Whenever you visit somewhere new, one of the best things to experience is the cuisine. Australia is a bit different from other places as there isn’t one thing that defines ‘Australian Cuisine’ as it’s actually many things, due to influences from our multicultural society. There are true Aussie-style foods that you’ve got to experience, such as good old meat pies, lamingtons, barbecued prawns and outback damper. Plus there are the dishes that have been adapted or ‘fused’ from overseas, such as curries, pizza and countless others!
Some Aussie dishes are best enjoyed at cafes, restaurants and other outlets because they’re a bit complicated to cook or make at home, but whatever you choose to do – dining out or trying your hand at home – the following foods are undeniably Australian and completely delicious. Here is our top 10 list!
A simple, Australian bread that is traditionally made on camping trips because it is baked in the hot coals of the campfire. Break apart with your hands then slather with real butter and a drizzle of golden syrup. Enjoy with a hot cup of billy tea (see below).
The type of tea you use is just as important as the location and the ritual of drinking the tea itself. Using normal tea bags is prohibited because Billy Tea is the stuff of legends and can only be truly made in a ‘billy can’ using proper black tea leaves. It can be consumed with or without milk and sugar and will be part of your quintessential Australian experience.
Available in most bakeries and supermarkets right across the country, lamingtons are a world-famous Aussie sweet treat with a history that goes back more than a hundred years. Lamingtons are a square of sponge cake dipped in thin chocolate icing, which is then rolled in desiccated coconut.
Both Australia and New Zealand lay claim to the Pavlova’s origin but nonetheless, it is enjoyed by Australians at many special occasions. It is a meringue concoction heavily covered in fresh whipped cream and decorated with fresh fruits, traditionally banana, mango, strawberries and passionfruit. You can try making this masterpiece yourself, or otherwise, many cake shops sell Pavlovas.
A cookie by any other name but as it’s a classic Aussie-style recipe - it has to be called a biscuit! Created to feature ingredients that were readily available during World War One, ANZAC biscuits were invented as ‘army biscuits’ because they have a long shelf life and can be eaten as a carbohydrate substitute for bread.
The following is pretty much the ‘standard’ ANZAC biscuit recipe.
Read more about the history of ANZAC biscuits at the Australian War Memorial website.
Meat pies, Chiko Rolls, sausage sizzles, and burgers. Sounds like a vegetarian’s worst nightmare, but the great Australian meat diet is alive and well!
Meat pies are chunks of meat and gravy enclosed by pastry with a dollop of tomato sauce, and can be part of a meal if you add peas and mashed potato. Chiko Rolls are a beef pastry roll with vegetables, and sausage sizzles are a good excuse to have a social event.
You will most likely experience an Australian style barbecue at some point in your stay! If you go to Bunnings Warehouse for your hardware supplies on the weekend, you will most likely walk past a sausage sizzle with proceeds going to a local community group or charity before you walk in the door!
Don’t be fooled; Milo has been around for more than 80 years and was actually created to supplement children’s diets because in the Great Depression of the 1930s, children were not consuming enough nutrients.
Milo is still made in the very same factory where it was first produced in 1934 and the recipe has always remained unchanged through all those decades.
Milo is enjoyed by adults as much as children because it’s a nostalgic reminder of after school snacks. Milo is a chocolate and malt powder that is stirred into cold or hot milk to make a delicious drink. Directions are below!
How to make a cold milo drink:
An alternative to the above is:
Beyond drinking it however, there are a myriad of ways that Aussies consume Milo:
If you’re not familiar with bush tucker, its classic reference is any food that is native to Australia and is or was used as nourishment by indigenous Aussies. These days, however, bush tucker ingredients have become fashionable and are used in upmarket restaurants by famous chefs.
Dishes start with herbs and spices found in the outback and include native fruits, nuts and vegetables and extend to indigenous animals such as saltwater crocodiles, emus, kangaroos, wallabies and even goannas.
Visit a farmers’ market and you are likely to find such ingredients. Spices will include mountain pepper and aniseed myrtle and your fruit basket will contain quandongs (also known as ‘native peaches’), bush tomatoes, snowberries and finger limes.
Macadamia nuts make a wonderful alternative to peanuts in satays. Be sure to try a kangaroo steak or kangaroo sausages. All of these ingredients are increasingly finding their way into mainstream stores or markets and recipes abound on the internet to show you how to use them.
Basically a biscuit coated by layers of chocolate, millions of Tim Tam packets are sold every year in Australia. If you’re a chocoholic, you’ll be hooked and you’ll be stuffing your suitcase with them for the trip home!
Want more examples of Aussie cuisine? Check out this list of 40 foods Australians call their own compiled by CNN.
To really understand what it is to be Australian, it’s important to explore the local cuisine. It could be as simple as Vegemite on toast for breakfast, Tim Tams dunked in your coffee or adding a slice of canned beetroot to your burger.
Or, seek out restaurants that offer fully-fledged bush tucker or even go into the outback where tour operators will be only too happy to show you where you can sample real bush foods, straight from the tree or the creek!
Learn more about Australia: