Tamiḻakattiṟku varuka! Ētāvatu cāppiṭa virumpukiṟāyā? (Welcome to Tamil Nadu! Would you like something to eat?).

Tamil Nadu is a glorious state located at the narrow Southern tip of India. Blessed with some of the most mouth-watering and flavoursome regional Tamil Nadu famous food. Each dish of Tamil Nadu boasts unique cooking methods and spices. These have been backed with family recipes, ancient culture and traditions, community history and external influences. Some
famous foods of Tamil Nadu have made their special place in the hearts of the people and have travelled far and wide to capture many more hearts.

Here are the top 17 Tamil Nadu famous food items:

  • Idli

  • Dosai (Dosa)

  • Sambar

  • Puliyodarai

  • Paruppu Payasam

  • Pollachi Nandu Fry

  • Rasam

  • Mutton Kola Urundai

  • Chicken Chettinad

  • Filter Kaapi

  • Pongal

  • Murukku

  • Poriyal

  • Lemon Rice

  • Banana Bonda

  • Uttapam

  • Kootu

#1. Idli - Food of Tamil Nadu

Idli is a popular South Indian dish that originated in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a type of savory rice cake made by steaming a batter consisting of fermented black lentils (urad dal) and rice. Idli is a staple breakfast item in Tamil Nadu and is enjoyed by people of all ages.

In Tamil Nadu, idli is often served with traditional accompaniments such as coconut chutney, sambar (a spicy lentil-based stew), and/or milagaipodi (a spicy condiment made from dried chilies, lentils, and sesame seeds).

#2. Dosai - Food of Tamil Nadu

Dosai, also known as Dosa, is an iconic South Indian dish of Tamil Nadu. It is a thin, crispy pancake made from a fermented batter of rice and black lentils (urad dal). Dosai is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various forms, ranging from plain dosai to stuffed dosai with various fillings.

In Tamil Nadu, dosai is a staple food and is consumed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack. It is often accompanied by a variety of side dishes such as sambar (a spicy lentil-based

stew), coconut chutney, tomato chutney, or various other chutneys made from herbs and spices.

#3. Sambar - Food of Tamil Nadu

This list must begin with the mighty dish called Sambhar. It is a lentil-based stew which is prepared with tomatoes and/or tamarind as its base for building flavours. Whether it is for breakfast or a lavish traditional Tamilian lunch spread, Sambar is a significant part of almost every meal in Tamil Nadu and in Tamilian homes everywhere. Vegetables such as carrots, yams, drumsticks, and okra are added to the pot of Sambar to make it more delicious and nutritious, making it the Tamil Nadu cuisine.

#4. Puliyodarai - Food of Tamil Nadu

Tamarind, coconut, and rice are very common ingredients used in the traditional food of Tamil Nadu, especially Tamil Brahmin food. One such dish that comes from combining tamarind and rice is Puliyodarai. It is a special Tamil Nadu traditional dish and is generally made during festivals and special occasions. First, it is offered to God as prasadam, while praying in the temple and then enjoyed by people. It is really easy to prepare this tangy delicious dish and is generally accompanied with fryums or papadams.

#5. Paruppu Payasam - Food of Tamil Nadu

Care for something sweet? This traditional sweet dish is made with moong dal, jaggery, coconut milk, ghee, and nuts - that’s it! During summer, Paruppu Payasam is commonly prepared since moong dal is cooling for the body. This famous food of Tamil Nadu is not overly sweet and is made using jaggery so you can enjoy a bowlful of this traditional dessert without any guilt. It tastes better when it is hot.

#6. Pollachi Nandu Fry - Food of Tamil Nadu

This traditional food of Tamil Nadu is for seafood lovers! Tamil Nadu is a coastal state and there are many cities where you can have the pleasure of feasting on some incredible seafood dishes. One such dish is the Pollachi Nandu Fry. It is a Crab Fry dish that is prepared using a special spice mix that goes really well with the naturally sweet flavour of the crab. Many seafood restaurants serving South Indian cuisines include this dish on their menu, but there is just something very magical in enjoying the dish in Tamil Nadu.

#7. Rasam - Food of Tamil Nadu

Rasam, a famous food of Tamil Nadu, is a tangy, peppery broth that has been tempered with typical spices, like curry leaves and mustard seeds. These are used frequently in Tamil cooking and the rest of South India. It is very different from Sambar and can be enjoyed with rice or just on its own.

Rasam tastes best when it’s steaming hot and can be eaten any time of the year. Depending on the season, you can experiment with different lentils and ingredients (you can add meat or seafood into the mix too) and enjoy this yummy Tamilian dish! This is one of the most famous Tamil Nadu cuisine.

#8. Mutton Kola Urundai - Food of Tamil Nadu

One of the most famous foods of Tamil Nadu cuisine, these mutton keema balls flavoured with Chettinad spices will be one of the best dishes that you will eat in Tamil Nadu. They are so flavoursome that when prepared well, you will be eating them as if you’re popping candy in your mouth! The use of spices in this appetizer must be well-balanced, and just one spice must not overpower the whole dish.

#9. Chicken Chettinad - Food of Tamil Nadu

This mouth-watering dish is a speciality of the Chettiyar community of Tamil Nadu. Contrary to popular belief, there are many regional non-vegetarian dishes within the broad category of Tamil Nadu cuisine. Every region has its variations and Chettinad cuisine happens to be one of them.

In this dish, chicken is marinated in yoghurt, turmeric, a variety of spices such as poppy seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds, and other add-ons to enhance the flavours. It can be prepared in a dry or gravy style and is enjoyed with either steamed rice or a rice flour paratha. Chicken Chettinad is one of the most popular food of Tamil Nadu.

#10. Filter Kaapi - Food of Tamil Nadu

A meal in South India is complete only when you enjoy a cup of Filter Kaapi (filter coffee) afterwards. It is customary in South Indian homes to offer a cup of Filter Kaapi to guests before and after a meal. The coffee is brewed in a special metal device that resembles two cylindrical cups. If given the chance, you need to watch how the coffee is made and what makes it so frothy while serving.

#11. Pongal

This is a traditional food of Tamil Nadu, especially during festivities. In Tamil, Pongal means ‘bubbling up’ and it’s a very special dish of Tamil Nadu. The main ingredients in Pongal are rice, milk, moong dal and other regional additions. There are four variations of Pongal that you can enjoy in the state - Venn Pongal, Puli Pongal (made with tamarind), Sakkarai Pongal (made with jaggery) and Melagu Pongal (made with black pepper).

Tamil Nadu’s main festival also goes by the same name. It is a harvest festival and as a manner of celebration, women in Tamil Nadu gather in a social space and prepare the Sakkarai Pongal in clay pots

#12. Murukku - Food of Tamil Nadu

These crispy, savoury snacks are perfect for tea (or coffee) time! Murukku means ‘twisted’ in Tamil and refers to the spiral, twisted shape of the fried item. It is made with a combination of rice flour and urad dal flour mixed with water, salt, red chilli powder, asafoetida and either sesame seeds or cumin seeds. This is kneaded into a dough, twisted into spirals and deep-fried till they are crispy and golden brown. There are even sweet, meat and seafood variations of murukkus!

#13. Poriyal - Food of Tamil Nadu

Poriyal is a famous cuisine of Tamil Nadu. It is a lively vegetable stir-fry and holds a significant place in Tamil Nadu cuisine. Aromatic spices such as mustard seeds, urad dal, and curry leaves are used to gently sauté vegetables and grated coconut. The result is a dish where the vegetables maintain their crispness, contributing a delightful crunch to every bite. The harmonious blend of spices, coconut,

and the inherent sweetness of the vegetables creates a well-balanced medley of flavours. Beyond its delectable taste, Poriyal is visually appealing with its vibrant colours and tempting aroma. This versatile side dish complements rice and various other culinary delights, injecting a burst of freshness and nutrition into your meal. 

#14. Lemon Rice - Food of Tamil Nadu

In Tamil Nadu, Lemon Rice is a must-try dish that captures the essence of the traditional food of Tamil Nadu. It's a simple and flavourful treat made by mixing fragrant rice with fresh lemon juice, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and roasted peanuts. The tangy flavour and crunchy texture make it a delightful dish, often enjoyed on its own or as part of a South Indian meal with curries and yoghurt. With its vibrant yellow colour and zesty aroma, Lemon Rice is a tasty choice for either a main course or a simple side dish. 

#15. Banana Bonda - Food of Tamil Nadu

Golden and crispy on the outside, with a soft and gooey interior, Banana Bonda stands out as a cherished tea-time snack that’s also a traditional food of Tamil Nadu. One taste of this delightful sweet treat will undoubtedly leave you yearning for more. Crafted from ripe bananas mashed with a touch of cardamom, coated in a gram flour batter, and fried to perfection, this sweet and savoury indulgence bursts with flavour in every bite.

The sweetness of the ripe bananas, paired with the aromatic cardamom, creates a distinctive taste that is both comforting and indulgent. Typically accompanied by coconut chutney and sometimes drizzled with syrup or honey, Banana Bonda serves as the ideal partner to a piping hot cup of filter coffee—the famous food of Tamil Nadu you must experience. 

#16. Uttapam - Food of Tamil Nadu

This tasty pancake is crafted from fermented rice and lentil batter, enriched with finely chopped vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and green chillies for a unique flavour. The batter is skilfully spread on a hot griddle, resulting in a crispy yet tender texture. Served alongside coconut chutney and sambar, this hearty breakfast choice is guaranteed to satisfy your hunger.

The interplay of tangy chutney, spicy sambar, and wholesome Uttapam creates a truly delightful experience. This dish stands out as a top pick in traditional Tamil Nadu cuisine, making it a must-try during your visit. Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Uttapam is a great choice to savour the authentic flavours of the region. 

#17. Kootu - Food of Tamil Nadu

Kootu is a semi-solid side dish composed of lentils and vegetables, often paired with Virundhu Sappadu, a meal combo featuring boiled rice, curd, rasam, poriyal, and pickle. Since this is a famous food of Tamil Nadu, there are various versions of Kootu, such as Poricha Kootu or fried Kootu.

This variant involves Urad dal and pepper being fried with red chilies, cumin, and fresh coconut to create a paste. Vegetables and moong dal are cooked separately before being combined with the paste. Common ingredients in this Kootu include snake gourd and beans. Other variations of Kootu include Araichivita Kootu and Araichivita Sambar.

Tamil Nadu Resorts

Club Mahindra has two premium resorts in Tamil Nadu. Club Mahindra Derby Green and Club Mahindra Danish Villa Resorts are located in the beautiful hill station of Ooty. In both these resorts,

you get to enjoy a memorable and peaceful family holiday full of fun and adventures. Indulge in the resorts’ specially curated activities, relax in the sprawling swimming pool, rejuvenate in the in-house spa, and relish delicious traditional food of Tamil Nadu in the resorts’ in-house restaurants. You will leave with a mind full of happy memories, a heart full of love for Ooty, and a soul filled with the warmth of filter kaapi! 

Best Time to Visit Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has a tropical climate with high temperatures and humidity throughout the year. The best time to visit Tamil Nadu is during the winter months, from November to February, when the weather is cooler and more pleasant. During this time, the temperature ranges between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, making it an ideal time to explore the state's temples, beaches, and hill stations.

The monsoon season in Tamil Nadu starts in June and lasts until September, which can cause heavy rainfall and flooding, making it difficult to travel.

Winter and monsoon are good times to try some of the spicy traditional food of Tamil Nadu.

The summer months, from March to May, can be quite hot and humid, with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius, making it uncomfortable for tourists to travel. 

How to Reach Tamil Nadu

You do not have to go through a lot of hassle to enjoy the famous food of Tamil Nadu. The place is well connected to the rest of India and the world by air, rail, and road. 

By Air:

The state has four international airports, including Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchirappalli, which receive flights from major cities across India and the world. 

By Rail:

Tamil Nadu also has an extensive railway network, with major cities and towns connected by regular train services. 

By Road:

The state has several national highways and state highways that connect it with neighbouring states and cities, making it easy to reach by road. Buses, taxis, and private vehicles are easily available for transportation within the state, making it convenient to travel to different parts of Tamil Nadu.

You can also opt for guided tours or hire private cars with drivers to explore the state's popular attractions. 


1. What is the main traditional food of Tamil Nadu?

Pongal is a traditional dish of Tamil Nadu made by cooking rice in a pot with water and milk. 

2. Which is the tastiest food in Tamil Nadu?

The traditional food of Tamil Nadu is so delicious and every dish brings its unique flavour. The list provided above has some of the best dishes and each of them is a famous food of Tamil Nadu.

About Club Mahindra

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.

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