street Star

Made with rice flour, salt, gram flour, and cumin seeds, murukku has evolved. Try the Murukku sandwich – a modern twist. Imagine layers of tomato, cucumber, and mint chutney between those crunchy bites. It’s a hit, adding a new flavor to this classic street snack.

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Chennai’s Best Street Food Spots

No exploration of Chennai’s street food is complete without a guide to the best spots. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these locations offer a tantalizing array of street food delights:

  1. Sowcarpet: Dive into the heart of Chennai’s street food culture in Sowcarpet, where the city’s best street foods converge. From the iconic Atho to flavorful Podi Dosai, Sowcarpet is a gastronomic haven.
  2. Marina Beach: Beyond its scenic beauty, Marina Beach is a treasure trove of street food. Indulge in beachside Sundal or savor the crispy delights of Murukku while enjoying the sea breeze.
  3. Anna Nagar: A bustling neighborhood with a thriving street food scene, Anna Nagar offers a diverse range of culinary experiences. From spicy Podi Dosai to sweet Boli, the streets of Anna Nagar cater to every palate.
  4. Burma Bazaar: Immerse yourself in the cultural amalgamation at Burma Bazaar, where you can discover the unique flavors of Atho, a Burmese delight adapted for Chennai’s streets.
  5. T Nagar: Known for its vibrant shopping scene, T Nagar also boasts a delightful street food experience. From crispy Podi Dosai to sweet Boli, T Nagar’s streets are a culinary journey waiting to be explored.
  6. Monteith Road, Egmore: A quieter locale with hidden culinary gems, Monteith Road in Egmore offers an opportunity to savor Chennai’s street food away from the bustling crowds.
  7. Mylapore: Discover the cultural heritage of Mylapore while indulging in its diverse street food offerings. From savory Kothu Parotta to sweet Boli, Mylapore’s streets are a treat for food enthusiasts.


Chennai’s famous street food isn’t just a culinary adventure; it’s a journey through the city’s history, culture, and diverse influences. Chennai’s street food is not merely a collection of dishes; it’s a reflection of the city’s soul. It’s a celebration of diversity and an ode to the artistry that transforms simple ingredients into culinary masterpieces. 

As you navigate the vibrant streets, let Colive guide you to cozy living spaces and the heart of Chennai’s culinary tales. In every bite, savor the essence of a city that tells its stories through the language of flavors. Happy exploring! 

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