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When you’re travelling, one of the most rewarding things to do is to visit a restaurant or to eat traditional food. You can get dining experiences that you simply can’t enjoy while you’re at home, and many countries around the world have simply delicious foods to try. The same is true of Australia; while it may not top many gourmet lists, that’s probably more out of tradition and snobbery than it is out of honest appraisal, because there are plenty of delicious morsels in Australia to experience. Here are some of the best foods to try when you’re visiting Australia.
It might be something of a national stereotype, but there’s a good reason for that: Vegemite is one of Australia’s biggest national foods, whether the country likes it or not. The best way to experience Vegemite is, of course, pairing it with bread; whether you spread it on toast or make it part of an epic sandwich, the acquired taste of this extract spread should tickle your tastebuds, even if you don’t immediately love it. Fun fact: Vegemite was famously immortalised in the Men at Work song “Down Under”, in which a character gives the singer a Vegemite sandwich.
Yes, really – although parmigiana is, of course, an Italian word, and chicken parmigiana is derived from Italian cooking, it’s somehow found its way to becoming an Australian national dish. It consists of chicken (naturally) cooked with tomato sauce and ham and covered in melted cheese, then usually served with either chips or salad. If you want the authentic Aussie parmigiana experience, you should get it with chips, though, because ordering the parmigiana and eating it with salad feels like an affront to this delicious national dish.
Fish and chips
Fish and chips could also be called a classic British local dish, but the Australians go crazy for it as well. In essence, it consists of fish deep-fried in batter (the best option here is to go for the barramundi, which is delicious) and accompanied by thick-cut, fluffy chips. You can also enjoy calamari rings as part of your fish and chips meal. Often, the phrase “fish and chips” is used to distinguish between the Australian and New Zealander accents, which can sound similar to untrained ears. Aussies pronounce the “i” as more of an “e” sound, while New Zealanders pronounce it as a “u”.
If you’ve ever eaten a British Penguin bar, you’ll know the Tim Tam. The two bars are quite similar, with a chocolate exterior giving way to biscuit and chocolate cream in the middle. The Tim Tam, however, is more delicious by far, boasting stronger chocolate and cocoa notes and keeping the sweetness to its correct level. If you want to eat a Tim Tam in a truly traditional Australian way, then enjoy it with a glass of milk or even a cup of coffee, bite off two of the corners, then drink whatever you have through the Tim Tam. It’s delicious.
Snags are literally just hot dogs. That’s it – that’s all they are. Still, there’s something unquestionably Australian about taking a snag down to the beach and watching the waves roll in as you munch on it. You know how to eat hot dogs if you’ve ever had one before; simply sandwich a sausage between two slices of bread (this is where snags differ, because they don’t use traditional hot dog buns), then cover it with fried onions and whatever sauce you want. There are also vegan versions of snags available now to cater to those who aren’t big fans of meat sausages.
Just like Tim Tams, the best way to enjoy Lamington cake is to pair it with a cup of coffee, tea, or a glass of milk. These cakes are delicious; they’re basically sponge cakes covered in chocolate and dusted with coconut. Lamington cakes are extremely cheap and cost-effective to make, but they’re also delicious. Ask any Aussie and they’ll tell you they regularly enjoy Lamington cake with their drink, and it makes an excellent dessert as well. Once you’ve enjoyed Lamington cake from Australia, try making your own – you’d be surprised at just how easy and cheap it is!
Fairy bread is a staple of Australian children’s parties. If you were a kid growing up in Australia, you almost certainly ate this at one of your friend’s gatherings, if you didn’t host one yourself. The recipe is incredibly simple, as befits a country that loves its food delicious and straightforward. All you need is white bread, butter, and “hundreds and thousands” (small sugar capsules you can get as decorations from any supermarket). Simply spread the bread with the butter, then cover it in hundreds and thousands, and voila – you’ve got yourself some delicious fairy bread.
Cherry Ripe chocolate
This chocolate bar lays claim to being Australia’s oldest, and we believe it. You’re getting a dark chocolate concoction that comes complete with a cherry-flavoured filling paired with notes of coconut. It’s absolutely sublime; the cherry and coconut work wonderfully together. Just like Tim Tams, you’re better off enjoying this one with a drink, although we’d recommend either a black coffee or strong whisky (if you’re a drinker) for the sophisticated feel this chocolate bar truly deserves. Give this bar a try if you haven’t already, and you’ll thank us for it.
Finally, we have what many have called Australia’s national dessert, the pavlova. It’s a meringue dessert with marshmallow at its centre and covered in cream and fruit. Best enjoyed on a summer’s day, a pavlova can put the icing on an already delicious meal, so make sure you go high-quality if you can. Australia’s cuisine is sort of a “best of” comprising dishes from other countries, and pavlova is often seen as more than just a dessert; it’s a unifying force that brings everyone in the country together!