Cuisine in Australia
What can you expect from the cuisine in Australia? Our experts have some tips to share with you.
While Australia’s heritage as a former British colony ensures there’s plenty of hearty dishes to try during a vacation, the country’s many migrants over the centuries have also added their own unique flavors into the mix.
In addition to trendy restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane which cater to every kind of diet, you’ll discover plenty of places – particularly in the more remote Northern Territory – where you can tuck into altogether more rustic cuisine in Australia.
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The Australian barbie
You can’t go on vacation to Australia without experiencing a barbie (barbecue). As the country’s climate guarantees long hot summers, locals love to spend a lot of time outdoors – including cooking and eating their meals. While many BBQ at home, you’ll find most local parks and beaches will have facilities for the public to use, too.
Australia’s huge agriculture industry means there’s an abundance of meat to grill on the barbie, whether it’s a good beef steak sourced from a Northern Territory cattle ranch or a snag (Australian beef or pork sausage).
Indigenous cuisine in Australia
Before Britain colonized Australia, it was inhabited for thousands of years by an indigenous population who largely lived off the land. As well as fishing in the vibrant coastal waters, they would hunt native mammals like emus, crocodiles and kangaroos. You’ll still find these unusual meats served in burgers or even on a pizza!
Another popular indigenous cuisine in Australia is bush tucker. These are foods sourced directly from the bush such as berries, macadamia nuts, witchetty grubs or lizards. You’ll want to journey into the Outback for the most authentic bush tucker dining experience.
Eating out in Australia
From al fresco fine dining to mouth-watering street food bites, enjoying a meal out is a huge part of Australia’s culinary culture. During your vacation, why not discover:
- Melbourne’s incredible coffee – Trendy Melbourne on the south coast has long been the best city in Australia for a cup of coffee. Discover the phenomenal cafe culture in the trendy Brunswick neighborhood or sip on an artisan brew at various coffee shops in the city’s central business district.
- Street food in Sydney – From the Chinatown Night Market to Bondi Farmers Market, Sydney is definitely the spot for some quick and easy street food bites. You’ll find options from every country under the sun, from Thai curries and Vietnamese soups to Aussie favorites like barbecued sausages served in soft bread rolls.
- Aboriginal eats in Alice Springs – If you’re keen to try some bush food, you should put Alice Springs on your agenda. The city in the very heart of the country is home to many restaurants featuring options like kangaroo, crocodile and various native veggies and herbs on their menus.
- Fine dining in Brisbane – Brisbane’s food scene is constantly changing, with more fine dining establishments popping up every year. Dine on exquisite dishes made from fresh, seasonal ingredients at bistro-style restaurants with wonderful waterfront outlooks.
- Global gastronomy in Perth – From sushi to tapas, you’ll find no shortage of food options covering all budgets and tastes in Perth. The city is also located a stone’s throw from Swan Valley, the oldest wine region in Western Australia.
- Sensational seafood in Tasmania – If you’re a seafood aficionado, make a trip to Tasmania that’s world-renowned for its crayfish. Sample lobster in a local Hobart eatery or have a go at sourcing your own dinner during an oyster harvesting adventure.
Classic Australian dishes
If you’re keen to sample some typical Aussie foods, you should definitely put the following local delicacies on your bucket list:
Vegemite – Similar to British Marmite, this savory spread made from yeast extract is typically eaten on toasted bread for breakfast. Head to Melbourne (the birthplace of Vegemite) to try some in a trendy local cafe or, alternatively, pick up a jar in any Aussie supermarket.
Pavlova – When it comes to Aussie sweet treats, pavlova is definitely the pinnacle. The dessert made from egg whites and sugar is similar to an Italian or French meringue, but it’s softer and almost marshmallow-like in texture.
Seafood – Being surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, it’s no surprise that Australia’s restaurant menus and supermarkets are laden with seafood and fish. Tasmania is famed for having some of the freshest oysters and clams in the world, while the best barramundi (the Aboriginal name for sea bass) is sourced in northern cities like Kimberley and Darwin.
ANZAC biscuits – These baked goods are a moreish delicacy shared with neighboring New Zealand. Made from a mix of oats, coconut and golden syrup, they were historically baked by the wives and mothers of soldiers heading off to war. Today, the biscuits are made on ANZAC Day to commemorate those who fought and fell.
Chicken Parmigiana – This dish with Italian roots is a mainstay in most traditional Australian restaurants and pubs. It’s made up of a crispy chicken schnitzel topped with tomato sauce and plenty of cheese.
Lamingtons – Considered the national cake of Australia, Lamingtons are essentially squares of sponge cake covered in chocolate and dipped in desiccated coconut. They’re named after Lord Lamington, the Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901.
Dim sim – Similar to Chinese dim sum, this popular Australian snack is larger and doughier than its authentic Asian counterpart. The dumpling-style delicacy originally got its name after a restaurant misspelled dim sum on its menu. You’ll find dim sim in most corner shops, gas stations and takeaway outlets.
What about wine?
As well as myriad exciting cuisine in Australia, you’ll also discover it’s a country famed for its wine. Head to Barossa Valley just outside Adelaide to taste some local Shiraz or journey to the Hunter Valley in New South Wales to sip on wine from some of Australia’s most prestigious vineyards.
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