Food and drink are some of the great pleasures of being in Australia. Due to its location and ethnic mix, you can expect to enjoy a great variety of excellent fresh cuisine.
The migrant mix to be found in Australia’s population has brought with it fine culinary specialties from many parts of Asia, Italy, Lebanon, Greece and even Scotland. Australia boasts an abundance of freshly grown produce, from a rich choice of tropical fruits to cold climate vegetables and it is even a major producer of rice. Its seafood, beef and lamb are well known to be among the best in the world and Australia’s location on the Indian Ocean means that seafood is well known to be fantastic.
Australians are food lovers and a proliferation of outlets sells food, from supermarkets and specialist delicatessens to every conceivable type of restaurant. Numerous cafes and bistros line the main streets in most towns and cities.
Although there is little authentic Australian cuisine, some typically Australian food such as the famous Australian meat pie is sold everywhere. Other authentic foods enjoyed in Australia are kangaroo, crocodile, emu and shark, while regional dishes include Sydney oysters, Tasmanian salmon and milk – fed lamb.
Australia is famous for its fine wines. Well known varieties include those from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Barossa Valley in SA or Coonawarra Valley in Victoria. The Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine growing region and grape varieties grown here include chenin blanc, verdelho, shiraz and chardonnay, all of which benefit from the region’s hot and dry climate.
Australian beer is the same consistency as lager and brands vary from state to state. Fosters is probably the most well known brand internationally while brands such as VB, Carlton, Tooheys and XXXX (Four X) are more often seen.
Food in Australia today is influenced by the large numbers of immigrants from Mediterranean, Asian and other countries and Australian cuisine now reflects its multicultural society. Once traditional dishes have been spiced up with new flavours to create new dishes. However, there are a few classic ones that have stood the test of time:
Australian word – Equivalent
anzac biscuits – traditional biscuit/cookie dating back to World War I
bangers and mash – sausages and mashed potato
billy tea – bush tea boiled in a tin container
booze – alcohol
bundy – Bundaberg rum, eg ‘bundy and coke’
champers – champagne
chook – chicken
cuppa – cup of tea or coffee
damper – bush bread
grog – alcohol
lamington – traditional small sponge cake squares covered in chocolate icing and sprinkled with coconut
lollies – candy, sweets
middy – medium sized glass of beer
pavlova – traditional meringue dessert
sanga – sandwich
schooner – large glass of beer
snag – sausage
stubby – small bottle of beer
tinny – can of beer
tomato sauce – ketchup
tucker – food
VB – Victoria Bitter, brand of beer
Vegemite – spread for toast or sandwiches, made from yeast extract
XXXX – ‘four ex’, Queensland brand of beer