LIFE IN AUSTRALIA
Meals and Food
There are two kinds of ‘tucker’ in Australia: the fast, filling (and cheap!) takeaway food and the nutritious meal. You might like a little of both as you go from breakfast, through lunch, to dinner. Here are some meals and food you may come across:
- Weetbix – an Australian tradition, these wheat biscuits are eaten with copious milk for breakfast.
- Muesli – local icon Carmen’s Muesli combines rolled oats, almonds, seeds, and cinnamon to make a great start to the day.
- Chia Bowls – a trendy café option, these wholesome breakfasts are made up of coconut milk, plump chia seeds and maple syrup – with fruit on top – in a cereal bowl.
- Vegemite – beware of this dark brown, yeasty spread! It’s best spread thinly over toast or crackers due to its tangy strength. Still, a good source of vitamin B and adored as a national icon.
- Lamingtons – a bakery’s delight, these are squares of sponge, dipped in runny chocolate and coconut.
- Meat pies & sausage rolls – filled with beef, this Aussie favourite is sold at outdoor venues and bakeries everywhere.
- Fish & Chips – usually battered, always plentiful, and nice to eat by the beach.
- Hamburger with ‘the lot’ – usually found in suburban takeaway shops, a giant Aussie hamburger that contains a meat pattie, tomato, bacon, pineapple, beetroot, egg and lettuce. Very filling.
- Shrimp on the barbie – the line made famous by Paul Hogan (Hoges), these shrimp he spoke of are in fact grilled prawns. Prawns is what we love to find in a buffet in Australia.
- ‘Surf & Turf’ combines king prawns and steak in a hunger-quenching dish.
- Sausages or ‘snags’ – whether beef, pork, or chicken, cooking snags on a BBQ (barbecue) is quintessentially Aussie. Buy a snag inside a slice of bread, with onions and tomato sauce, at street markets, hardware stores, sports finals, etc.
- Barramundi is a sought-after Australian fish variety, while Blue Cod comes from New Zealand. Beware of the imported lookalikes, Australasia’s seafood is fresher and from cleaner waters.
Every culture’s meals and food seem to be available in Australia, from Lebanese doner kebabs (a takeaway), to made-to-order Thai, to honey chicken or beef & black bean at buffets and Chinese restaurants (see Chinatown). For traditional Italian pasta/pizza, it’s a short bus trip to Norton Street, Leichhardt for the best around. Seafood restaurants are also popular around Manly and Bondi Beach, South Bank along the Brisbane river, you can also enjoy the nightlife at Fortitute Valley or shop at Queen street mall.
Café food includes the trendy smashed avo’ (avocado pasted on artisan bread), eggs benedict (poached eggs atop toast with a creamy sauce), and hot coffee — freshly ground from local roasters is best. Chai latte is a whole different story to traditional Indian chai tea, consisting of frothed milk and sugar, but you can get ‘chai tea’ of a sort (Lipton style), sugar optional.