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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Best Street Food in Chennai – savour the delectable street food of Chennai
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Street Food in Chennai – savour the delectable street food of Chennai

Chennai is a top foodie destination with a lot more to offer than just dosa. Its vibrant culture is reflected in its varied food, and if you're a foodie, you won't want to skip a trip to this city.



Unlike the crisp dosa, uthappam is a thick savoury pancake with a variety of vegetable toppings cooked into the batter. The batter is made from parboiled rice and lentils which are soaked overnight, ground down to a smooth paste and left to ferment until it rises. Once the batter is ready, a dollop is spread on a hot griddle and toppings are added to the batter, much like American blueberry pancakes. Traditionally, toppings can include diced tomatoes, onions, green chillies and fresh coriander; or a combination of all of them. Uthappam is found at most Chennai eateries and is served either with chutney or sambar (a vegetable curry).


Pani Puri

Pani Puri also commonly known as Gol Gappa, is a popular snack across India. In Chennai, pani puri is widely available, but locals favour the street vendors around Mint Street for pani puris. Made from deliciously crunchy, hollow balls prepared from a thin batter, which are then filled with a mixture of boiled potatoes, onions, chickpeas, chat masala, tamarind chutney and masala flavoured water. Not only is pani puri a great snack on the go, but the masala water and sweet, tangy flavours of the tamarind chutney provide quick relief from the humidity of the city.



Originating from Burma, atho was introduced to Chennai by Burmese refugees working in the area. Now another popular street food in Chennai, the dish consists of gooey egg noodles mixed with freshly shredded cabbage, carrots and onions; and topped with fried onions, chilli flakes, tamarind, salt and garlic. The best place to try authentic atho is at the Burma Bazaar. If you're staying at one of the serviced apartments in Chennai, such as the centrally located Citadines OMR Gateway Chennai, you can even try your hand at making your own version of this Burmese favourite.



There is no better way to deal with the constant heat of the city than with an ice-cold kulfi. A denser, creamier version of ice-cream, kulfi dates back to the Mughal period, and can now be found all over India. Traditional flavours include malai (cream), cardamom, rose, kesar (saffron), and pistachio. Nowadays, modern flavours include strawberry, coffee, orange, and avocado. You can find kulfi on just about every street corner, but if you want to try the newer flavours, you will have to head over to Mint Street or Lake Area.



Similar to Pakora, bhajji is a spicy fritter with several variations. Its variations include the bread bhajji, chilli bhajji and the bonda. While the traditional form of bhajji is usually some form of vegetable or onions batter-fried till crisp, bonda is made from a potato mixture which is covered in the same batter and deep fried. Bhajji is generally served with a chutney and tea or coffee.