Visiting Madurai Soon? Try These Top 8 Street Food Delicacies
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Madurai is a bustling temple town nestled in the heart of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. In addition to being renowned for its ornate temple complex, Madurai also boasts a diverse and thriving street food scene. From the succulent bun parotta, a soft and pillowy flatbread, to the crispy and flavour-packed keerai vada, the town offers food lovers and aficionados a plethora of specialties to dig their teeth into.

Drop by Madurai Bun Parotta Kadai or the Sri Meenakshi Madurai Bun Parotta stall to sample the enticing bun parotta, which is a staple of Madurai cuisine. Madurai cuisine, in general, is treasured across the country because it seamlessly incorporates various influences, such as Mughlai and Sri Lankan, into a single wholesome cuisine. It also offers a wide range of dishes, from hearty meats to simple appams to invigorating sweet drinks, including the delectable jigarthanda.

Check out the top 8 street food specialties of Madurai.

Kari Dosai

Being situated in South India, dosa is naturally a fixture in the cuisine of Madurai. However, a particularly unique version of dosa, known as kari dosai, is savoured by the locals of Madurai. Unlike regular dosas, this special dosa comprises three layers; the bottom layer is a plain dosa, while the middle layer holds an egg omelette, and the upper layer is made of minced meat. Relished with sambar and chutney, the rich flavours of the layers help craft an explosive and an unforgettable dish.

Recommendations: Konar Mess, Konar Kadai

Type: Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹200–400 approx.

Bun Parotta

As touched on above, bun parotta is a soft flatbread that is primarily prepared using eggs, milk, butter, sugar, and bananas. Owing to these ingredients, the dish typically has a sweet taste, which is why it is usually paired with spicy curries and chutneys to help create a balance between the sweet and spicy flavours. After the dough has been kneaded to perfection, it is rolled into slim sheets and sliced into bite-sized pieces; these pieces resemble buns, from where the dish derives its name.

Recommendations: Madurai Bun Parotta Kadai, Sri Meenakshi Madurai Bun Parotta

Type: Vegetarian, Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹200 approx.

Keerai Vada

Keerai vada is a deep-fried delight that is relished across South India as a tea-time snack. Available in almost every road-side tea stall, this specialty is prepared by blending crushed urad dal with water, dried and powdered Mulmurungai leaves, as well as cumin and pepper. This crispy and doughnut-shaped treat is best savoured with a lip-smacking coconut chutney; it also makes a good accompaniment to a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee.

Recommendations: S.B. Saravana Vada Shop, Srither Snacks

Type: Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹10 approx. for 4 pieces


Image Credits: iStock

Jigarthanda is considered Madurai’s version of the iconic sweet drinks of falooda and lassi. Ice cream is one of the main ingredients of this rich and creamy beverage. To prepare this revitalising drink, ice cream is hand-churned and then combined with a host of ingredients, including condensed milk, fruit syrup, almond jelly, and tree gum. This delicacy is a favourite among sugar junkies everywhere for its inviting and luscious texture as well as its sweet and enthralling taste.

Recommendations: Famous Jigarthanda Shop, Murugan Idli Shop

Type: Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹100 approx.


Vazhiyal is a delicious and a fulfilling egg-based specialty of Madurai. The batter for this texturally-rich treat is crafted from beaten eggs, onions, salt, and pepper. Subsequently, this batter is combined with three kinds of mutton gravies to not only enhance the taste of the overall dish but also to lend it a wholesome quality. The gravies imbue the dish with a smooth consistency, while the flavours of the egg paired with the spices help create a finger-licking dish.

Recommendations: Madurai Mappillai Virundhu, Murugan Idi Shop

Type: Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹200–400 approx.

IdiyappamsImage Credits: By Charles Haynes -, CC BY-SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

In this decadent and intricate South Indian delicacy, rice flour is moulded into noodles and then steamed to produce a beloved breakfast staple of Madurai. This fluffy and melt-in-the-mouth dish’s popularity stems from the fact that it is highly versatile; it can be paired with numerous foods, including coconut chutney, spicy curries, and korma. Idiyappams are also considered a comfort food owing to their light and airy texture which enables one to indulge in them without feeling too full or bloated.

Recommendations: Burma Idiyappam Kadai, Konar Mess

Type: Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹200–400 approx.

Elumbu Roast

One of the crown jewels of Madurai cuisine, Elumbu roast is treasured by meat lovers everywhere. The dish involves an intricate preparation method, wherein boat bones are boiled and cooked with mutton. The meats are then fried with mashed onion, garlic, and ginger, and seasoned with spices, including cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, and pepper. The rich and appetising dish is topped off with vegetables and curry leaves; this vibrant dish is a must-try for meat lovers owing to its symphony of flavours as well as its textural complexity.

Recommendations: Konar Mess, Arumugam Evening Mutton Stall

Type: Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹200–400 approx.

Meen Kuzhambu

Image Credits: By Giftsonfelix - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

In addition to vegetarian delicacies and meat-based treats, Madurai cuisine also boasts seafood specialties, the mouthwatering meen kuzhambu being one of them. This dish is essentially a tangy fish curry wherein the fish is cooked alongside spices, including turmeric, coriander, and tamarind, as well as coconut to create a flavourful tomato gravy. The spices coupled with the tomato gravy infuse the dish with a zesty and a memorable taste. Although this dish is typically served with rice, it can also be enjoyed with dosas and appams.

Recommendations: Konar Mess, Chetty Nadu Mess

Type: Non-Vegetarian

Cost for Two: ₹200–400 approx.