Original publication date: 26 January 2016
Whilst travel to the Land Down Under might be off the cards for quite some time, you can still do some foodie study in preparation for the next adventure (or perhaps some reminiscing on simpler times).
Lamingtons via What Annabel Cooks
Amongst the most Australian dishes ever invented (aside from perhaps the Vegemite lamington – next level), everybody loves a fluffy lamington. They look weird, like little black cubes covered in frost, but the coconut, cocoa and jam with puffy sponge is what we’re all about.
Meat pie via Wikimedia Commons
Fairy bread via Creative Commons
Fairy bread is as Australian as Vegemite. A favourite at kids’ birthday parties, it’s sliced white bread (must be white) spread with margarine or butter and covered with sprinkles (aka hundreds and thousands) that stick to the top of the bread. Must always be cut into four triangles.
Anzac biscuits via Taste
The golden syrup in these, when combined with the oats, means the dough is actually tastier than a baked biscuit. During war times, they were sent overseas to serving Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) in World War I owing to their excellent storage properties.
Pavlova via Three Bears Melbourne
Though this dessert was named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, Australians claim it as their own. This is a divisive one – some people hate this meringue topped simply with whipped cream and fruits, while other love it. There is no middle ground with pavlova.
Tim Tam via Creative Commons
These are so much more than chocolate biscuits. Australians eat 45 million packets of Tim Tams a year, and stats say on average that one in every two Australian households contains a packet of Tim Tams.
Sausage roll via Garlo’s Pies
People literally eat these for breakfast (especially “tradies”, or tradesmen/women), lunch (everyone else) and dinner (celeb chef Curtis Stone).
Vegemite via Wikimedia Commons
Vegemite is usually spread on toast and untoasted bread. It also sometimes makes its way onto crackers. Vegemite has an intense flavour with yeast and umami notes. Some slather it, others dot it, but either way, it isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Milo via School of Code
Correct ratios for this chocolate/malt drink is 6–15 heaped tablespoons of Milo to every one cup of milk. Can be consumed hot or cold.
Iced VoVo via Polaroid Blip Foto
These iconic pink iced biscuits are a perfect marriage of jam and coconut. They are delicious, dainty and full of sugar.
“… it’s hard to have a Gaytime on your own,” and we quite agree. Golden Gaytime was first released in 1960s Australia and is now iconic, remaining steadfastly popular. Think toffee and vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate covered in crushed honeycomb biscuit – on a wooden stick, for handy transport.
Wagon Wheels via Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind
Sold worldwide, including in Canada, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Malta, Russia, the Dominican Republic and the United Kingdom (hitting all the major economic hubs of the world), Arnott’s has done an outstanding job in their marketing to Australia, and every child has had these chocolate-covered, marshmallow-filled biscuits in their lunch box at least once.
Vanilla slice via Yummy Lummy
Some call it a millefeuille, others a napoleon, but Australians call it a vanilla slice (because things should never be too confusing). Walk into any bakery anywhere in Oz and you will find this.
Macadamia nuts via RF Biocidics
Could a nut possibly sound more Australian? It’s as though each vowel is perfectly placed to ensure maximum twang. MacAAAdaYYYmia.
SAO biscuit via Jane Sleeps Here
Launched in 1906, these are more cracker than biscuit. They taste a lot like nothing, which makes them ideal for a topping of tomato and cheese with salt and pepper. Serve them as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea and you’re laughing (like a galah).
Chiko Rolls via The Hoopla
An Australian version of a spring roll, this deep-fried fast food has a massively thick, chewy dough wrapper and is usually filled with beef, barley, cabbage, carrot, celery and rice. It was first sold in 1951 and is particularly popular at football matches.
Dim sims via Herald Sun
Yes sims, not sum – sims. A dim sim is kinda like a giant dumpling filled with pork and vegetables that is then steamed, fried, barbecued or baked. And Australian people really, really love them. So much so that a shrine was going to be built in Melbourne, paying homage to dim sims. We’re not kidding.
Cherry Ripe via Cookbooks for Company
Wikipedia tells us that this demigod of a chocolate bar was “introduced by the Australian confectioner MacRobertson’s in 1924 and is now now one of Australia’s oldest chocolate bars and is one of the top chocolate bar brands sold in the country”. Many expats experience severe discombobulation moving out of Oz when they realise they cannot buy Cherry Ripe anywhere, and then they request every visitor to bring one with them. Or so we hear.
Chicken parma via La Flambé
Chicken parma is a staple of RSL (Returned and Services League of Australia) clubs and pubs everywhere. It usually comes with underseasoned chips and a boring side salad.
Cheese & bacon roll
Cheese & bacon roll via Baker’s Delight
Roll ( ) into Baker’s Delight, grab one of these bad boys, cover it with way too much margarine and wonder why your palate never develops.
Burger with the “lot” (beetroot, pineapple, egg)
Burger with the “lot” via Serious Eats
David Chang has a big ol’ problem with this burger. He reckons it’s the worst in the world.
“They put a fried egg on their burger. They put canned beetroot on it, like a wedge of it. I am not joking you.” – David Chang
There is a beauty about the Australian burger. Found in service stations (called “servos” in the local dialect) and beach-side restaurants everywhere, it’s an undertaking to eat, given that pineapple, beetroot, egg, lettuce, tomato and beef don’t tend to balance very well. This being said, it’s delicious and worth trying before you knock it.
Kangaroo steak via Gourmet Game
No, we don’t ride kangaroos to work – we eat them. Kangaroo steak can literally be found in the cold section of the supermarket in Australia. Slated as a far more sustainable, leaner alternative to beef, kanga meat is definitely not a common dinnertime protein, but it might get there. And it’s uniquely Australian. Ants, kangaroos, jellyfish… this is the way of the future, people.
Weet-Bix via Wikimedia Commons
What’s this? Oh, just the breakfast of champions. Note: will get exceptionally soggy within seconds of coming into contact with milk, becoming a rapid problem. Never eat soggy Weet-Bix!
Rainbow Paddle Pop
Rainbow Paddle Pop via smoothfm
The ice cream of everyone’s childhood, there is no white school uniform that hasn’t been tainted by the resplendent trials of a melting rainbow-coloured Paddle Pop. There’s no better flavour than rainbow, which is apparently caramel (our whole lives have been a lie).
Chocolate crackles via Kate Barnes
Pretty sure every Australian parent walks out of the hospital with a newborn babe and a recipe for chocolate crackles in hand. School fairs and birthday parties are consistently strewn with these white cupcake wrappers. The earliest recipe found so far is from The Australian Women’s Weekly in December 1937.
Killer pythons, ears & clouds
Killer python via Pulse Climbing
Everyone knows some parts of the python are loads better than others. It’s awkward because oftentimes the head is an awful colour, which can be off-putting for first-time pythoners (FTP, for those in the know). These, along with clouds and ears, are the staple gummy sweets of any tuck shop in Australia.
Dunkaroos via Coles
Though Americans can no longer buy these in the USA (grieving, commence), Woolworths is doing every Australian proud by keeping the hazelnut-dip-with-vanilla-biscuit snack on the shelves.
Roast leg of lamb
Declared the national dish of Australia in a unofficial media poll, roast lamb gets served up pretty much every week across the land.
Violet Crumble via Treats
An Australian chocolate bar made by Nestlé, Violet Crumble consists of a honeycomb-crumble centre that is covered by overly sweet milk chocolate. It’s kind of like a bad version of a Crunchie. It comes in 50g bars, which means it’s often a treat of Friday lunch boxes.
Damper via Our Naked Australia
To ensure stereotypes stay strong, all Australian children are taken into the bush during school camp and taught how to make damper. Usually baked in the coals of a campfire, the Australian “bush tucker” that long fed stockmen, drovers and swagmen comes alongside billy tea (which is lovely and smoky in later years, but as a child, it’s the same as ingesting Pepto-Bismol) and golden syrup.
Sausage sizzle via Disana Project
Say, “Come over for a sausage sizzle”, in Australia, and no one will laugh. This iconic Australian street food is available at birthday parties, beach days, sports days, fundraisers, weddings, when at the pool and in front of Bunnings. If they’re making you pay more than $2 for a sausage in bread, tell ‘im ‘e’s dreamin’.
Fantales via Milk and Honey
Fantales are caramels that are covered in low-quality chocolate, often causing lockjaw. Another fun benefit of Fantales (it seems they’re endless) is that their wrappers are covered in trivia (God knows who comes up with the stuff). Actually, a rather industrious journalist went about finding out who scribes this trivia; the full fascinating story can be found here.
Nutri-Grain via Piriniha
Invariably pronounced “new-chra-grain” by Australians everywhere, this cereal has supported the IronMan and IronWoman races for years, which have become two of Australia’s most iconic sporting events.
All the best wine comes from Australia. Everyone knows that.
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