Madurai Street Food Tour ? Count us in because we are so ready! All the food you need to satiate yourself on warm days, cold days, sweltering hot days, and even on chilly evenings is right here on this list.
But before we jump into it, let’s look at why Madurai is even such a hotspot for street food!
Madurai is a town that doesn’t sleep. With a large temple complex at the heart of the city, the streets are always bustling at every hour. From local sellers that empty kilo after kilo of fragrant white jasmine into their streetside shops to push carts stocked with the season’s fresh produce, there’s much to enjoy throughout the day and the night in Madurai!
But that isn’t all; the incense burns strong along the temple streets as tourists that have just returned from exploring the city keep their eyes peeled for steaming dosa. Young men and women call out to them as they pass by, trying to sell the last batch of idols for the evening or help out lost tourists as they seek directions.
Either way, the city is awake, seeking a constant supply of fuel- the delicious kind of hot, sweet, spicy, and so wholesome and filling. And the city manifests. It is generous in its cornucopia of food, street food, but ever present and delicious food nonetheless. So, all in all, one may say that the Madurai Street Food Tour may be well worth it!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Paruthi Paal
Let us begin the Madurai Street Food Tour with something a little less known in other regions of the country— Paruthi Paal.
Paruthi Paal is a rich plant-based derivative of cottonseed. “Paruthi” means cotton, and “paal” means milk. This absolutely delicious beverage is well known for its nutritional value and is offered to guests and visitors!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Murukku
The Murukku is a popular street food snack throughout the country and is also known by other names such as “chakli.” But let us tell you that there’s nothing like a crunchy rice flour murukku taken out of a brass thooku from a grandmother’s kitchen shelf or from a glass jar on display at a roadside shop during coffee time—a davara of hot filter kaapi, crispy Murukku, and pink evening skies. Need we say more?
Madurai Street Food Tour : Jil Jil Jigarthanda
What better way to refresh yourself during the Madurai Street Food Tour than with the Jil Jil Jigarthanda?
Madurai is well known for dishing out the best Jigarthanda in the country. Jigarthanda loosely translates to Cool heart, where “Jigar” stands for heart and “Thanda” stands for cold. Local sellers make it with milk, sarsaparilla root syrup, almond pisin (gum), sugar, and ice or ice cream.
Keep an ear out for the phrase ” Jil Jil Jigarthanda”; you’ll know that Madurai’s favourite roadside beverage is well within reach!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Coconut stem
Next, on the Madurai Street Food Tour, we have Coconut stem. Not tender coconut water, not dry coconut burfi, but coconut stem. The coconut stem is a unique snack but is so loved by both the young and old. These refreshing stems are sold as slices, often wrapped in banana leaves and old newspaper, but we highly recommend eating them immediately and taking up the seller’s offer of condiments. Of course, you can always drizzle honey or a little sugar over the slices if you choose to bring them home!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Aval Kozhukattai
Aval Kozhukattai is not your regular kozhukattai. Kozhukattai is a steamed dumpling made with rice flour stuffed with a sweet filling of coconut and jaggery. Aval Kozhukattai, on the other hand, is a savoury delight made with aval or rice flakes, tempered spices, and coconut. This simple dish makes for a satisfying snack or even an excellent breakfast option!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Idiyappam
Have you ever wondered if idiyappam is a whole dish or an accompaniment? It is the perfect base to carry rich, meaty gravies and create the ideal, hearty bite. Idiyappam is steamed rice flour that is squeezed through dies to make noodle-like heaps. A lot of us have been privy to the process as we sat next to our grandmothers while they squeezed heap after small heap of rice noodles onto greased banana leaves before mealtime. Rest assured that we savoured every bite of this with coconut chutney and meat curry. So if you’re here for the perfect Madurai street food tour, know that you simply cannot afford to miss this!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Ragi Puttu
Puttu is loved by many, loved by all. And this humble, delicious breakfast dish is the reason why steam floods the kitchen counter and calls for one more serving can be heard from the dining table. Puttu has a crumbly texture with many layers of rice flour mix and coconut, or multigrain flour mixes in between. While puttu is relatively light on the gut and easy to digest, our ammas have come up with many ways to boost its nutritional value. For instance, ragi puttus have gained popularity in many households for their nutritional value and the variety they offer. These delightful columns with fluffy, grainy textures are layered with good old rice flour puttu mix or coconut filling!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Keerai Vadai
Keerai Vadai translates to green (Keerai) Fritters (Vadai). Adding greens to Vada is one other fantastic idea to boost the nutritional value of this popular breakfast side and evening snack. These already nutrient-rich vadais made from chana and urad dals are elevated yet again with the addition of leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek leaves, and dill! Hot, crispy, and absolute must-haves when on the Madurai street food tour!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Butter Bun
We’ll admit that the butter bun is not just a Madurai speciality and has people to love it the world over! However, while you’re already in Madurai, why not take a bite from this straightforward yet filling combo? Ask for a glass of piping hot filter kaapi or masala tea, and take a big mouthful of your Butter Bun! Perfect for fueling you up in the mornings before you head out to explore the city!
Madurai Street Food Tour : Bun Parotta
Now this is a true Madurai speciality! And let’s be honest; we’ll take this over a cronut or a cruffin any day. Any. Day. It looks like a bun, falls apart like a parotta, and goes with anything, really. From good old chutney to spicy curries and kurmas, the bun parotta exists to leave you in awe of how well it can be paired with any dish off the menu. So colour yourself impressed by not missing out on this favourite!
And that’s about it for the street food tour! Leave a comment on your favourite place to find these fantastic dishes (P.S. Include the names of your favourite hole-in-the-wall joints, timely pushcarts, and even the “so worth the price” restaurants!)
And if you’re in the market for some eco-friendly tiffin carries to pack these goodies up for later, well…look no further!
Frequently Asked Questions
What food is Madurai famous for?
Madurai is famous for many dishes like bun parotta, Paruthi Paal (cottonseed milk), urundai, and aval kozhukattai.
What is famous snacks in Madurai?
Snacks like murukku, bun butter, keerai vadai, and freshly sliced coconut stem are famous in Madurai.
What is the food culture of Madurai?
Madurai has a predominantly vegetarian diet with dosa, idli, puttu, sambar, chutnry being some of the most well known dishes. However, Madurai is also very famous for bun parotta, Paruthi Paal (cottonseed milk), keerai vadai, urundai, and more!
Which beverage is famous in Madurai?
Jigarthanda and Paruthi Paal (cottonseed milk) are famous beverages in Madurai.