Last Updated on October 18, 2023
Australia, known for its stunning landscapes and unique wildlife, also offers a vibrant and diverse culinary scene that’s often overlooked. If you were to ask a foreigner for an example of a traditional Australian dish, it would probably be a real head-scratcher, and you would be kind to forgive them for suggesting barbecued shrimp!
Like other modern countries that began their existence as a bunch of people from faraway lands showing up uninvited on ships a few centuries back (yes, the USA is another famous example) there really isn’t an official cuisine in the way that the French or the Japanese might be said to have one, it’s a mad mixture of whatever came along with whoever showed up!
For example, if you were to visit the excellent restaurants in Dural and treat yourself to a primo Italian dinner, you could probably make the case that it’s Australian food, considering how much of it we eagerly consume every year, buon appetito!
Even so, there actually are a few dishes that could be said to be authentically Australian that have risen up out of the land in the same way as dingo dogs and brumby ponies have- no they aren’t truly native like a koala or a wombat, but they have made a place for themselves and can be considered to be uniquely Australian. Here’s a sampling of our favorites that are guaranteed to make you as hungry as a bandicoot!
From traditional Aboriginal dishes to modern fusion cuisine, Australia has something to satisfy every palate. If you’re planning a trip down under or just curious about the country’s gastronomy, here are the top 12 Australian dishes you should definitely try.
Vegemite on Toast
Let’s start with a classic. Vegemite is an iconic spread in Australia, made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract. It’s savory, salty, and packed with umami flavor. Spread it lightly on a piece of toast and you’ll have a true Aussie breakfast.
Australians love their meat pies, typically filled with a rich mixture of minced meat, gravy, and sometimes mushrooms. These handheld delights are often enjoyed at sporting events or as a hearty snack.
Barramundi is a sought-after fish in Australian cuisine. Its tender, flaky white flesh and delicate flavor make it a favorite among seafood enthusiasts. You’ll find it prepared in various ways, from grilled to pan-fried.
For a true taste of Australia, try kangaroo meat. Low in fat and high in protein, kangaroo steak is a lean, flavorful alternative to traditional red meats. It’s usually grilled or seared to perfection.
This tasty treat popular in school bake sales and other fundraisers is considered to be the “National Cake of Australia.” A square sponge cake is smothered in a coating of chocolate icing upon which desiccated coconut is sprinkled and often has a layer of jam or cream in the middle. Perfect for dessert or an afternoon tea treat. Scrumptious!
These baked delights commemorate those brave souls who served with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) back in World War I. The originals were concocted by wives and sweethearts who sent them to their beloved soldiers during the war. The ingredients, which include rolled oats, golden syrup, and butter, were specifically chosen to survive the long sea journey and keep for a long time. Here is a link to some other tasty Australian bread recipes you can try out!
Shelled prawns in a mayonnaise and tomato dressing that is served chilled in an attractive glass, and garnished with a lettuce leaf. You can find it in many countries the world over, but back in the 1970s, Australia made the dish its own. And no, a prawn is not a shrimp, and this dish is not thrown on the barbie!
A pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It has a crispy exterior and a soft, marshmallow-like interior, topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. A sweet symphony of textures and flavors.
A twist on the traditional meat pie, the Barramundi pie is a seafood lover’s dream. Filled with barramundi fillets and topped with creamy sauce, it’s comfort food with an Australian touch.
This Italian-inspired dish has become an Australian pub favorite. A breaded and fried chicken cutlet is topped with marinara sauce and melted cheese, served with a side of chips and salad.
If you’re not quite ready for kangaroo steak, give kangaroo sausages a try. These flavorful sausages are popular at barbecues and can be served with a variety of condiments.
For the adventurous foodie, crocodile skewers offer a unique dining experience. The meat is tender, mildly flavored, and often marinated to enhance its taste. Served with a side of native Australian sauces, this dish is both exotic and delicious.
Australian cuisine is a fascinating blend of indigenous flavors, European influences, and multicultural diversity. When visiting or exploring Australian cuisine, be sure to sample these top 12 dishes. Whether you’re indulging in a sweet Lamington or savoring a kangaroo steak, these dishes will give you a taste of Australia’s rich culinary heritage. So, pack your appetite and embark on a culinary journey down under!
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