By Briana Seftel
Going to Australia? Don’t miss these iconic foods!
Considered the national cake of Australia, lamington is a light sponge cake covered in chocolate and unsweetened coconut flakes. The dessert was either named for Lord Lamington, who served as Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, or his wife Lady Lamington. It’s unclear who exactly invented the lamington, but the cake is so popular in Australia that many people hold “Lamington Drives” to raise funds!
“What do you call a seven-course meal in Australia? A pie and a six-pack.” Or so the old joke goes. Meat pies are an iconic on-the-go food of Australia and New Zealand. The hand-sized meat pie, usually eaten at lunch, contains ground meat and gravy and is served with a dollop of ketchup. It’s the most popular food to eat at soccer and rugby games.
Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, pavlova is a dessert of meringue, light and crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside, topped with whipped cream and fruit. The dessert is believed to have been created after Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s, while both countries claim its invention.
What peanut butter and jelly is to the U.S., Vegemite is to Australia. After a shortage of Marmite during WWI, an Australian chemist devised an alternative, eventually to be known as Vegemite. Thick and dark brown, Vegemite is made from leftover brewer’s yeast and has a concentrated salty, malty flavor. Australians favorite way to eat Vegemite is spread on toast with butter.
Australia’s favorite choccy biccy with a cult following is Tim Tams. Inspired by Britain’s Penguin biscuit, the Tim Tam is a crisp chocolate biscuit coated in milk chocolate with a creamy filling. Eat them straight or try "The Tim Tam Slam." To perfect the method, bite opposite corners of the Tim Tam and quickly drink a hot beverage through the cookie!
Ok, let’s get things straight: in Australia, no one says “shrimp on the barbie.” First of all, shrimp are called prawns, and prawns are usually boiled, not barbecued. That being said, Aussies love a good backyard barbie, or what Americans would consider grilling. Lamb, sausages, and burgers are all popular barbie fare - just don’t forget the beer!
Native to Australia, barramundi is a mild and flaky fish that gets its name from the Aboriginal language meaning "large-scaled river fish." You’ll find it on most menus in Australia, where preparations can range from simply grilled with salt and pepper to encrusted with macadamia nuts.
You’d be hard pressed not to find avocado toast on a menu in Australia. Aussies love their avos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Toasted bread, sliced or smashed avocado and a sprinkle of salt is the most basic of avo toasts, but can often come topped with egg, tomato, greens or cheese. You can even try avocado toast with Vegemite!
Named for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), the anzac biscuit is an oat cookie popularized during WWI. The biscuits were sent by soldier’s wives because they didn’t have eggs, which meant they traveled well and didn’t spoil easily. Today, Aussies enjoy this sweet biscuits with a cuppa (cup of tea) or Aussie-style coffee.
A burger?!? Well, hear us out. There’s one surprising ingredient that separates an Aussie burger from any other burger, and that is pickled beets. Yes, the common root vegetable takes on a whole new life as a topping on a burger. Try it on your trip, thank us later.
With an estimated 50 million kangaroos in Australia, eating kangaroo has become as much as an ecological issue as a dietary one. While not always the norm, eating kangaroo meat has become more commonplace, even popping up on menus in Sydney and Melbourne. Lean and low in fat, kangaroo’s flavor can be compared to beef.