7 Best Foods To Try In Madurai (2023)
Madurai is popularly known as the spiritual capital of Tamil Nadu, but many don’t know that Madurai is also Tamil Nadu’s culinary capital. The city is not just known for the quintessential Tamil cuisine, but also for the vast influence of different communities such as the Madurai Saurashtrians. When you are in Madurai, be ready to roll up your sleeves and relish the culinary treasures of the city from its array of family-owned traditional restaurants to the street food eateries. You can get comfort food in Madurai no matter the time of the day or night.
7 Best Foods To Try In Madurai
Here are some of the best foods in Madurai.
1. Mutton Balls at Chandra Mess
Made from minced mutton, these fried minced mutton balls are one of the must-have delicacies in Madurai. Head on over to Chandra’s Mess to have this delicious dish. The mutton used is manually ground by the cooks themselves and spiced with fresh spices that are ground on stone pestles. The balls are brilliantly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Locally known as kola urundai, these mutton balls are considered to be a delicacy through Madurai, and people from all over the city gather at Chandra Mess to have a taste of this dish. The mess is family-owned for many generations now and the owners themselves still clean and maintain the kitchen themselves.
The eatery is open from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, primarily because they run out of food pretty quickly. For two people, the approximate cost would be around Rs. 400. The Chandra Mess is located in Vinayagar Nagar in Tallakulam, Madurai.
2. Idiyappam at Burma Idiyappam Kadai
Imagine a restaurant wholly dedicated to making idiyappam. In fact, the light and fluffy idiyappam is the only dish served at Burma Idiyappam Kadai. This is an entirely no-frills food store that has remained connected to its roots and serves this staple Madurai delicacy with just two sides – a coconut milk sweetener and a tomato chutney. Don’t get your hopes too high while visiting this bare-bones establishment. Only go here if you want to taste the best idiyappam in all of Madurai. Image Source:
The store opens from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and then again from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The approximate cost for two people comes to around Rs. 200. Burma Idiyappam Kadai is located in the Deputy Collector Colony in Madurai.
3. Idlis at Murugan’s Idli Shop
Murugan’s Idli Shop is a franchise of restaurants that are now coming up around Tamil Nadu, and you will be surprised to know that they even have a food joint in Malaysia and Singapore. Murugan’s Idli Shop is a staple in Madurai when you go out to dine. Not only do the locals swear by the fluffiness of the idlis available here, but even visitors become fans of the establishment in no time. The fluffy and sticky idlis at Murugan’s are served with four varieties of chutneys along with the distinctive powder, or podi.
You are likely to find a huge line outside Murugan’s, especially over the weekends. This is why it is recommended to reach here early if you want to enjoy the idlis at Madurai’s most famous restaurant.
Murugan’s Idli Shop remains open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm in the night, and a meal for two roughly costs around Rs. 250. The original Murugan’s is located in Madurai Main.
4. Non-vegetarian Meals at Amma Mess
While most people associate Madurai with delicious vegetarian cuisine, considering that Madurai is a religious town, you will be surprised to learn that the city is also home to some of the best non-vegetarian fares you can get Tamil Nadu. The Amma Mess is known for some of the best non-vegetarian meals. From prawn biryani to bone marrow omelet, and their signature dish meen kuzhambu, Amma Mess is always crowded with the most ardent of non-veg lovers. You can enjoy a meal here while being surrounded by portraits of various Tamil movie stars and the owner. Amma Mess is most well-known for the unique types of omelets you can get here, especially the crab omelet and the bone marrow omelet.
Amma Mess is from 12:30 pm to 11:30 pm, and a meal for two comes out to approximately Rs. 400. Amma Mess is located on Alagar Kovil Road in Madurai.
5. Kothu Parotta at Any Time of Night
Madurai is popularly known as the City that Never Sleeps or Thoonga Nagaram, and rightfully so. After all, you can find delicious food in Madurai at any time of the night, especially at the street vendors selling the famous kothu parotta. The fluffing up and buttering up of the parantha or parotta as it is commonly pronounced in Madurai will make your mouth water even before it comes in front of you. With the kothu parotta, Madurai ensures that nobody goes to sleep empty stomach in the night. These are usually sold on pushcarts that start plying the roads anywhere after 7 pm. This is a typical night-time dish popularly found across the city. A meal for two should come to around Rs. 200.
6. Dessert at Famous Jigarthandai
Time to indulge your sweet tooth at Famous Jigarthandai. It is common in Madurai for people to wash down a heavy non-vegetarian lunch or even a light vegetarian meal with a cold and refreshing glass of jigarthandai. Even though the origin of this beverage in Madurai is often disputed, but this drink is made from a concoction of condensed milk, freshly made ice cream, and a generous topping of sarsaparilla syrup is a much-loved favorite of the locals. There are many stories that credit the Madurai sultanate as having come up with the concept of this cold and refreshing drink. In contrast, others attribute it as a Nawabi import from northern India. Either way, this is one of the most famous desserts of Madurai, and the locals firmly believe that a drink of the Famous Jigarthandai can help you beat the afternoon heat.
The Famous Jigarthandai can be found in the Kamarajar Salai corner in Madurai. The shop is open from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm. A meal for two should cost around Rs. 200 here.
7. Three-tiered Dosa at Konar Mess
When you are in Tamil Nadu, how can the famous dosa not find a mention in the list of best foods of Madurai? The Konars are a community know to use every part of an animal, leaving nothing to go to waste. Their delicious non-veg dishes feature prominently on the menu when you pay a visit to the very popular Konar Mess. The Konar Mess is mostly known for its stacked dosa, also known as the kari dosa. This dosa comes with an omelet topped with a layer of ground mutton.
The Konar Mess is also famous for another favorite dish of the locals known as elumbu roast, which is prepared by using mutton bones that are roasted in a wide variety of spices and served hot on top of boldly flavored curries. This is usually paired with a chilled glass of Bovonto, which is an aerated grape drink that is typically found in Madurai. If you are pressed for time, and you want to try out some of the best dishes of Madurai, a visit to the Konar Mess should be your number one choice.
The establishment is open from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm, and then again in the evening from 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm, and it is located in Madurai Main. A meal for two comes to around Rs. 400.
Madurai is an important cultural and religious center in Tamil Nadu, but it is also massively famous for some of the most delicious and mouth-watering cuisines in southern India. Due to this, Madurai is often referred to as Tamil Nadu’s food capital, and rightly so. The cuisine of Madurai draws its flavors from many other communities and is an assortment of several culinary styles. With a unique flair added to its dishes, the food of Madurai attracts tourists from all over Tamil Nadu.