Australia is the smallest continent in the world, but at the same time the sixth largest country. The British only colonized Australia in the early 18th century whereas the indigenous population have been living there for over 40,000 years.
Although the continent is a mixture of nationalities and cultures, there is a wide variety of dishes that are uniquely Australian.
Most Popular Australian Dishes
From fish to beef, and even from kangaroo and emu meat, a wide range of meats and seafood are eaten throughout Australia. Of course, barbecues are a popular past time in Australia, as many people will be familiar with the phrase “throw another shrimp on the barbie!”. Democracy Sausage is another famous barbecued meat which is simply a type of hot dog that voters eat on election day.
Aside from the popularity of meat, Australians enjoy a wide variety of seasonally grown vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, beetroot and many more. Dairy products are also widely popular throughout the country.
So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try traditional dishes of Australia along with recipes for you to try yourself.
Peach Melba is a dessert founded in England, by a Frenchman, for an Australian! It was at the end of the 19th century, at the Savoy hotel in London, that a French chef, Auguste Escoffier, created a dessert based on peach, ice cream, vanilla syrup and raspberry coulis in honor of Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba.
This summer dessert has many variations, especially with red fruits or accompanied by small cakes.
Crispy and melting in the mouth, the Pavlova is a traditional Australian and New Zealand dessert dish that is a kind of gourmet meringue covered with whipped cream and slices of fresh fruit. First created in the 1920s, this quintessentially Australian sweet dessert is commonly served at celebrations, especially during the holiday season.
As its name suggests, Chicken Parmigiana is quite simply chicken with melted parmesan, all topped with ham and Neapolitan sauce. It is usually served with fries, pasta or salad.
Lamingtons are a rectangle-shaped cake consisting of sponge coated in chocolate icing, sprinkled with grated coconut.
It was invented at the end of the 19th century and bears the name of the Governor of Queensland at the time, Lord Lamington. There are many variations of Lamingtons, including with a dash of raspberry coulis. This dessert is so popular in Australia that since 2006, July 21 has been celebrated as National Lamingtons Day.
Anzac Biscuits are sweet coconut cookies originally prepared by women for their soldier husbands and fathers during the First World War from low-perishable foodstuffs. The biscuits could therefore be stored for a long time and survive the transport from Australia to Europe. Today these little sweet coconut biscuits are sold by major retailers and delight the taste buds of Australian and New Zealand children.
Tim Tams are a type of commercially produced chocolate biscuit with a cream filling. There are different varieties of flavors and Australians consume over 45 million packets of Tim Tam a year. They are produced in the Tim Tam factory in Sydney, which makes 3,000 biscuits per minute.
The Aussie meat pie is usually made from beef or chicken and is served with tomato sauce. The fillings can vary between meat, bacon, chicken and cheese. All are very tasty, but beef mince is the most traditional filling.
Barramundi is a variety of fish served in many restaurants throughout Australia. The fish is usually cooked in a filet with fine herb oil. Barramundi takes its name from the Aboriginal language, which meaning “large freshwater fish” in English. It is Australia’s most popular fish and it can be fried, baked, grilled and barbecued.
Kangaroo meat can be found in many supermarkets and restaurant menus. It can be cooked in a variety of ways including steaks, burgers, sausages and more. Due to the overpopulation of kangaroos, it is safe and in no way harmful to the existence of the species.
Kangaroo meat is often cooked from rare to medium. It can dry out very quickly, which explains why it’s usually not made well. It’s also great with a marinade sauce, which adds a bit of spice and can prevent it from drying out so quickly.
Chiko rolls are the Australian version of Chinese spring rolls. They are stuffed with meat, barley, cabbage, carrot, celery and rice before being deep-fried. In Australia, Chikoo rolls are a bit like the local kebab, which can be enjoyed on the go, during lunch break, or in the early morning after a boozy night out.
Damper is a type of bread made from a mixture of flour, water (or milk) and salt, cooked in the ashes of a campfire. This iconic bread is popular with Australian Aborigines and traditionally has helped workers, campers and settlers survive in the desert.
Crocodile skewers are quite simply the meat of a crocodile barbecued on skewers. It is somewhat of a niche yet popular dish in Australia and is similar to gator kebabs in the US.
Crocodile and alligator meats are known for being slightly rubbery in texture, but the trick to cooking the recipe well is all in the marinading.
The famous Pie Floater is essentially a quality meat pie turned upside down in a bowl then topped with a ladle of hot and preferably thick pea and ham soup, it’s that simple.
Usually garnished with a squeeze of tomato sauce, it’s suited to the individual’s taste with other condiments such as mint sauce, Worcestershire sauce and even vinegar.
Vegemite is dark brown-colored spread of thick consistency, made from yeast extract. Although 9/10 travellers (and people with functioning tastebuds) recoil at their first taste of the iconic Vegemite, it is one you’ve simply got to give a try.
Somewhat of a silly past time in Australia, Fairy Bread is a staple of every kids’ party and simply consists of cheap white bread, butter and sugary sprinkles.
Barbecue snags are quite simply a type of Australian sausage, generally prepared using beef, pork, garlic, and onions. Normally thick in texture with a mild flavour, barbecue snags are usually served along with mashed potatoes, grilled onions, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, chutneys and loaves of artisanal bread on the side.
The term “snags” also sometimes refers to the most basic, dry, boring sausage served at fundraisers. Whilst a barbecue snag can be delicious, it can often be a term used in Australia to describe sausages in general.