What is Australian food?
Australian food is both tasty and varied. Australia is a relatively new country. However, in its small history, it has adapted many cuisines from its large immigrant population. Moreover, in many cases it has created many foods from its natural environment, Yet, others are inspired from the cuisine of overseas countries.
In Australia’s largest cities, namely Sydney and Melbourne, you may dine on the cuisine from most countries and major regional areas. In Australia, the cuisine often tastes better than in the original country due to the abundance and diversity or fresh produce.
It is a land of fresh food. Because of its wide variety of climates, it is largely self sufficient in its food needs. Following is a list of many foods that are either unique to Australia or were developed in Australia.
Vegemite on toast is a black spread made from vegetable oil that many Australians eat religiously. It is not readily available overseas and locals often send it to Australian family and friends living overseas.
Avocado on toast is available in many cafes for breakfast. Avocado is spread onto a slice of toast.
Bacon and egg rolls are very common in breakfast cafes. However, you can make your own with a slice of bacon, a fried egg, some barbecue sauce and a soft roll.
Mains and Snacks
Barbecues are very common in Australia and are considered very much Australian food. However, apart from Paul Hogan, nobody has ever said “Let’s put a shrimp on the barbie“. This is because we don’t call them shrimps. We have prawns instead. Normally, we cook “snags” aka sausages, and steak (both lamb and beef). Some also cook prawns, vegetarian, kangaroo and other meats on the barbecue.
Chicken parmigiana is a chicken schnitzel or ‘chicken schnitty‘ with ham, cheese and a tomato sauce inside the crumbed outer sheath. The schnitzel originally hales from Germany. However, the addition of the ham, cheese and tomato possibly is a result of a high population of Italian immigrants at one time.
San Choi Bau is an Australian dish found in many Chinese restaurants in Australia. However, it is not found in China. This is because it was developed in Australia as a result of the large Chinese immigrant population. Basically it wraps pork mince, peanut oil and some sauces in lettuce leaves.
Kangaroo, whilst not as mainstream as beef or lamb is not only available in restaurants but available in the county’s two main supermarkets Coles and Woolworths.
Hamburger with the lot, is an Australian hamburger consisting of a beef pattie, lettuce, tomato, egg, cheese, caramelised onion, bacon and beetroot. No hamburger with the lot is truly Australian without the beetroot.
Emu and Crocodile may also be found in some boutique restaurants.
Whilst many Brits see Fish ‘n’ Chips as British, in Australia, the quality of our fish makes it unique. Our Barramundi, Flathead, Bream and Whiting is quite flavoursome compared to the English Halibut or Cod. Furthermore, in Australia, fish is often grilled or crumbed instead of just being deep fried.
The Australian Dim Sim is deep fried and larger than the Chinese dim sim.
Meat pies, sausage rolls and sausage sandwiches are staple foods at carnivals and sports events. In days past, chiko rolls and dagwood dogs were also quite popular.
Damper is a traditional bushman’s bread prepared with flour, water, and salt and then left to cook in the embers of the campfire.
A Lamington is squares of sponge cake coated in chocolate and rolled in desiccated coconut.
A Chocolate crackle is a children’s party favourite (also found in school fetes) in Australia and has been for generations It is a baked snack that combines Rice Bubbles, fine coconut, icing sugar, cocoa and Copha.
A Neenish tart has a pastry base, a filling of mock cream, icing sugar paste, or lemon and sweetened condensed milk mixture, with bi-colour dried icing on the top.
Pavlova is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with whipped cream and fruit. It takes its name from the Russian ballerina when she toured Australia.
Vanilla slice is a slice of thick vanilla flavoured custard sandwiched between flaky pastry and topped with icing. It is available in most bakeries in Australia.
Fairy Bread is a slice of white bread with margarine topped with hundreds and thousands and is a popular staple at children’s parties.
Australia is the fifth largest exporter of wine around the world, holding its own against far more established players.
Lemon Lime and bitters is a cocktail made with a combination of lemonade, lime juice cordial, and Angostura bitters.and garnished with a lemon or lime slice.
In the coffee side, both the Long Black and Flat White originate in Australia. The Flat White is a coffee variety that has a double shot of freshly brewed espresso and milk, which is usually steamed to create a light, silky foam on the surface. The Long Black is an espresso shot prepared by pouring or directly extracting the espresso into a cup of hot water.
Solo, a lemon flavoured soft drink and Milo, a chocolate flavoured milk additive are also Australian.
Many around Australia enjoy Australian beer, with each state having its own preference. The quality of the beer is well renowned.
The Golden Gaytime is a popular ice cream combination of toffee and vanilla flavoured ice cream, dipped in a choc coating and covered in biscuit pieces. Streets make and distribute it.
Splice is an ice cream encased in a pineapple and lime frozen fruit flavoured ice. At the centre of the ice cream is a wooden stick for ease of consumption.
The Weiss bar is a pairing of a normally fruit flavour and creamy ice cream in the shape of a bar. Popular flavours include passionfruit and coconut, and blackberry and vanilla.
Australian biscuits include Anzac biscuits, Iced VoVo and Tim Tam
Burger Rings, Twisties (both cheese and chicken flavoured) and Cheezels are snack food chips that originate from here.
We have a number of unique chocolate snack foods that have originated here such as Freddo Frogs, Bertie Beetles, Caramello Koala, Cherry Ripe, Chomp, Violet Crumble and Picnic.
As well as a number of other confectioneries such as Eucalyptus Drops, Fantales, Fruit tingles, Milko Chews, Minties, Musk sticks and Redskins.
Make sure you sample some of our Australian food when you are in Australia.
In addition to the foods already mentioned, native Australians eat goanna (protected species), snake, lizard, wallaby, witchetty grubs, Bogong moths, green ants, Quandong, bush tomato, yams and macadamia nuts and have been for a very long time.
A note about Shrimp on the Barbie
Shrimp on the barbie was a television advertising campaign that was launched by Australian Tourism Commission. It starred Paul Hogan. It launched in the mid-80s to appeal to the American market. However the word ‘shrimp’ is not normally used in Australia. In fact most barbecues traditionally cook red meat (mainly steak and snags [sausages]). Aussie’s do like a ‘Surf & Turf’ which is a grilled seafood and meat combination dish that may have prawns as the seafood.
Sydney Restaurants that sell Australian Food
- Meat and Wine Company, Circular Quay (offers kangaroo)
- Australian Hotel, The Rocks (offers kangaroo, emu, crocodile pizza)
- Sydney Tower (Buffet includes kangaroo, emu and crocodile sausages)
- Aria (offers kangaroo)
Many pubs and clubs offer Chicken Parmigiana and Hamburgers with the lot.
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