India is known for its diverse and delicious street food culture. Street food vendors can be found in every nook and cranny of Indian cities, offering a wide range of savoury and sweet snacks at affordable prices. Some street foods in India include chaat, vada pav, samosas, pav bhaji, dosas, kachoris, chole bhature, golgappas, and jalebis.
One of the unique features of Indian street food culture is its ability to cater to different dietary preferences and tastes. For instance, many street food vendors offer vegetarian and vegan options, making it easy for those following a plant-based diet to indulge in delicious snacks. Moreover, street food in India is cooked on the spot, which adds to the charm and freshness of the food.
Despite these challenges, street food remains an integral part of India's culinary heritage and a testament to the country's vibrant food culture. From bustling food carts to hole-in-the-wall eateries, Indian street food offers a unique and exciting culinary experience that is not to be missed.
The food scene in Chennai is not far behind. Offering a vast variety of options that are proudly the best street food in Chennai, the city is known for its rich South Indian cuisine and offers a variety of options, from traditional vegetarian meals to seafood and meat dishes. However, one of the highlights of Chennai's culinary landscape is its street food. We toured the foodie route and explored the best street food options in Chennai that are a must-try when visiting the city.
Best street food in Chennai: Top 7 spots you must visit
1. Nei podi dosa at Ravi Anna Kadai
Located in Mylapore, Ravi Anna Kadai is a small street-side eatery serving nei podi dosa; a popular delicacy. This delicious dish is made by spreading a special blend of spiced ghee (clarified butter) called nei podi onto a dosa, a crispy crepe made from fermented rice and lentil batter.
The crispy dosa and the flavorful nei podi make a delicious and satisfying meal to tantalise your taste buds. If you ever find yourself in Tamil Nadu, visit Ravi Anna Kadai and try their famous nei podi dosa for a taste of South Indian street food culture, a must-try food in Chennai.
2. Chettinad chaap and fun fusion fare at Oye Hoye!
We bet you did not expect any North Indian Indian influence while discovering the street food scene in Chennai. But Oye Hoye! is a popular street food joint in Chennai known for its delicious fusion Punjabi cuisine. Three of their most popular dishes are Chettinad chaap, Amritsari stuffed kulcha, and thick lassi.
The outlet has taken Northern favourites like chaap and put out multiple variations, incorporating local flavours too. If you find yourself in the South, craving a taste of the North; Oye Hoye located in Nungambakkam is an unmissable delight.
3. Seekh kebabs in Anna Nagar
Seekh kebabs are a popular Indian dish made with ground meat, spices, and herbs that are rolled onto skewers and grilled or roasted to perfection. In Anna Nagar, a bustling neighbourhood in Chennai, there are many street food vendors and restaurants that serve delicious seekh kebabs.
One popular spot for seekh kebabs in Anna Nagar is Al-Bek, a casual restaurant that specialises in Indian and Mughlai cuisine. Another popular spot for seekh kebabs in Anna Nagar is the Delhi Highway restaurant.
Whether you prefer your seekh kebabs made with lamb, chicken, or a combination of both, Anna Nagar has plenty of options for you to choose from. Head to Al-Bek or Delhi Highway to try some of the best seekh kebabs in the neighbourhood and enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal. Served with mint chutney and onion rings, these juicy and flavourful kebabs are sure to leave you wanting more of this must-try food in Chennai.
4. Bread omelette in Egmore
Bread omelette is a famous street food in Chennai for breakfast or snacks. In Egmore, a bustling neighbourhood in Chennai, there are many street food vendors and small shops that serve delicious bread omelettes.
One popular spot for bread omelette in Egmore is The Bread Omelette Centre, a small food stall serving this delicious dish for over 20 years. Another popular spot is the Sri Lakshmi Bhavan restaurant, where the bread omelette is served hot with a side of coconut chutney or sambar, a lentil-based vegetable stew.
Whether you are in the mood for a quick breakfast or a satisfying snack, bread omelettes are a must-try street food in Chennai.
5. Chaats in Purasawalkam
Purasawalkam is a bustling neighbourhood and is celebrated for being the best food street in Chennai, especially when it comes to chaats. And let's be real, what is Indian street food without the mention of chaat?
One popular spot for chaats in Purasawalkam is the Chheda Chat Bhandar, a small food stall serving delicious chaats for over 30 years, served in small paper cones.
6. Podi uthappams on NSC Bose Road
If you are in the mood for something savoury and filling, head to NSC Bose Road in Chennai and try some podi uthappams. Podi uthappams are a famous street food in Chennai that consists of a thick and fluffy pancake made with fermented rice and lentil batter, topped with a spicy and flavorful powder made with roasted lentils, sesame seeds, and spices.
A popular spot for podi uthappams on NSC Bose Road is the Murugan Idli Shop. Their podi uthappams are made with a crispy crust and a soft, fluffy interior, and are topped with a generous amount of podi powder. The podi powder gives the uthappams a deliciously spicy and aromatic flavour, making them a favourite among locals and visitors alike. So when in Chennai, don't miss getting your hands on the mouthwatering podi uthappams to experience the vibrant and diverse street food scene in Chennai.
7. Madurai-style home food in Mylapore
Mylapore, a neighbourhood in Chennai, is known for its rich cultural heritage and delicious food. One of the culinary gems of Mylapore is the authentic Madurai-style home food available at various restaurants and food stalls on the best food Street in Chennai.
Madurai, a city in Tamil Nadu, is famous for its unique cuisine that is known for its spicy and flavorful dishes. The cuisine is characterised by aromatic spices like fennel, cinnamon, and cloves, as well as ingredients like coconut, tamarind, and curry leaves.
One popular spot for Madurai-style home food in Mylapore is the Meenakshi Bhavan restaurant. Their menu includes a wide range of vegetarian dishes typical of Madurai cuisines, such as idli, dosa, sambar, rasam, and more. One of their signature dishes is the kari dosa, a thin, crispy dosa filled with spicy and flavorful mutton curry. They also serve dishes like parotta, biryani, and kothu parotta, all of which have unique flavours of Madurai cuisine.
Another popular spot for Madurai-style home food in Mylapore is the Madurai Kumar Mess, a small restaurant known for its delicious non-vegetarian dishes. Their menu includes dishes like mutton kuzhambu, chicken biryani, and fish fry with authentic Madurai-style flavours. You won't be disappointed by the spicy and flavorful dishes that will leave you wanting more and nothing like experiencing the best street food in Chennai in its authentic form.
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