21 Must Try Foods of Southern India
Discover 21 must try foods of Southern India. Indian food is famous all over the world. Probably as much as Chinese food. In fact, I’m pretty sure curry is a national dish of England, and while it may not be the same as a traditional Indian curry, it would have definitely stemmed from it.
Not all of the following are necessarily foods unique to Southern India, but they are a selection of foods I ate while traveling through Southern India.
21 Must Try Foods of Southern India
1. Kerala Poratta
The first item on this list of foods of Southern India is Kerela Poratta.
I have a feeling that Poratta is all over India (a 99.999999% sure feeling) but this is Korela Poratta. Not sure what the difference is between this and plain.
Lots of other different breads which I have with other meals but dont give each one their own listing. There is too many and they are all delicious!
Onion and tomato on Indian bread, with a little side of vegetarian curry.
A yogurt type drink that comes in a range of flavors. Obviously I got mango cause I love it.
Biryani is one of the more well known foods of Southern India. Probably because it tastes awesome. I ate it a lot during my time in India.
Beef Biryani from a food stall inside the mall. With the drink (lime juice) cost was 200IDR.
Vegetable Biryani from a local restaurant. 30IDR.
5. Tandori Chicken Noodles
Fried noodles is more or less the same where-ever you go. Each country has their own little twist. This was pretty damn good. Not oily (unlike Malaysia), and not too salty (unlike the Philippines.) Maybe it would be a little spicy for some. It was just on the edge for me, but I was very happy with it.
I saw a sign that said “Today’s Special, Carrot Kurma and Banana Kurma”, so I got one of each.
They are sweet. Pretty much like carrot or banana cake depending on the flavor you get.
A classic Indian snack.
This particular one is Butter Masala Dosai. I got it because I knew I had to catch the overnight bus that night (from Madurai to Pondicherry) and I figured it would not be spicy, i.e., I didn’t want my stomach playing funny buggers on me during the bus ride. I was wrong, it was spicy, because everything in India is spicy. Luckily my stomach was fine.
Whilst eating my Dosai I noticed some other customers drinking this drink, which looked nice so I got one. It was very good. Kind of like caramel. Afterwards I started seeing them for sale everywhere.
This one, from an air-conditioned restaurant, cost 50INR, but on the street they were as low as 20INR.
10. Dum Briyani
Number 10 on this list of foods of Southern India is Dum Briyani.
I’ve put this separate from the Briyani because it is Dum Biryani. The difference being in the way it is cooked. According to Alps Mo’s answer in Quora…
“In a normal Chicken Biryani, the meat is separately fried and added whereas in dum biryani the entire rice,meat, potatoes cooked by the steam and pressure. Thus Fried chicken biryani will be more oily and spicy, and dum will be more flavourful .”
11. Fried Rice
Another classic Chinese dish made with the Indian way. I liked it.
12. Chicken Gravy
This is one of those times where I saw what someone else was eating, pinted at it and said “give me that”. The guy serving told me it was chicken gravy (i.e. chicken in gravy). I am sure it has a special Indian name. Whatever it is called, it was amazing.
13. Ginger Drinks
All over southern India, from Kerala to Chennai, I saw signs for fresh ginger juice, soda, etc. This one pictured is obviously bought from a shop. I did try the fresh made ones also. Very good, but (not surprisingly) very gingery.
14. Mushroom Manjurian
I had no idea what this was going to be when I ordered it, apart from having mushrooms, but I was very happy with it. Absolutely amazing. Also comes in different “flavors”, i.e., replace the word mushroom with a different main ingredient.
15. Mattar Mushroom
This is similar to the Mushroom Manjurian, and you can get different versions of it also, i.e., not mushroom. Personally I like the Manjurian better but this was still pretty good.
The bread I have here is kuboos.
16. Nanari Juice
I have no idea what Nanari is but it tasted pretty good. Maybe is is kind of like honey.
17. Appachi Special Parotta
Anything menu item that has the word special in it I tend to get drawn to. I thought Appachi might have been the name of a local dialect or something, and maybe this dish was their own take on Parotta. As it turns out Appachi was just the name of the restaurant, but the meal was pretty special. They kind of just piled everything onto it. The parotta underneath was crispy. This was a good meal.
18. South Indian Meals
I had seen “Indian Meals” on many menus but that was all they said. No description of what types of meals where available. One day, in Mamallapuram, I tried to order something off a menu but they said the only thing available was South Indian Meals, so I said okay. Before I could ask what the choices where the waiter was gone.
As it turns out the “s” on the end of “meals” is just a grammatical error that all Indian restaurants (at least all the ones that I have been to) make, unless the different sauces/curries that comes with the rice are each considered a separate meal, which actually sounds pretty plausible.
19. Alu Gobi
As I was eating this I distinctly remember thinking, “wow, I haven’t eaten cauliflower in a really long time, but it tastes great!”. This meal tasted amazing.
For the next two days after this I had bad stomach cramps and put myself on a modified BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast). I don’t blame this one meal. I think the onslaught of Indian spices that I had been eating every day finally conquered my stomach. It needed a couple of days off.
20. Gobi 65
The second last item on this list of foods of Southern India is Gobu 65.
I had seen this “65” dish in many places (chicken, gobi, etc.) so decided to try it out. Turns out is Cauliflower (assuming you get Gobi) coated in some type of red breadcrumbs and then deep fried.
21. Mushroom Fry
Another dish that I commonly saw was “Fry” which , like the 65, could be chicken, gobi, etc. This was a tad on the spicy side but pretty nice. A bit oily though.
Mushroom fry was the last of the Indian foods I tried. I wanted to give myself at least 24 hours of “plain foods” before having to move on (to Bali).
I enjoyed trying the different foods of Southern India, even though my stomach couldn’t handle it after a while. Maybe it’s a little too flavoursome for me, especially after coming from the relatively bland Filipino Foods.
One thing I really enjoyed was that it was very vegetarian friendly. And their breads are just amazing. Eating with my hands got some getting used to but by the end of it I found it kind of fun, although I still prefer cutlery or chopsticks.
Do you know of any other delicious foods of Southern India that should be on this list? We’d love to hear about them or anything else you want to say in the comments 😀 .