What to eat in Australia
- Try the Kangaroo pie, if you fancy some, it is commonly available from most supermarkets and butchers shops.
- Crocodile, meat from farms in the Northern Territory and Queensland is widely available around the top end, and occasionally elsewhere.
- At Rockhampton, the beef capital of Australia, you can see the ancient reptile on a farm while munching on a croc burger.
- Emu is low in fat, and available in some specialty butchers. Try the Coat of Arms pie in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast.
- Bush tucker, many tours may give you an opportunity to try some bush tucker, the berries, nuts, roots, ants, and grubs from Australia’s native bush. Macadamia nuts are the only native plant to Australia that is grown for food commercially. Taste some of the other bush foods, and you will discover why.
- Vegemite is a salty yeast-based spread, best spread thinly on toast. If you aren’t up for buying a jar, any coffee shop will serve vegemite on toast at breakfast time.
- The Tim-Tam, is a popular chocolate fudge-filled sandwich of two chocolate biscuits, all dipped in chocolate. You can buy a packet (or two) from any supermarket or convenience store.
- The lamington is a cube of sponge cake covered in chocolate icing and dipped in desiccated coconut.
- The pavlova is a meringue cake with a cream topping usually decorated with fresh fruit. Served on special occasions, or after a lunchtime barbecue.
- ANZAC biscuits are a mix of coconut, oats, flour, sugar and golden syrup.
- Damper is a traditional soda bread that baked by drovers and stockmen. It has basic ingredients (flour, water and perhaps salt) and usually cooked in the embers of a fire. It is not routinely available in bakeries and only commonly served to tourists on organized tours. Best eaten with butter and jam or golden syrup as it is dry and bland.
- A pie floater is a South Australian dish available around Adelaide. It is a pie inverted in a bowl of thick mushy pea soup. Similar pie variations are sometimes available in other regions.
- A Chiko roll is a deep-fried snack inspired by the egg roll or the spring roll. Despite the name, it contains no chicken. Its filling is boned mutton, vegetables, rice, barley, and seasonings. Its shell is thicker than an egg roll, meant to survive handling at football matches. Available anywhere you can buy fish and chips.
Other cuisines widely available in Australia, often prepared by members of the relevant culture, include: Chinese, Thai, Italian, Greek, German, Lebanese, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, Vegetarian
All of the capital cities and many regional towns in Australia host a “farmer’s market”, which is generally held each week in a designated area on a Saturday or Sunday. These markets mostly sell fresh fruits and vegetables, as hygiene standards in Australia forbid the selling of meat directly from market stalls. Butchers who set up shop at a farmer’s market would usually trade their wares from a display cabinet within their truck. The attraction of markets is the lower prices and freshness of the produce. The attraction for the traveller will be the cheap and excellent fruits on offer – depending on the region and season. In regional areas the market is usually held outside the town itself in an empty paddock or sports field, markets in capital cities are easier to reach but the prices are typically more in line with those you would find in supermarkets.
Drinking beer is ingrained in Australian culture. Although Fosters is promoted as an Australian beer overseas, it is rarely consumed by Australians in Australia, and is almost impossible to find. Beers are strongly regional and every state has its own brews: Coopers and West End in South Australia, Carlton and VB in Victoria, Tooheys in NSW, XXXX in Queensland, Boags and Cascade in Tasmania, and Swan in Western Australia. There are also local microbrew choices, which can be harder to find, but are often worth seeking out. A wide range of imported European and American bottled beers are available in all but the most basic pub.
Australia produces quality wine on a truly industrial scale, with large multinational brands supplying Australian bottle shops and exporting around the world. There are also a multitude of boutique wineries and smaller suppliers. Very good red and white wine can be bought very cheaply in Australia, and even the smallest shop could be expected to have 50 or more varieties to choose from.
Bundaberg Rum (Bundy) is an Australian dark rum particularly popular in Queensland and many Queenslanders will not touch any other brand of rum, while many other Australians will not touch Bundy. It is probably the most famous Australian made spirit, mass produced in Bundaberg and available everywhere.
Mixed drinks are available, particularly vodka, scotch, bourbon and other whiskey mixers. Jim Beam bourbon is probably the most commonly drunk. Spirits are also available as pre-mixed bottles and cans but are subject to higher taxation in this form, so it is cheaper to mix them yourself. Spirits are served in all pubs and bars, but not in all restaurants.
The legal drinking age throughout Australia is 18 years.