People in Salem believe in feeding others before feeding themselves. Their cuisine is rich in dishes prepared with rice, lentils, and legumes. Most dishes have tamarind in it as a souring agent. Being a part of Tamil Nadu, Salem has the same authentic south Indian cuisine found elsewhere in the state. Hence, Idli, dosa, vada, and uttapam are common breakfast dishes accompanied with sambar or curd. The best local dish in Salem is Thattu Vadai Set. It is a street food item famous all over south India. It is a crispy and savoury dish prepared with deeply fried rice flour doughs topped with green and red chutney. The dish is also garnished with carrots, onions, and beetroots for a punch of flavours.