11 essential Aussie food experiences that every international student must try.
Even though the true origins of this dessert are hotly debated, the Pavlova has been an Australian favourite for nearly a century. At its essence, it’s a meringue pie (a mixture of egg whites and sugar), crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and topped with fruit and whipped cream. It’s also renowned for its difficulty, but we’ve found a simple recipe for those willing to try:
Because they’re one of our most famous and cutest animals, some Australians feel reluctant to eat kangaroo. Lately, though, it’s becoming a popular, health-conscious and environmentally friendly alternative to other red meats. Kangaroo or ‘roo’ meat is very lean and packed with iron, zinc and omega 3’s. Because it can substitute almost any other red meat, there’s a lot you can do with it. It’s particularly good in stir fries, curries and on burgers and goes well with garlic rosemary, pepper and fruity flavours like plum, red currant, quandong or orange.
Lamingtons are addictive, mini sponge cakes, covered with a layer of chocolate and desiccated coconut. They’re a traditional morning tea snack and sometimes come with jam or cream fillings.
4. Macadamia Nuts
These world-famous nuts with a buttery flavour were an important food source for native Australians. They’re delicious, can be used in sauces and are also great roasted.
You’ll either love it or hate it, but you have to try it to find out. Invented in Melbourne in 1923, Vegemite is probably Australia’s most famous (or infamous) food. Vegemite is made from concentrated yeast extract left over from the beer-making process and as such it’s very salty and has a strong umami flavour. The key for beginners is to not go too far – start with a very small amount of Vegemite on buttered toast. Keep in mind that it’s more like a condiment than a spread. While it most often goes on toast and sandwiches, it’s a highly versatile snack (which is also used to cure mouth ulcers).
6. Anzac Biscuits
During WWII, soldiers were given what were called ‘hardtack biscuits’ – extremely hard biscuits that lasted forever. The sweet Anzac biscuits that we eat today are much softer than the originals, but do last a really long time and are strongly associated with Australian wartime history. The name Anzac comes from ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps). They’re yummy and very easy to make.
7. Meat Pies
Meat pies are about as Aussie as it gets. There’s two kinds – the gourmet meat pie and the ‘day-at-the-footy’ style meat pie. You can try cooking a nice one at home or a fancy one at a restaurant. However, when Australians say ‘meat pie’ they’re probably referring to the takeaway or frozen kind that you can pick up in supermarkets, convenience stores, bakeries and definitely, at the footy.
8. The Tim Tam Slam:
More of an activity than a recipe, the Tim Tam Slam is a recent and popular addition to Aussie food culture. All you need is a pack of Australia’s favourite biscuits (Tim Tams) and a hot beverage (usually coffee). Bite off two corners of the Tim Tam (one at either end), dunk one end in your drink and suck your drink through the Tim Tam as the gooey insides dissolve.
9. King George Whiting
The King George Whiting is a native Australian fish known for its sweet and delicate flavour. It’s great in batter, deep-fried and of course, with fish n’ chips.
10. Fairy Bread
A kid could make fairy bread, and that’s probably the point. This sugary treat most often shows up at children’s birthday parties, which is why even grown Australians have fond feelings towards it. We could link to a recipe, but we don’t really need to. Here’s what you do:
Take some white bread, butter it, and cover it with round, 100’s and 1000’s (sugar sprinkles). You’re done! Enjoy.
11. Sausage Sizzle
What separates the Australian sausage sizzle from the American hot dog? Bread, not buns! Other traditional accompaniments to this staple include; onions, tomato sauce and mustard. If you don’t feel like making one yourself, you can always hang around a hardware store on the weekend – a likely place to find a sausage sizzle pop-up.