Feeling hungry for a foodie adventure? There is no contrived foodie, foo-foo fare here, this lot is real Aussie grub not to be missed. Let’s check out what you simply must eat when down under, or if available, wherever you are in the world.
1. The Great Aussie Meat Pie, Various Brands.
Make no mistake, this humble item is the stuff of legends, childhood memories and is the very fabric of Australian culture. Yes, we are serious. The memory of a meat pie makes grown Aussie expats misty-eyed because they usually can’t get their hands on one in most parts of the world. Back in the day, when you bought your lunch from the school, this is what you ordered, as opposed to taking lunch your Mum made for you. The former was strictly once a week if you were being brought up properly. I digress. Whether eaten at a football or cricket match from a paper bag, standing at a pie cart at the end of a night on the tiles or from a sleepy, country bakery, this is something truly not to be missed.
In more recent times “gourmet” pies have flooded the market, in downtown Los Angeles you can find one of these beauties from the Bronzed Aussie Pie Shop. As good as those are, they don’t taste quite the same as eating a local Villiers or Four ‘N’ Twenty Pie in Australia. All hail the great Australian meat pie and do not even think about leaving her shores without having one. With or without tomato sauce/ketchup is your call. We say without!
2. Pavlova, Dreamy + Creamy.
Named after Anna Pavlova who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1928, this is a wonderful, light dessert made from egg whites and usually topped with whipped cream and assorted fresh fruit. And might we add, also usually claimed by pesky Kiwis to originate in New Zealand. Nonsense, Pav, as it is locally known, is as Australian as Bondi Beach!
Make sure to try one with passion fruit pulp, do ask when ordering. No pav is a complete without a little passion fruit.
3. Potato Fritters, From Any Local Fish + Chip Shop.
Walk into any Aussie fish and chip shop and if you squint long enough at the menu board above the fryers, you will probably spot an item named ‘Potato Fritters’. Order some, skip the fish, skip the chips. Aussie potato fritters are cheap as chips, in fact, they cost much less and what an economical treat! Also, order a bun and pop one or two of these in with a hearty shake of salt and vinegar and it is a memorable lunch, most especially when eaten on a beach.
If you go to Australia and don’t wolf down a potato fritter on a bun, you haven’t lived or truly experienced wonderful local goodness. Yes, they are that darned good.
4. King George Whiting.
While Australian Barramundi gets a lot of global acclaims, often overlooked is King George Whiting, a fabulous fish that excites and inspires local and international chefs. Fished primarily from South Australia, King George Whiting is featured on high-end restaurant menus and as well as corner fish and chip shops.
If you’re angling for fine Aussie seafood, this is a top choice while down under.
They have been around forever and hold a special place in Australian hearts. It’s the Official Cake Of Australia. The story goes that Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland in the late 1800’s, created this iconic Aussie treat. Well, closer to the truth is a kitchen maid inadvertently dropped his Lordship’s favorite sponge cake into some melted chocolate. However, he seized the glory and named it after himself. Again, New Zealanders often claim this as their own, along with a few other famous Aussie delights. Phoney baloney is all we have to say! Just be sure to try one when on Australian soil or have a bash yourself in your own kitchen at home. The recipe is not complicated, it’s a plain sponge cake dropped in melted chocolate and rolled around in coconut. That’s it, simple and absolutely delish.
You can find Lamingtons on the shelves of any supermarket or bakery. It’s about as hard to find a Lamington in Australia as it is to find hot dogs in America.
6. Balmain Bugs.
Named after the Sydney beachside suburb, Balmain, they are not bugs! They are similar to lobsters, but then again, not really. This is a shellfish slipper species that only has meat, oh and what glorious meat, in its tail.
Often simply grilled, this is a quintessential Aussie treat that calls to be eaten with your fingers and washed down with an icy cold glass of amber nectar, which is what Aussies sometimes call beer.
So don’t throw a shrimp on the barbie, throw a bug on it!
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