Australia, as we know it today, is a relatively young country. Of course, we don't forget that the true history of Australia stretches back over 65,000 years when the land was taken care of by Indigenous Australians, who lived and ate from the land, coexisting in harmony with nature.
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Because Australia is so relatively young, only colonised in the late 1700s by the British, one might think that Australian food might not vary too much from British cuisine. While it is true that this heritage link does exist, some true blue Aussie foods are glaringly close to some quintessential British dishes, Australia has developed its own famous menu for eats down under.
In this article, we'll explore the food culture of Australia as it exists today, and take a look as some native Aboriginal bush tucker too! From the gourmet to the fast foods, the desserts and the snacks, and the grubs to the yabbies, read on and discover the wonderful world of Australian cuisine.
Iconic Australian Food
Let's start off by looking at some of the most famous and recognisable Australian foods. These are foods that Australia is known for globally, just like America is known for burgers and fries, and Britain is known for its chips and gravy. Take a look:
We love our vegemite in Australia. Vegemite a thick, salty spread made from yeast extract, spices, and additives. Often coupled with butter and spread on toast, Vegemite is a staple in nearly every Australian household.
Vegemite is internationally divisive, however. Foreigners who catch Australians talking about this cultural phenom and then go on to try it often approach at Vegemite as if it's peanut butter or a chocolate spread. This is a big mistake. Vegemite carries an extremely strong and savoury flavour.
The best way to try this quintessential Australian food as a first-timer is to spread lots of butter on a piece of toast, and top it off with a very light coat of vegemite. A delicious salty, savoury treat!
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Tim Tams are another internationally famous Australian food. Tim Tams can now be found in the international sections of supermarkets around the globe. Tim Tams, created in the late 1950s, are delicious chocolate biscuits; two malted biscuit pieces, separated by chocolate cream, covered completely in textured chocolate.
Tim Tam's are perfect when coupled with a hot, relaxing cup of tea.
Another sweet treat, the pavlova is an internationally recognisable meringue-based dessert which is often served during holidays and special occasions.
This cake, when made by the best Australian chefs is often topped by berries and kiwis (kiwi fruit) and is delicious when served with a dollop of cream.
Iconic Australian Food: Honourable mentions
- ANZAC biscuits: A delectable sweet biscuit made from rolled oats.
- Lamingtons: Scrumptious sprong rectangles dipped in chocolate, rolled in coconut sprinkles with a jam centre.
- Meat pies and sausage rolls: Flaky meat-filled pastries that make for a great snack, especially when watching an AFL (Australian rules football) game!
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Famous Australian Dishes
So we've covered some Australian snacks and treats, but what do you order when you sit down at an Australian restaurant or cafes looking for an Australian meal?
Look no further, we've got the answers right here. For these choices it won't matter if you're in the middle of Sydney Australia or in a pub out bush, you'll find these meals on the menu.
Try some of this good Aussie grub:
The Aussie Parma
The Australian Parma, parmi, or chicken parmigiana is a favourite of nearly every Australian. What's not to like? A heft chicken schnitzel, topped with tomato sauce, ham, mozzarella cheese with a side of chunky chips and salad.
Found in pubs and fancy restaurants alike, this hefty Australian staple is sure to have you waddling home, vowing you'll never eat so much again.
Fish and Chips
This mainstay of the Australian diet is directly connected to Australian colonial heritage. A delicious favourite in British households and Australian households alike, this is one thing the two countries can finally agree on.
For best results, serve with tartare sauce.
The Australian Barbeque
The Australian barbeque or "barbie" as you may have heard it be called is as much as it is an Australian cultural event as it is a meal.
A close cousin to the Sunday roast, the barbeque is often when Aussie families come together, cooking up some roast lamb cutlets and chops, seafood like prawn and shellfish, snags (sausages) and chicken skewers. Everyone has a barbeque favourite.
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Traditional Australian Food and Native Bush Tucker
So we've covered some modern culinary favourites, loved by Tasmanians and New South Walers alike.
Let's look back at some traditional Australian foods and native foods that have been eaten by indigenous Australians for thousands of years.
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Without further ado, let's take a look at some traditional and native Australian cuisine:
Damper, or Australian soda bread, was a mainstay in the diets of Aussie stockmen, drovers, and swagmen living out bush and on limited rations.
Damper is traditionally baked in the ashes of a campfire and is made from simple ingredients; flour, water, baking soda and sometimes milk.
A meal was often rounded out by whatever meat was available to these travellers at the time.
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Food eaten by Indigenous Australians, otherwise known as "bush tucker", refers to a diverse range of over 5000 plants and animals that made up the diet of Australian natives.
Before European settlers landed in Australia, bringing their customs, culture and food with them, native Australians ate the same foods for over 60,000 years.
Emu, kangaroo and wallaby we're often hunted, sometimes with boomerangs, as well as witchety grubs, Bogong moths, snakes and lizards.
Fish were also hunted using complex traps and equipment, and aboriginal people in some areas used intricate agricultural systems to farm eels and other seafood.
When colonialist finally landed on the shores of Australia in the late 1700s, native foods were eaten to supplement their diets.
Unfortunately, these traditional food sources have not integrated into the diets of every day Australians, and much of this cultural heritage is being lost.
If you want to learn more about this fascinating topic, check out this in-depth Culture Trip article.
Australian Cuisine: A summary
While Australia's history doesn't stretch as far back as most countries, there's still been enough time for Aussie's to develop and evolve their palettes, creating interesting and tasty culinary staples.
Search up some Australian English recipes and cook in the most spoken language worldwide: English!
If you're interested in learning more about the English language, check out our article on how English has evolved over the years.
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