It’s not surprising that Australians are more inclined to eat out than before. Visitors and locals are both spoiled for choice, so even traditional foods are being treated with gourmet care. While every town has its unique cross-cultural cuisines and fresh, artisan options to choose from, there are some must-try dishes you can find all over the country.
AVOCADO ON TOAST
Avocado is a popular staple on the Australian breakfast table. It’s also a favorite when people go out to eat breakfast, which Australians love with great enthusiasm. This local delight is made up of mashed avocado (or “smashed”, depending on how you pronounce it) and served on one, two, or three slices of crusty, toasted bread. You can also call it an avo-smash, and it’s available in many different ways. It can be served with feta cheese or sea salt and drizzled with olive oil. You can also top it with poached eggs or even with beetroot and black sesame hummus, as the case at a single cafe in Sydney. You can’t go to Australia without tasting this dish.
BACON AND EGG ROLL
While eating bacon and eggs for breakfast is a British tradition. However, it has become a very popular snack that can be grabbed in the morning. This local treat is available in every Australian city. However, different cultures have created their unique mixes. Sydney offers caramelized onions and fresh tomato relish at its Australian-Italian Contessa café, and Melbourne has a Vietnamese-inspired roll stuffed with smoked bacon and fried eggs at Locksmith. You might find freshly baked bread in many cafes. It’s becoming more common for cafes and restaurants to make their bread.
A lamington can be described as a square of sponge cake with chocolate sauce and desiccated cocoa. The sum of these ingredients is greater than the sum of their parts. This local favorite is Australia’s national dessert and can be found in neighborhood cafes and trendy cafes. You can also find them at local food markets. You’ll usually find them plain, but some Australians like to add jam or cream to theirs. Australia’s obsession with salted caramel has led to the salted caramel lamington, which you can find at the Gold Coast’s immensely popular dessert shop and cafe, Reid Street Kitchen.
SUPER FRESH SEAFOOD
Australians love simplicity when it comes to seafood. A silver bucket of frozen cooked shrimp is often referred to as a “bucket” of prawns. This popular snack is served with chilled white wine or beer at many pubs in Australia. These fresh oysters are also available on many menus in areas near the ocean. Make sure to look out for them at Coffin Bay in South Australia. Also, try Sydney’s famous rock oysters when you visit Harbour City. Barramundi is also a popular choice on menus. This white, firm-fleshed fish is similar to snapper and is very popular in Australia, particularly in Darwin, where it can be caught and eaten by noon. Also, look out for Atlantic salmon and Atlantic trout locally caught. These Tasmanian delights are a highlight of any gourmet trip to Down Under. Local tip: These food items can be found on many menus in Australia, but visit Sydney Fish Markets to get a taste of them all.
THE MODERN MEAT PIE
The humble meat pie, a pastry filled with minced or diced meat and rich gravy, has been a staple of Australian working-class history since the 1970s. This quick take-out snack is traditionally made from beef and topped off with tomato sauce. It can be found at many gas stations and convenience shops. The popularity of this snack in Australia has resulted in many modern versions of the original. There are many varieties of meat pie available at local bakeries in Australia. You can find everything from traditional beef and gravy to creamy lamb shank pie, vegetable curry pie, or classic beef and gravy. You’ll find many more complex recipes at Sydney’s crowd-pleasing Bourke Street Bakery. Try the sweet potato, lime pickle, and chicken creations for something new.
SALT AND PEPER SQUID
Australia’s multi-cultural community has given Australian cuisine a unique twist. Salt and pepper squid is a traditional Vietnamese dish that consists of simple, spiced, fried seafood. It can be found in many Australian establishments, including beer gardens, regional pubs and beachside takeaways. It can be served with salad, sweet potato wedges and lemon dipping sauce, but it is equally loved across the country. Joe’s Fish Shack, Fremantle and Western Australia offer this delicious dish. All seafood, including Joe’s salt-and-pepper squid hand-crumbled version, is pulled directly from the sea to his waterfront kitchen.