Australian food shows the influence of multicultural cuisines from the earliest settlers to the Mediterranean and Asian influence in 19th and 20th century.
Eating the local food is a great way of discovering the tradition and the culture of a place while getting to know the relation locals have developed to food over the centuries.
In my solo travel adventures around Australia I have had the opportunity to learn about the food regions of the country and taste exquisite Foods of Australia.
On this post I introduce you to some of the most popular Australian food that you will love to try.
Popular Australian Food you must try
Although meat and seafood are the iconic foods from Australia, as a “non meat-eater” I find that Australia has got a fantastic offer for vegetarians too. The fertile soil and mild climate makes it for a great place for growing almost any kind of vegetables and fruits. From East to West from South to North you will find fresh local veggies to delight you.
Here are my picks.
Australia is the country where the pumpkin soup comes from, proving that the country is not only about meats and seafood. For sure pumpkin soup finds its top place in all menus from pubs to the finest restaurants. And you will find it in supermarkets, organic food shops as a fresh product and a ready-to-eat healthy meal. Pumpkin is one of my favorite vegetable and love it in different options. Here is my fave pumpkin soup with fresh orange and a dash of ginger. Yummy!
The Australian Avocados
One of the popular Australian smokos (Aussie slang for short break/snacks) is the famous smashed avocado on toast. I love the juicy Australian avocados in all variations. By adding it to fresh mixed salad, with scrambled eggs, with pasta or as a topping on ice cream. Avocados have a thick skin and are easy pack so you can eat them on the go too. Tropical Queensland is the best region for Avocados as they grow there. Being a great source of natural fat Omega 3 and rich in vitamins avocados rank high in the top Australian healthy foods.
Australian Tropical Fruits
If there is something I love is the tropical Australian food. While you can find tropical fruits everywhere at food markets, the best regions for tropical fruits are Cairns, Darwin and Queensland. From Mangos, Pineapple, Papaya, to dragon fruits, macadamia nuts and more, Australia is a paradise for fresh fruits.
Australian Food Culture
You may have heard that some of the iconic Australian foods are the best fish & chips and Barbecues of the world. No joke! Australian meat and seafood have the highest quality. And Australians love to celebrate family get-together and festive holidays with a traditional Aussie Barbecue. As a traveller there will be many occasions where you can try a real Aussie BBQ.
The Aussie Barbecue
Almost all green common picnic areas of cities and towns are equipped with Barbecue grills. Moreover in cities you may also stalls, called “sausage sizzles”, selling all kind of take away roasted meat. If you plan to go on Tours around Australia, for sure an Aussie barbecue will be on the menu. Australian meat is good and tasty, from beef steak to sausages fried on onions to kangaroo steak,the choice is huge. Although Kangaroo meat is not common among the locals who prefer lamb, beef and pork, kangaroo is available at supermarkets and popular in most pubs and restaurants. A few more Australian animals that you can “have on your plate” are emus and crocodiles.
The Australian Burger with beetroot
If you love burgers Australia is your country. As a traveller you are likely to try the famous quarter pounder from McDonald's or Hungry Jacks (Burger King). Another one is the Angus Steak burger with 100% Aussie beef and a slice of beetroot, which makes the Aussie burger so special.
The Australian Meat Pie
Meat pies are the favourite snack and quick-lunch for many Australians. Although this is not the healthiest food option, it truly is a national hit among the locals and must-have on picnics, barbecues and road trips. Meat pies come in all forms and basically are pastry filled with chicken, beef, ham and any type of meat, cheese and veggies. They all belong to the typical Australian food that you are going to see everywhere when travelling around the countrey.
Popular Australian Seafood
Australia is known for its succulent fish and also for its unique fishing spots. From south Australia to the Top End, to Northern Tropical Australia it will be hard to choose. Here are my fave among the many Australian seafood specialties:
A truly iconic table fish across the whole country. You can get it everywhere, however the most common regions are Queensland and the Northern Territory. There the saltwater barramundi can be caught in the rivers around Darwin. The saltwater barramundi has a better taste than the barramundi that lives in freshwater environment, which has a slightly muddy taste. In Northern Territory there are several barramundi fishing competitions attracting people from all over the country and even overseas. If you are visiting Darwin and the Top End region you can go on fishing tours, and may be lucky to catch one yourself.
Australian King Prawns
No. 1 highlight among the local fresh seafood are the sweet and succulent Australian prawns. You can get them anywhere and in all versions: from barbecued to grilled, to a prawn cocktail or simply as a prawn sandwich (yes Aussies eat them in a sandwich). They are delicious and truly mouth-watering. I remember getting fresh prawns and a crispy baguette for a meal on the beach in Yeppon, Queensland. Some of the best prawns I ever had in my life.
South Australian Oysters
This is a hit among the special Food in South Australia. I couldn’t bear the sight of oysters before trying them for the first time in Adelaide. To tell you the truth, oysters in Australia have a different, better taste. The texture is smooth with a slightly salty taste. South Australia is the best place for oysters. In Adelaide there are oyster restaurants where you can have them nature or with a sauce: from lemon juice to BBQ spicy sauce. Definitely something worth trying if you like seafood.
Salmon in Australia is delicious, with a unique firm texture, a pink pale colour but not as fatty as the typical farmed salmon. There are other places in Australia where you can eat fantastic salmon like South Western Australia. When touring the West Coast don't miss out on Albany for some terrific salmon fishing spots.
Although these are the most popular seafood in Australia, everywhere in Australia you can get a fresh local fish. If you plan to prepare your Australian meals and want to try local fish, just ask in a fish shop for the “catch of the day”.
Australian Aboriginal Food
If you are interested in trying native food, next to the kangaroos, emus and crocodiles there are goannas, and the witchetty grubs as the most popular Australian native food. Witchetty grubs have been consumed by Aborigines for a long time and supposed to be tasty and very rich in protein but they are definitely not for everyone.
Australian Bush Food
If you want to experience real traditional food, there are many native plants that you can find in the Outback like the Quandong , popular in the desert, bush tomatoes, australia desert raisin, finger lime, just to name a few. There are literally hundreds of them, each region has its own native local plants and Australian Aboriginal food.
A good way to learn about Aboriginal Food is to join an Aboriginal Culture Tour where you will learn about the beneficial ancient use of the native plants. Some aboriginal tours also offer a meal after visiting the bushplants. In all Australian National Parks there are guided aboriginal tours available. Another great opportunity to experience Aussie bush tucker is in the Desert Park in Alice Springs or in the Kakadu National Park.
Australian Damper Bread
On Australian Outback Tours you will also have the opportunity to taste the damper bread, the typical bush bread baked over hot coals in campsites. Yummy!
Traditional Australian Desserts
Among the top Australian desserts there are a few that are very traditional and worth a mention.
The Pavlova is an institution among the Australian sweets. With simple ingredients like crispy meringue, whipped cream and fresh fruits toppings this is a beloved cake by Australian families. Although it is a very rich cake is worth trying it. Here is my fave mini version of the Pavlova!
If you have a sweet tooth, then you must try the Lamingtons which is the official National Cake of Australia. Lamingtons are square-shaped sponges in a chocolate dip with crispy coconut. It's popular to have them with a fresh cup of tea or coffee.
More sweet treats worth trying are the Anzac Biscuits, and tons of cookies varieties with local flavors and nuts.
More Popular Australian Food
I couldn't bring this post without mentioning the Australian Vegemite, a salty yeast extract spread similar to the British Marmite. For most Aussies is an institution as this used to be a common spread on toasts for breakfast, for others is sheer poison (me included but I a not an Aussie!).
So if this is my list of the most popular Australian Food, what about the Australian Beer and Australian Wine? I would need a separate blog to write about it. For now, check out this post about Barossa Valley Food & Wine Experience.
Australia boasts some of the best multi-ethnical restaurants as well as modern Australian restaurants with a deeper synergy of these exotic cultures and international cuisines.
I recently wrote a post about the top food and wine regions of Australia.
What are your favourite Foods from Australia? Share them with us!
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This post last update is on 17th May 2017