juSTa Holidays / What to eat / Chennai

Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Chennai is famous for its exclusive traditional South Indian cuisine which is a perfect blend of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food. A South Indian layman’s day begins with a cup of hot filtered coffee. While coffee is the signature beverage of South India, rice is the staple food. Most of the food items are made from rice. For the foodies out there, Chennai is a heaven. Apart from the South Indian delicacies, you can also savor various other cuisines such as Mughlai, Continental, Chinese and many more. Some of the best places to dine in Chennai are:

Annalakshmi Restaurant, Pan Asian, Peshawri, Madras Pavilion, Murugan Idli Shop, Cream Centre, Hotel Saravana Bhavan Restaurant, Adyar Ananda Bhavan, Triplicane Ratna Cafe, Copper Chimney and many more.

Here are some of the must-try delicacies of Chennai:


Available in several variations, such as honey appam, palappam and Egg appam, Appam is a kind of South Indian pancake prepared with coconut milk and fermented rice batter.

Kothu Parotta

Kothu Parotta is among the most popular street food of Chennai and a must-try for all the non-vegetarians. The dish is prepared using meat, eggs and a spicy sauce called salne and is available in two variants called, Chilli Parotta and Muttai Kothu Parotta.


If there is a dessert Chennai is most famous for, it surely is Mysore-pak! Prepared in butter with “good” amount of gram flour, sugar and ghee, this sweet dish will melt instantly in your mouth. Certainly a must try!

Kuzhi Paniyaram

Prepared by steaming the batter made from rice and pulses, the Tamil dish of Kuzhi Paniyaram is available in both spicy and sweet form. The more popular of the two forms is the spicy one, topped with green chillies and sauteed onions. You can conveniently pack some paniyaram for journey, as it can remain well-preserved for a long time.

Puliyogare rice

Prepared with steamed rice mixed with tamarind paste, coriander, red chilly, mustard seeds, asafoetida, urad dal, peanuts, curry leaves, cumin and jaggery, Puliyogare is a popular dish in Chennai. Try this with boiled chickpeas and coconut chutney for a flavorsome experience!


Idiyappam is a traditional South Indian dish prepared by steaming noodles made with rice flour. It is served with variants like fish, potato, meat or egg curry.


A tasteful dish prepared by making steamed cylinders of ground rice and garnished with coconut, Puttu is a famous breakfast dish. The dish is usually served with vegetarian options of chickpea curry, banana or palm sugar as well as non-vegetarian option of fish curry.


Murukku is derived from the Tamil word for twisted, an apt term referring to its shape. This amazing munch-on snack is prepared from urad dal and rice flour.