Australia is the smallest continent on the globe and a place that is rich in history, wildlife, and food. The continent is divided into six states and ten federal territories. Some of the most noteworthy names existing on or very near the main body of land are: South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. Aside from these there are nearby groups of islands, including the Coral Sea Islands, the Cocos Islands, Christmas Island, Ashmore and the Cartier Islands, Norfolk Island, Heard Island, McDonald Island, and the Australian Antarctic Territory. Within these locations there are dozens of different territories.
Food from Australia is abundant in exotic flavors and has been influenced significantly by many different cultures over the years. Australian cuisine is distinct in its taste and ingredients.
Australian Cuisine Facts and History
Throughout the course countless many generations and years Australian food has adapted and evolved through the heavy influences of different peoples. Because Australia is a multi-cultural society the food has a rich blend of cooking traditions and ingredients.
The Australian Cuisine is many centuries, and even millenia in the making. The indigenous people native to Australia have been there for the last 40,000-60,000 years. They have survived on what is called bushfood or buck tucker. This diet consists of the regional animals and plants, including kangaroo, crocodile, emu, and a variety of native fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and spices. The cuisine of Australia has, since that time, grown and evolved quite a bit. In the past few hundred years British, Irish, East Asian, and Mediterranean culinary practices came to Australia and greatly influenced the typical diet.
The British came unto the continent in 1788, bringing European ideas of food with them. The Potato Famine in the 1840s caused a number of Irishmen to come to Australia in search of a better way of life. After World War II, during the gold rush period, many people from China came to the small continent. People from Greece, Africa, and Italy also influenced the cuisine.
These different cultures brought a new array of ingredients into the land, introducing new cooking techniques, blends, and flavors. A completely new and unique kind of food was created. Now Australia features a diversified cuisine that accents tastes and ingredients from various places around the globe.
Australian Cuisine Menu
A few common and traditional foods that are eaten in the early hours of the day include Weet Bix and Bita Brits, which are whole wheat biscuits. They are cereals taken with milk. Honey, fresh fruit, or European Muesli may also be added. Hot oatmeal is commonly eaten in the winter. Eggs, steak, sausages, and bacon are also eaten for breakfast. Bubble and squeak is a leftover dish consisting of fried vegetables like potato, pumpkin, and cabbage. Vegemite is a yeast spread often used on toast.
Common snacks taken by Australians include sausage rolls, meat pies, charcoal chicken, and chiko rolls which are made up of beef and veggies. Jams are also served as snacks, generally in the early part of the day.
Although kangaroo meat is still a part of the Australian cuisine and can be found in supermarkets and restaurants in some places, it is not all that popular. Australia is famous for barbecued specialties like barbecued shrimp, burgers with barbecue sauce, and barbecued dim sim (an Asian influenced dish). Other common dinner dishes include beer-battered fish and chips as well as steaks.
Pavlova is an iconic Australian meringue dessert with a soft inside and crisp crust. The dessert is often topped with fruit. Lamington is another cultural icon, it is a sweet sponge cake with jam filling. Other common deserts include English Trifles, honey-spiced nuts, and splice, a type of ice cream.
Beer, wine, and tea are all common drinks in Australia. Breakfast is usually had with tea or coffee. Other popular beverages include coca cola, fruit drinks, and bottled water.
The traditional Christmas meal depends on the specific part of Australia and the heritage of the family. Roast turkey, chicken, duck, or a ham are popular main courses. They may be barbecued outside or cooked in an oven. Common sidedishes are potatoes, salad, crabs, prawns, and pumpkin. Seafood is very popular around this time.
Chocolate Easter eggs and hot cross buns are very popular around Easter. Hot cross buns are a pastry made with dried fruit or chocolate chips.
Most Popular Dishes
The palvola dessert is often considered as the number one most iconic dish in Australia. Chiko rolls and meat pies are very commonly found as well. Splice and lammington are two more desserts which are sort of trademarks of Australia, and Vegemite is a very popular ingredient in many Austrians’ diets. The Anzac biscuit or soldier’s biscuit is made up of coconut, flour, oats, and other ingredients. It is another popular dish in the continent.
Most Used Ingredients
Chicken is the most used meat in Australia. Beef is also popular as well as lamb and pork. Fish are pretty common, including salmon, abalone, oysters, yabby, Jew fish, prawn, and tuna.
Common vegetables include Bush cucumber, pumpkin, capsicum, onions, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and potatoes.
Molucca raspberries, quandongs, Lilli pillis, riberries, cedar bay cherries, and a variety of plums and lemons are native to Australia. Of course they also use many of the same fruits that are regular in the United States, like apples, bananas, strawberries, and grapes. In fact, the Granny Smith apple originated in Sydney, Australia. Fruit is usually eaten fresh rather than cooked.
Common herbs native to Australia include sea celery, native thyme, Flinders Island celery, and Holy basil. Spices include alpine pepper, mountain pepper, and native ginger. Nuts and seeds include wattleseed and Bunya-Bunya nuts.
Food vendors on the street can be found in different places in Australia, usually within the parameters of big events. The most common kind of food cart typically sells pies, either sweet or salty. One of the most popular choices is Aussie meat pie, which is filled with tomato and onion gravy and beef. Australia is a great place to go for fish ‘n’ chips which includes French fries (United States) and fried or baked fish. Anzac biscuits are also highly recommend because they are another tasty staple of the continent. For sweets try pavlova and lamington which you are bound to find in many locations.
Are you from Australia? Maybe you visited there? Please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts on Australian ethnic food.