Aussie Cuisine Essentials: What to Try In Australia
Stereotype may want you to think that Australian cuisine is all about kangaroo and crocodile meat, but that stops here! Behold Aussie cuisine’s finest and most traditional foods, for your enjoyment.
Wherever you may be in Australia, there is one true classic that may be enjoyed anywhere from Sydney to the Outback – a good old backyard barbecue. This delicacy is one you ought to enjoy outdoors, watching the smoke go up and with a refreshing drink in your hands. Our tip? Forget the restaurants and take it the DIY way for an authentic Aussie experience. You can use all kinds of meats on this one so feel free to get creative.
While the name may point towards Eastern Europe, don’t be fooled. This dessert takes its name from famous Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova after one of her Australia and New Zealand tours in the 1920s. Both countries say they’ve created it, but that doesn’t affect the quality of this dessert. The plate itself is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and very soft insides, and is typically topped with fruits – strawberries, kiwis, passion fruit – and cream. But back to the point – who created it?
No, it isn’t marmite. Yes, it’s similar. No, they’re different. Australia’s most popular spread is salty, slightly bitter and malty, and fairly thinner if compared to its Commonwealth marmite counterpart. The flavor itself is also less intense. Like marmite, it’s a love it or hate it case – try it out and leave a comment!
Yet another dessert, Arnott’s Tim Tam is a heavenly combination of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit kept apart by a light chocolate cream filling, and with a chocolate layer to coat it all. Need I say more? Tim Tams originated when Arnott went to Britain, tried the Penguin biscuit and decided there and then to “make a better one”. Careful, though: after trying them, you may want to buy an extra suitcase on the way back to take some with you.
Prepared originally by travelers of all sorts, damper is made of wheat flour bread baked in the coals of a campfire. Given the deep Aussie connection with the outdoors and exploring, damper became a popular and iconic dish. If you’re on the road, all you need to make your own is flour, water, and optionally milk and baking soda. Cook it by putting it on the flattened ashes of a campfire for 20-30 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped. Try it out!
A hand sized meat pie with minced meat and gravy, and often a couple extras like onion and cheese. Former New South Wales premier Bob Carr suggested it was Australia’s national dish. On average, Australians consume 12 of these each per year – 3 short of New Zealand’s average. While both countries also try to claim ownership of the dish, you’re better off enjoying it while they’re at it.
Hamburger with ‘the lot’
Last but not least, you probably know hamburgers aren’t exactly Australian – and if you somehow you didn’t, now you do. That doesn’t stop Aussie cuisine from adding its own twist to it. In fact, adding is all this is about. The instructions are simple: walk in any respectable establishment that serves burgers, ask for a “hamburger with the lot” and wait. You’ll be greeted with a burger with the classic meat and cheese, plus grilled onion, beetroot, a pineapple slice, a fried egg, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, tomato and/or barbecue sauce (also, take note: tomato sauce, not ketchup – now repeat this to yourself under your breath) and finally, if you want, mayonnaise and/or mustard. Burgers may be American, but “the lot” makes it all a lot different.
These, of course, are far from it all. There are also delicacies like ANZAC cookies and a whole lot you can throw in. What is your favorite Aussie dish? Plan your gourmet Australian tour using Trekeffect!
–Lucas Ferrari dos Santos