While putting together this list, I came across a number of similar lists that definitely weren’t written by Australians. Here is a list of foods you should try written by an actual Australian.
Food and Drinks to Try in Australia
Chips with Chicken Salt
Almost every small town in Australia is home to at least one take-away shop. When you order from these take-away shops they’ll ask you if you want “Chicken Salt”. It’s Australia’s favourite seasoning and is used as an alternative to regular salt.
Chicken Salt isn’t popular outside of Australia although it’s starting to pop up overseas as more people discover how addictive and good it really is.
Obviously any list of food popular in Australia can’t not include Vegemite. Vegemite is popular in Australia and you’ll find a jar in most Australian households. We have it on toast and bread. Debate rages over how much Vegemite should be used, and there is no right answer.
If you’re staying in a hotel, Vegemite will definitely be available at the buffet. I recommend lightly scraping a little over buttered toast (butter is essential).
Chicken Parmi and Schnitty
Go to any pub in Australia and it’s almost a guarantee they’ll have a Chicken Schnitzel on the menu. They may also have a Parmi which is the Schnitzel with ham and a tomato sauce. This is a popular pub food and it’s always a good meal. It’s served with Chips and usually a salad. You’re often given a choice of sauces which will include Mushroom, Gravy etc.
Lemon Lime and Bitters
Lemon Lime and Bitters is a drink made from Angostura Bitters, Lime cordial and Lemonade (what Americans know as Sprite). It’s a non-alcoholic drink and has been referred to as our national drink. It’s widely available from Clubs (Community Clubs such as the RSL) and bars. Many cafe’s and restaurants will also feature it on their menu.
Even if it’s not on the menu, you can always ask for it at a bar, if you’re after a non-alcoholic drink and the bar tender will definitely know what you’re talking about.
The Meat Pie has been described as Australia’s National Dish. It’s a hand sized pie filled with beef and gravy, although there are a huge variety of different pies available.
You can find a meat pie at take-away shops as well as bakeries.
Small towns in Australia (especially along the popular highway routes) will all have a bakery that sell meat pies. These are the best places to find a really good pie.
Lamingtons are a sponge cake finger dipped in chocolate syrup and coated with coconut. Lamingtons are available from all supermarkets in Australia and you’ll also find them in the older, more traditional Australian bakeries.
Australia is home to the best oysters in the world thanks to clean water and a massive amount of coastline. Sydney Rock Oysters are probably the most famous, but all along the coast you’ll find amazing tasting oysters.
While you can get Oysters all over the world, I’ve yet to find Oysters that are as fresh, large and tasty as Australian oysters.
Australia is home to the best coffee in the world. I’ve been to “Third World” coffee places all over the world, and none of them even come close to the consistency of good coffee you’ll find all over Australia.
The Flat White is an Australian invention and it’s what I recommend you try. It’s similar to a cappuccino but with less (or almost none) of the foam. Australian’s are very picky about coffee and will be more than happy to share where to find a good cup.
Australia has some of the best cafe culture in the world. Alongside good coffee, every good cafe will almost always have a smashed avo variation on the menu. Smashed Avo is simply avocado on toast. Every cafe will make it slightly differently with various additions.
It became a meme in Australia when it was suggested that younger Australians couldn’t afford a home because they spent too much money on smashed avo.
The Bunnings Sausage
Sweden gave us Ikea’s meatballs, Australia has Sausages. Bunnings is an Australian Hardware Store. Every weekend there is a “sausage sizzle” out the front of every Bunnings. They raise money for local community groups. For a couple of dollars you get a sausage in a slice of bread, onions are optional and you have a choice of sauce (usually Tomato or BBQ).
Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips is a popular Australian dish available from take-away shops. It’s also a common menu item at cafes and pubs. The variety of fish will vary and dedicated “fish and chip” shops will often have a variety of types on the menu.
Don’t forget the chicken salt on the chips!
While you’re at the take-away you should also try a Chiko roll which is a vegetarian fried “thing” and also a dim sim which was created by Chinese Australians. These are available at every Australian takeaway shop.
Tim Tams and Anzac Biscuits
Tim Tams are an Australian Chocolate Biscuit. You’ll find them at every Australian supermarket and they make a great snack.
Anzac Biscuits are another popular sweet treat in Australia. Although not as popular as Tim Tams, and in general Australian’s are eating fewer biscuits these days. Anzac biscuits are made with oats and golden syrup.
Our Multicultural Food
Australia is the most ethically multicultural society in the world. So if you want the true Australian food experience, you should try food’s from different cultures.
Australia produces some of the world’s best wine. The stuff we send over to America and The U.K isn’t the good stuff. The best bottles can be found in Australia at our bottle-os, restaurants and bars. There is no one “Australian” variety that is best. And there is no one region that produces the best wine. We don’t really have sommeliers in Australia (it’s a tad wanky). At a good restaurant you can ask the server what’s good and they’ll often make a recommendation.
Do Australian’s Eat Kangaroo?
While Kangaroo is often served at Tourist locations, and you can buy Kangaroo meat from our major supermakets, it’s not that popular with Australians. There are many Australians who have probably never tried it.
There are lists of “Australian” food that include Kangaroo, but in reality it’s not common.
I saw Fairy Bread listed as a popular Australian food. Fairy Bread is white bread, butter and sprinkles cut into triangles. However, it’s not something we actually eat all the time. It’s only served at children’s parties.
While not commonly eaten by most Australians, bush tucker is an important part of Australia’s Indigenous Culture. Bush Tucker is any food that is native to Australia and historically eaten by Indigenous Australians. Thankfully we are starting to see more and more businesses owned by Indigenous Australians that use bush tucker and native ingredients.