Tamil Nadu’s culinary scene is more vibrant than ever. It’s the same across India where local content creators and a growing dining out scene are changing the way we eat and document these memories. While traditional Tamil cuisine remains the mainstay of the state’s diverse culinary scene, the big cities in one of India’s most urbanised states are being shaped by a blend of international and domestic culinary trends. From Chennai’s vibrant Asian dining scene to Madurai’s authentic street food scene to biryani spots in Dindigul, we take you through some of Tamil Nadu’s most vibrant food cities.
Here Are 4 Best Foodie Cities Of Tamil Nadu:
Thoongangaram – the city that never sleeps. Madurai is one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities with a colourful history that dates back over two millennia. It also plays out in the city’s food scene. Heirloom recipes rule the roost, restaurants where masalas are still hand-ground and where factory-made masalas are frowned upon. If mutton is your thing, then you will enjoy Madurai. The three-tier kari (meat) dosai at Konar Mess a Madurai legend – a thick dosa, an omelette and a layer of minced mutton. This is not a dosai you can take lightly! Another local favourite is the Kola Urundai – melt-in-your-mouth mutton balls. Vegetarians flock to Murugan Idli shop (now a household name in Chennai) for their soft, almost sticky idlis served with an array of chutneys. Wash it all down with a Jigarthanda (try it at Famous Jigarthanda), Madurai’s most popular dessert and its own spin on a falooda.
Tamil Nadu’s second city is also in the heart of the erstwhile Kongunad region once the fiefdom of the mighty Chera dynasty with a unique culinary identity within Tamil Nadu cuisine. You will find similar flavours in Salem (less than two hours away and another must-do street food destination). One of the most popular dishes from Kongunad is the Pallipalayam chicken – pan-fried nuggets of chicken flavoured with a zesty masala and finished with coconut slivers. Check this out at Valarmathi Mess or Hari Bhavan. Don’t leave town without a stop at one of Coimbatore’s iconic food establishments – Annapoorna or AP in local parlance. Their ghee roast dosa and filter coffee is a local favourite. Coimbatore also offers a host of International dining experiences, from KOVE which is positioned as a progressive International cuisine restaurant to the French Door which is one of the city’s most atmospheric cafes.
Along with Ambur, Dindigul is one of Tamil Nadu’s quintessential biryani towns. Dindigul is en route to Kodaikanal, one of the state’s most favourite hill stations. That’s one reason, its biryani has become even more popular – Dindigul’s biryani eateries provide the perfect lunchtime pitstop for road trippers from Chennai and Bengaluru. Thalapakatti, one of South India’s best-known biryani chains can take credit for making Dindigul’s biryani famous. One of our favourite biryani restaurants is Ponram. There’s also Venu biryani that does a terrific version of the traditional Dindigul biryani that’s crafted with Seeraga Samba, a flavourful varietal of small grain rice. The other local favourite – available at most of these biryani ‘hotels’ is the fluffy, ball-shaped karandi (Tamil for ladle) omelette.
One of India’s most vibrant culinary destinations where the past and future converge. Start your Chennai culinary trail in old neighbourhoods like Parrys (the erstwhile George Town). This is where the British Empire in India took wings from Fort St. George. You will find a strong influence of Andhra cuisine in restaurants like the National Lodge. This area has also been home to the city’s Marwari community for generations – expect the best chaats and Rajasthani cuisine. Kakada Ramprasad’s famous badam milk and the pav bhaji at Novelty are both compelling options in this area. Mylapore is the heart of Chennai’s spiritual and cultural scene. It’s also where you can indulge in evening ‘tiffin’ (snacks like the keerai or spinach vadai or Mysore bonda) with filter coffee at outlets like Mylai Karpagambal Mess and Mami Mess.
For a true taste of Chennai head to the North of the city where some of the finest seafood is available in fish markets. The city’s beaches like Besant Nagar and Marina also offer fresh catch of the day in their busy stalls. Biryani hubs like Buharis (where the Chicken 65 first made its appearance) are an integral element of the city food scene. Chennai has one of the largest populations of Korean and Japanese expats. One reason why you will be spoilt for choice for Asian cuisine. Aeseo is one of the finest Korean restaurants in India and compact eateries like Oji Ramen and GoGo Ramen score with their ramen bowls.
Chennai has one of India’s most evolved café cultures with popular spots like Amethyst, Chamiers Café and newer spots like Entrance Café. The city’s luxury hotels offer a wide array of domestic and international cuisines. Avaratana at ITC Grand Chola offers a contemporary take on South Indian cuisine while all-day diners like Spectra at The Leela Palace offer massive Sunday brunches.
Sourtce : NDTV