Tamil Nadu is a region of chilli-infused vegetarian cooking. Meals revolve around tasty thalis (South Indian all-you-can-eat 'meals'), dosas (paper-thin lentil-flour pancakes), idlis (spongy, round fermented-rice cakes) and vadas (deep-fried lentil-flour doughnuts). Sample them at frenzied hole-in-the-walls, smart-ish Indian eateries or high-end hotel restaurants. In Puducherry, enjoy exquisite Tamil-French fusion food. The main exception to the all-veg diet is Chettinadu's fiery cooking.

Typically Tamil Food

Tamil Nadu’s favourite foods are overwhelmingly vegetarian, full of coconut and chilli. You’ll find dosas, idlis, and vadas served with coconut chutney and sambar (lentil broth). Almost as ubiquitous is the uttapam, a thick, savoury rice pancake with finely chopped onions, green chillies and coriander. South Indian thalis – served on banana leaves or stainless-steel trays – are based around rice, lentil dishes, rasam (dhal-based broth), veg curries and chutneys. For a tea-growing state, Tamil Nadu adores its filter coffee, with milk, sugar, and a dash of chicory.