The Chennai-Bengaluru highway that goes through Sriperumbudur, Vellore, Ambur and Hosur is one of the easiest ways to travel between Bengaluru and Chennai. This expressway is also a foodie's paradise with multiple foodie stops. From fluffy hot idlis dabbed with idli podi (aka gunpowder) to Ambur-style biryani and local sweet specialities, you will be spoilt for choice. I've done multiple drives down this highway. There are times when I'm stretched for time and make express stops for breakfast or lunch and there are also road trips when I make that extra time to dig deeper into the culinary traditions along this highway. Whether you're planning a relaxed trip with your friends or family or a business trip, our list is a great starting point for your next road trip from Chennai or Bengaluru.
Sri Motel Highway (Jain's) Poonamalee: I'd always recommend leaving Chennai by 5 a.m. if you want to beat the traffic. If you're not a morning person and drive out late, then this is one of your best options for breakfast. It's one of the first stops as you leave Chennai and offers an exhaustive breakfast menu that includes their popular set dosa and Pongal. This vegetarian restaurant also serves South Indian meals.
Here Are 6 Eats You Can't-Miss On Chennai-Bengaluru Highway:
1. Murugan Idli shop
This popular idli restaurant from Madurai has multiple outlets in Chennai and offers a choice of two locations (Near Vellore and Krishagiri) along this highway. The menu and quality stay consistent with the chain's other outlets. Aside from their fluffy, almost sticky, Madurai-style idlis, regulars also flock to Murugan for their onion uthappam and podi dosa (slathered with ghee and idli powder). The sweet Pongal is another bestseller here.
One of my favourite stops for a South Indian breakfast or meal on this highway. The service is switched on and the toilets are relatively clean. I'd recommend one of their popular dishes - the chutney idli. Piping hot idlis are dunked in a thin chutney, almost like sambar idli. The restaurant also offers healthy options like the pearl millet (Kambu in Tamil) dosa and one of the most invigorating tumblers of filter coffee along this stretch. Do try their other house favourite - paal kozhukattai, when you are here.
3. Ambur biryani
It's a thing. Most road trippers stop along this stretch for Ambur biryani. I still believe that the best Ambur biryani is never sold in a restaurant. The restaurant biryani never quite matches the home-style biryani or wedding biryani in Ambur. Ambur's Star Briyani (not biryani) was the early mover in Ambur. Hussain Baig began selling biryani from his home kitchen back in the 1890s before becoming one of the most sought-after wedding cooks in the area. The family set up Star Briyani in the 1970s. It hasn't just grown into a large chain but has sparked a wave of clones. The distinctive cooking method - the rice and meat are cooked separately before combining them in a covered vessel to cook them in dum style, adds to its unique flavour. It's almost impossible to resist the temptation of a biryani stop in Ambur at outlets like Star or Rahmaniya Hotel. Ahmedia is another popular biryani pit stop.
4. Take the detour at Vaniyambadi
Not all food stops are along the highway. I'd recommend the slight detour at Vaniyambadi to stop at a couple of local favourites. The Vaniyambadi biryani is similar to the Ambur biryani and if there's one restaurant that serves a terrific biryani it's Kaja Hotel. Another popular biryani spot is KR Biryani. Not far away from Kaja Hotel is Ahmed Sweets which serves their signature dry fruit ladoo, koya jangiri and kheema samosas. Perfect to parcel for your road trip or to take back home.
5. Arcot Makkan Peda
The story of the Makkan Peda also begins in the kitchens of the Arcot Nawabs who once lorded the areas around Vellore and Ambur, important commercial towns that are on the Bengaluru-Chennai highway. Think of the Makkan Peda as an improvised, richer version of a gulab jamun. Each khoya ball is stuffed with an assortment of dry fruits that include everything from pistachios, raisins, melon seeds and raisins. The Arcot Chettiyar sweet stall is easy to drive past in the crowded market street of Arcot. This iconic store is over 190 years old and is one of the best spots to buy the legendary Makkan Peda
About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie - a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.