Food in Tirunelveli

Tirunelveli, one of the historical territorial dominions of Tamil Nadu is a flourishing urban centre that preserves its culture and tradition intact. Located on the banks of the illustrious the Thamirabarani River, Tirunelveli is fondly called as Nellai by Tamil speaking population living all over the world. Tirunelveli is a renowned tourist destination that is frequented by thousands of visitors from throughout the country, irrespective of times of year.

Tirunelveli Food

Being a place that is dotted with tourist attractions like Arulmigu Nellaiappar Arultharum Kanthimathi Amman Temple, Holy Trinity Cathedral Church, Thirupudaimaruthur Narumbunatha Swami Temple, Courtallam waterfalls, Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Koothankulam Bird Sanctuary and many other notable sites, Tirunelveli is well equipped with tourist-centric choices, especially restaurants. 

Besides, the name Tirunelveli reminds of alvaa (Tirunelveli version of dense and sweet confection of Halva). Commonly referred as Nellai alvaa, Tirunelveli wheat halva is far-famed all over the world for its unique texture, taste and aroma. The region is famous for a wide variety of regional dishes as well. Let's get to know more about the food options and cuisine of Tirunelveli in detail.

Food Culture of Tirunelveli

Tirunelveli cuisine is typically a South Indian cuisine with rice, making the most common part of the day to day diet. Tirunelveli has a plentiful culinary art, including regional recipes, traditional vegetarian dishes and non-vegetarian items. Tirunelveli cuisine is regarded as one of the most aromatic cuisine of Tamil Nadu as the distinguishable aroma and taste is attained by mixing various spices and seasoners that include ginger, garlic, peppercorns, mustard seeds, curry leaves, coriander leaves, coriander seeds, green chili, nutmeg, coconut and so on.

Tirunelveli Regional Food

A typical lunch meal of Tirunelveli comprises of boiled rice, sambar, rasam, buttermilk, curd, vatha kozhmabu, kootu, poriyal, varuval, aviyal, appalam, pickle and so on. Some of the most popular and common breakfast and dinner dishes of Tirunelveli include idly, variety of dosas, vadai, pongal, poori, kesari, idiyappam, uthappam, rava upma, rava kichadi, adai, semiya upma and so on.

Region Delicacies of Tirunelveli

  • Varagu Ulundhu Saadham (Barnyard millet urad dhal rice)
  • Nellai Sodhi/Maapillai Sodhi
  • Vazhaikkai Puttu (Podimas)
  • Ellu Thuvaiyal (Sesame chutney)
  • Aviyal
  • Ulundham Paruppu saadham (Urad dhal rice)
  • Nellai Sambar
  • Puli Milagai (Tamarind chilli)
  • Naarthangai Pachadi (Citron pachadi)
  • Kurunai Dosa (Black gram dhal dosa)
  • Inji Pachadi (Ginger pachadi)

The Tale of Celebrated Tirunelveli Halwa

Tirunelveli reminds of Halwa to many as the region is famous for its specialty Halwa recipe sold across all the sweet stalls dotted across the length and breadth of the city. Tirunelveli Halwa is the outcome of a zealous culinary conception and has become the visiting card for the residents of this historic city. At first, house was introduced to Tirunelveli by rajputraa masses from Rajasthan who were employed by Jamindhars at Chokampatti, a small village of Tirunelveli.


Those rajputraa people made the pleasant-tasting halwa and served the Jamindhar of Chokampatti village. It was during the year 1882; Tirunelveli witnessed its first halwa shop opened. Tirunelveli halwa is all about - aureate brown color, impenetrable texture, divine aroma and rich taste. As a matter of fact, the residents of Tirunelveli would not spend a day without relishing this famed halwa!

Some of the most popular Sweet Shops in Tirunelveli include:

Iruttu Kadai Lala Halwa Shop
Address: No 14, East Car Street, Tirunelveli Town, Tirunelveli - 627006
Phone Number: +(91)-462-2339614

Santhi Sweets
Address: No 3 Bus Stand Building, Opp Santhi Vihar, Madurai Road, Tirunelveli Junction, Tirunelveli - 627001
Phone Number: +(91)-462-2322398

Shanthi Sweets
Address: Opposite Ag School, Bus Stand Road, Surandai, Tirunelveli - 627859
Phone Number: +(91)-9443508346, 9444251080, 9788742756

Lakshmi Vilas Sweet Shop
Address: No 68, Meenakshi Puram, East Street, Tirunelveli Junction, Tirunelveli - 627001
Phone number: +(91)-462-2339691

Thangaiya Sweets
Address: No A-27 & 28, Sri Arputha Vinayagar Kovil Junction, Tisayanvillai, Tirunelveli - 627657

Aryaas Sweets
Address: No 124 A, Opp To Nehruji Auditorium, Trivandrum Road, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli - 627002
Phone Number: +(91)-9486136292, 9443309292

Restaurants in Tirunelveli

Being an ideal tourist destination that welcomes thousands of visitors throughout the year, Tirunelveli is well equipped with a wide variety of dining out options that include multi cuisine restaurant, authentic vegetarian restaurants, fast food joints and other food options to serve the needs and demands of the local population and visitors as well. Some of the popular restaurants in Tirunelveli include Vairamaaligai garden restaurant, Bharani hotel, Hotel Sulthaniya, CFC food court, MH family multi cuisine restaurant, Buhari hotel, King's chic multi cuisine restaurant, Nellai saravana bhavan restaurant and so on. Click here to get the list of restaurants in Tirunelveli
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