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Top Ten Australian Foods

Updated on August 3, 2011

For some of us, food is a romantic experience to take in the beauty of your surroundings and to cherish every morsel. For others, there can be trials and tribulations in the preparation process. The great aussie bbq is an example of such experiences.

BBQ@dusk from Orin Zebest (great barrier reef, bbq, boat.)
BBQ@dusk from Orin Zebest (great barrier reef, bbq, boat.) | Source
flickr cc
flickr cc
the weber
the weber

Top Ten Australian Foods

1. Barbeque

2.The Australian Meat Pie



5.BBQ Chicken

6.Spagetti Bolignese

7.Roast Lamb


9.Violet Crumble

10. Fish and Chips

flickr cc
flickr cc

1. The classic australian barbeque

The iconic Australian ad with Paul Hogan, the star of the original Crocodile Dundee movie, is inviting our overseas visitors to wack another shrimp on the barbie. Interestingly enough, it is the before Steve Irwin and his american wife became popular that Paul Hogan was and is still thought of as one of Australias iconic comedic talents. Often wearing the quinessential thongs and the workmans Chesty Bond singlet and good ol' foot shorts. Paul Hogan began his working career as a painter on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Crocodile Dundee was actually based on the life of Tom Cole, one of the early anglo australian crocodile hunters of the Northern Territory.

A Barbie, for those who are not acquainted, is a barbeque not a blonde doll. The New Zealanders are more creative and have a hungie... where the meat is cooked under the ground - and is a real experience to taste. We Australians are a little more simple, yet there is less fuss in a bbq and you can have one without having to dig a big hole in the backyard, or burying a whole animal.

A barbeque is when your meat is cooked over an open fire or on an outdoor grill.

The usual barbeque consists of meat, lamb chops and sausages - often wrapped in bread and butter with tomato sauce and then consumed at an outdoor table with lots of salads. Coleslaw and fresh garden salads. A beer is generally stuck to the free hand of any male attending and the women would generally be drinking a chardy - or possibly a sauvigion blanc.

Those who made it through an arts degree at university would be on the medium priced raw red,if you studied law or medicine it would be a premium red and if your still studying, it would be a clear skin that you would tell your friends was from a noteable winery that you know of tucked away in some magical place... or for those just desiring to drink away the afternoon or evening, a cask with a tub added or a can of VB with the traditional australian stubbie holder

If you are a real bbq traditionalist, the man of the house must cook with an apron and bbq tongs. Music must be loud, or the cricket or football on the radio, if no backyard game is being played. Thongs and beach chairs added... . If in summer, there would usually be a sprinkler for the kids or a water slide if no swimming pool (water restrictions allowing) or even a childs wading pool if no swimming pool (water restrictions allowing).....and you have a traditional aussie bbq.le

A bbq for my generation may even be a retro occasion, with 70's style outfits from the opshop to compliment the traditional fare of a great australian suburban upbringing.

The meat selection for the traditional barbeque has changed slightly. With wonderful marinades and chicken and kebabs and all sorts of marvellous meat combinations. Yet the traditional bbq is still an australian favorite.

Meat pie from sew wot flickr cc
Meat pie from sew wot flickr cc

2. The humble meat pie

The meat pie. Now you might not want to add this to your list of top ten recipes, but it is one of our most eaten foods. And some very good chefs have created some fantastic tasting pies. From the gourmet french patisserie in Toorak Road, to the outback Roadhouse where the road trains travel north to deliver the fresh fruit and veg once a fortnight.

The meat pie is a traditional food, especially at the footy on a Saturday arvo. The footy is a game of Australian Rules Football. Similar to gridiron, and explained as a traditional mating ritual where men kick a pig skinned ball around an oval, aiming to achieve a goal at either end of the field by kicking the ball through the air between the tall middle posts.

3. Vegemite, the food of a nation.

Vegemite - is the staple food of all australians. We love vegemite. It is one of those foods that is so difficult to explain, that you have to taste it to really understand. Any anglo australian child has had their lunch box filled with vegemite sandwiches at least once in their life.

The beginning of a vegemite childs life is usually vegemite on white bread, cut into fingers, with the crusts cut off, usually by the age of 2. And progressing to later years, where a farmer who had just finished a hunger strike, demanded vegemite on toast as his first meal. (he was a little odd though, many australians have sat in trees to preserve them from being cut down. This farmer was there to protest not being allowed to cut them down. He was actually asking for compensation from the government for not being able to cut them down, which is slightly better, yet he did make the right choice in a vegemite sandwiche. He may now make a few sensible choices after eating such essential brain food.)

To be bought up on vegemite sandwiches cut into fingers and vegemite on toast for breakfast creates an intrinsic link for life.

How to make a vegemite sandwiche.

Buy bread, White bread, often tip top or sunblest variety.

Take 2 slices of bread,

spread western star butter

then, reach into the pantry for the vegemite jar, unscrew the yellow top, dip your knife into the black gold and spread.

If making vegemite and lettuce - add lettuce, shredded preferably. Caution must be taken now, after rinsing the iceberg lettuce. Unless patted dry on the teatowel before liberally spreading shredded lettuce upon the already evenly spread vegemite upon white bread, or the result will be a soggy sandwiche at lunchtime. Which, can be endured and is still edible just a tad disappointing when bitten into. Although, it is still a genuine packed lunch vegemite sandwiche.

Vegemite and cheese is an alternative to the lettuce, but I was always a vegemite and lettuce child. None of that kraft cheese slice in my vegemite sandwiche.

I forgot to add, if making more than one sandwiche the number of slices are laid out and made accordingly - at the same time. Wrapped in the traditional glad wrap or the more modern plastic sandwiche bag with the fold over opening.

Lunch box, plastic, with matching drink bottle filled with bickfords or cottees cordial. Maybe an apple or a health food bar added. Nuts and sultanas in their tiny boxes were also appropriate and you might break your tooth on the little metal ring on the old kraft cheese sticks that often made their way into a lunch box.

Vegemite on toast is also a quinessential breakfast for Australians of any age. Obtainable at all cafes, hotel restaurants and luxury hotels in Australia.

now thats a pavlova (flickr cc)
now thats a pavlova (flickr cc)

4. A pavlova for desert.

Pavlova- a traditional dish full of sugar merangue and yummy cream filling with the traditional strawberries on top.

I personally dont eat pavlova very often. Its so high in sugar that I really find the merangue too sugar rich to eat.

It is however a favorite of many and a staple food for many a family dinner or bbq.

Pavlova was apparently created by a chef at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, Western Australia, to celebrate the visit of Anna Pavlova.

roast lamb flickr cc
roast lamb flickr cc

Lamb Roast

In the add, she chose a lamb roast over dinner with Tom Cruise. The lamb roast is another traditional australian dinner.

Roast lamb, with rosemary and mint jelly. Mint jelly is a must. You can still have the mint sauce if a traditionalist, but mint jelly or the gourmet version is a must nowerdays. Roast potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and beans or peas. Gravox gravy and cooked onions if you are adventurous you could add sweet potato or squash.

A Sunday lunch meal. even in summertime, this was the norm. With leftovers for sandwiches during the week.

bbqchickenbypegwin  flickr-cc
bbqchickenbypegwin flickr-cc

Chicken, bbqed and casseroles.

Chicken. The staple diet of many a household. The bbq chicken, used to be picked up from the chicken shop. Now its more readily available in the deli section of the supermarket.

We used to stand and watch the rotissery turn all those chickens at once whilst waiting patiently to pick up our chook, packaged in those foil filled bags that held the heat until you got home.

Usually stuffed and brown, the bbq chicken, salad and the chicken shop roast potatoes that tasted a little bit like cardboard was/is an easy dinner for the family.

Now, we have organic chicken, pine nuts and gourmet mash available at the local gourmet meal take away.

If not the bbq chook, it was lemon chicken or apricot chicken. The lemon chicken, made from chicken breasts sliced into chinese style slices, lightly floured and cooked in the marinade served with plain rice.

Apricot chicken, the staple diet of many suburban homes. Chicken, apricot, a packet of french onion soup and a few other things mum added and again, served with rice and salad.

f&c@beaconcove From avlyx
f&c@beaconcove From avlyx

fish and chips

U go down the frog and toad and pick up some take away at the local fish and chip shop.

Translated, pop down the road and pick up some fish and chips will you love?

Fish and Chips usually consists of lots of thickly cut chips. Flake dipped in batter and fried with lots of salt and vinegar and a wedge of lemon. Dim sims,potato cakes and crab sticks. If your not on a budget, theres the fried scallops, prawns even calamari at the more luxurious fish and chip shops. The old traditional fish and chips sometimes had coleslaw, now, you can get a variety of gourmet salads and grilled barramundi or blue grenadier are common. Add a couple of  banana and pineapple fritters, a can of lemonade or fanta and you have a traditional fish and chip dinner for all the family.

Often eaten after a day at the beach or at home on a Friday night in front of the telly.

The lady of the house might request grilled whiting

Spagetti Bol.

Weeknight dinner for the family.

Spagetti bolegnaise and green salad with kraft french dressing in the gracefully shaped bottle.

No-one at this time had heard of balsamic vinegar. Still a delicacy of the italian family down the road. But we had taken to the spagetti. Twirled around the fork, with spoon in hand.

We have expanded our suburban repetiore to include fetticine, linguine, rissotto and all types of sauces from carbonara and marinara to

The local Chinese takeaway.

Chinese takeaway. There was always the good old chinese restaurant down the road. Dim sims and spring rolls for entrée. Sweet and sour pork, beef in black bean sauce, honey or lemon chicken or chicken and cashews. Roast duck in plum or orange sauce. Not a dollup of chilli sauce at this point. Yet lots of soy sauce and special fried rice. Deep fried icecream for dessert - lycees for the adventurous.

All the dishes placed on that round spinning mini table in the middle of big round chinese restaurant table with the red tablecloth and each dish served at the same time and shared by the whole family.

It not uncommon now to pop down to the local thai restaurant, or vietnamese for a change or for most people to know the difference between

traditional anzac biscuits in a tin thanks to fifikins from cc.
traditional anzac biscuits in a tin thanks to fifikins from cc.

Lamingtons, anzac biscuits and vanilla slices

Magical slices of sponge covered in chocolate, often with a dash of jam spread through the middle and rolled in coconut.

Anzac biscuits a traditional biscuit made of oatsand sugar and coconut and flour with the magical ingredient of golden syrup making them both crunchy and chewy at same time. The traditional food sent to soldiers at war and eaten by most aussie kids. One of the first things many learn to bake.

Cherry Ripe and Violet Crumble

Pretty much self explanatory. That night at the local pictures or at home on a Sunday night watching the movie. Sweet, melting on the tongue and a delicacy for any sweet toothed movie addict.


Breakfast - an essential part of the day.

Cereal, weetbix, cornflakes and the more healthy muesli has replaced the old coco pops and honey smacks we were treated to growing up.

Now its organic, gm free labelled muesli, locally made for food miles that we aspire to, with fruit yogurt.

Toast, vegemite, honey or jam. Marmalade or blackberry jam.

The traditional cooked breakfast of eggs and bacon on toast with tomato and mushroom.

and of course Baked beans.

a fresh creek, ideal for a spot of tea and damper
a fresh creek, ideal for a spot of tea and damper
rosemary beer damper.. fcc
rosemary beer damper.. fcc
flickr cc
flickr cc
flickr cc
flickr cc

Damper and Billy Tea

Damper was something we used to make at home for fun - like bread without the yeast.

Traditionally it is a bushmans bread. Made for the stockman or drover when in the outback. Easy to make, easy to eat, cooked on the campfire.

Billy tea is tea made the old bushmans way. After you take the billy off the campfire, you are supposed to swing the billy around a certain number of times in each direction to get the tea to taste just so.

green ants by robstephaustralia flickr cc.
green ants by robstephaustralia flickr cc.

Bush Tucker

Bush tucker could be anything from bungarow to kangaroo tail soup. Witcherty grubs or native berries and plants. It depends on where you are, who you are with and what season it is. There are many edible plants, insects and indigenous animals in the Australian bush and outback.

Some are only allowed to be eaten by the indigenous people of the area , like some fishing rights and animals such as wild turkey.Some foods like Kangaroo and crocodile have been turned into restaurant favorites, I haventeeaten the Kangaroo for some reason. The crocodile tastes somewhat like a combination of chicken and fish.

If you are ever priveleged enough to be offered bushtucker, try it.

australian lobster
australian lobster
lamb meatballs and abergines
lamb meatballs and abergines
schwezan kangaroo
schwezan kangaroo
surf and turf
surf and turf

Modern Australian Cuisine

Modern Australian Cuisine is a blend of cultures. From the lamb meatballs to the crocodile and ginger noodles. Creations of multiculturalism that have made the best of amazing recipes and ingredients.

We have incorporated Singapore and malaysian style noodle dishes, indonesian satay as well as thai and vietnamese. We love our Surf and Turf, and any seafood,  yet cant go past a good bit of chinese kangaroo. Add a few bush tucker herbs and bobs your uncle, you've got a dinky die dinner right in front of you!

Just add a cold glass of ale and she'll be right mate.

Australian rosella tomato sauce - jmkphotos 2011.
Australian rosella tomato sauce - jmkphotos 2011.

Which do you think is the quinessential Australian food?

See results

The Tuck Shop and what it means.

The tuck shop is the Australian school canteen. Its traditional fare of vegemite sandwiches, meat pies, pasties and sausage rolls. Samboy chips, twisties and sunny boys are pretty much replaced by the politically correct foods of today. Yet for many Australians bring up memories of school days. Even the name Tuck shop emitts memories of school bells, laughter and the rush to get to the tuck shop first.

Attribution for Weber BBQ photo by simonsimages from flickr cc.

jmkwriting © 2010


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      this food is yuky

      Add Your Comment...

    • salt profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from australia

      Robert Wordsworth is listed as a possible convict, or in later years as a military man who became a Tasmanian politician. I haven't eaten witchety grubs or witjuti grubs - I have eaten some bush foods though and they were yummy.

    • robertwordsworth profile image


      6 years ago

      i like witchetty grubs recipe,,,the most authentic of bush tucker, the grub is a nutty-flavored bite that has been enjoyed by indigenous Australians for thousands of years. visit to know about australia food culture :

    • profile image

      Queen Elizebeth 

      7 years ago

      i love fish and chips cause it's ONLY from N.Z so yeah sorry Aussie:(

    • profile image

      queen elizebeth 

      7 years ago

      n.z's better right?l.o.l

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Pavola is from NEW ZEALAND and SPAGETTI BOLAGESE is italian and FISH AND CHIPS are english

    • freecampingaussie profile image


      8 years ago from Southern Spain

      Love a BBQ then again my husband makes a beautiful lamb roast , He cooked Barramundi & chips the other night , was hard to vote about the food !!Love Pav but never made it .

    • GardenCook profile image


      8 years ago from Northern Utah

      Loved this article. Had heard of some but certainly not all. Luckily we have an Oz bakery here that has pies, fish/chips and lammingtons. Was wondering if the rosella sauce was the staple used for the chix bbq? Cheers

    • wormdo profile image


      8 years ago

      Now this is interesting! I've had some of these (of course, not cooked in Australia so probably different) but others, like anzac biscuits, are new to me. I'd like to try them though, sound delicious!

    • Angela_1973 profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice article about Australian food, I have always wondered what do they eat there? Thank you for sharing, it sounds delicious!Makes me wanna go and dig in my fridge :)

    • mythbuster profile image


      9 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Interesting foodstuffs - most, completely foreign to me.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      9 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Salt this is a great hub depicting our australian meals.

      Just wondering how many times you get stirred about being down under I get it all the time. cheers thumbs up .Well done

    • Wayne Orvisburg profile image

      Kenneth Wayne 

      9 years ago from Alabama

      Dont think I ate any of this when I was in Australia. Must have been missing out! Thanks great hub!

    • profile image

      philip carey 61 

      9 years ago

      I don't know a thing about Australian cuisine. This was a good read. The vegemite stuff sounds interesting. It's something I'd love to try. Again, nicely done hub.

    • JannyC profile image


      9 years ago

      Great way to learn about other countries through their food.

    • salt profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from australia

      thankyou, love that vegemite. Staple diet of vegemite on toast, vegemite sandwiches, vegemite on salada biscuits.. must have vegemite... yummmy

    • Sherbet Penny profile image

      Sherbet Penny 

      9 years ago from Galway, Ireland.

      Great hub, makes me miss Auz. I lived there in 2000-02 and cooked many a barbecue, and also loved to eat pies from Harry's in Sydney. But as for vegemite, eeeewwwwww pure aussie thing. I live in galway Ireland, have lots of aussie friends here, and when they eat that stuff, ahhhhhh blaah lol I just can't look ha. Great hub, brought back good memories.

    • globalcoffeegrind profile image


      9 years ago

      Meat pies are delicious! Love to try an Australian one. And bush tucker: I've always wanted to try this! Glad you mentioned this here, not so many people know what this is.

    • profile image

      Linda Myshrall 

      10 years ago

      Wow! What a great article! I have always wondered what a vegemite sandwhich is... now I know. I enjoyed this *very much*. I found it well written and easy to read. For my old eyes, I think some of the pictures could be bigger or expandable...? Anyway, your hard work paid off.

    • salt profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      thankyou, we eat so many different foods in Australia, that its difficult to find what is uniquely ours. This close to what I was trying to achieve.. and hopefully Ill get to improve it.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image

      Ultimate Hubber 

      10 years ago

      I am crazy about foods and eating good food is one of my passions. These food seem lovely. Thanx fr posting about them here.


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