In a country where you can find people from more than 200 different nations and where 25% of the citizens were born in another continent, it is a little bit difficult to identify genuine Australian dishes, especially because one of the strengths of this multicultural society is the gastronomy. So, in case you were wondering, here is a list of some of the traditional dishes that are authentically Australian. Would you dare to try them all?
For thousands of years the aboriginal people handpicked them from the rainforests in the east of the country, until Europeans discovered them in 1828. Thanks to its versatility and ease of cultivation, several countries produce it nowadays. In Australia, it is a key ingredient in contemporary cuisine and a lot of desserts and pastries. A study recently confirmed that, in moderation, it lowers the levels of cholesterol in men.
This sponge cake covered with chocolate icing and desiccated coconut is simple and delicious. Historians say it was named after Lord Lamington, governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, but there are different versions on how exactly it was created. Some say that the chef of the house accidentally dropped a vanilla cake in a bucket full of melted chocolate. Whatever it really was, what is important is that it became the most iconic dessert in Australian tradition up to this day.
Also called butterfly fan lobster, it is a marine creature that can measure up to 23cm in length, and lives in shallow waters in the east coast of Australia. Its body is flat, it doesn’t have claws and only the tail contains edible meat. It has a strong flavour, and it’s excellent when steamed or grilled, especially when is cooked along other varieties of seafood.
The name of this fish comes from an aboriginal language from the area of Queensland, and it means “large-scaled river fish”. There are ancient art sites where barramundis have been represented, which shows that this fish has been consumed for thousands of years. It has a very high demand in Australia and Asia, thanks to its mild flavour and flaky meat.
Its meat is exported to more than fifty countries, and has been part of the aboriginal diet since ancient times. In 2011 just 15% of Australians ate it at least four times a year, but it has grown very popular since then. It is rich in proteins and low in fat (just 2%), which along with its strong flavour make it ideal for grilled steaks.
It is the biggest bird in the continent and the second biggest in the world, and is highly regarded for the quality of its meat. It has three times the iron of beef, and has excellent taste, is practically fat free and low in cholesterol. With just three grams of fat and 150 calories per 100 grams, it is the perfect choice for people who look for healthy alternatives, without sacrificing taste.
This polemic spread, that most of Australians love and most of foreigners hate, is one of the richest vitamin B sources on the planet. Made out of yeast extract, it has a strong salty taste, similar to the fat left on the pan when you cook a steak well done. The classic way to use it is on buttered toast, sometimes adding cheese, avocado or diced tomatoes.
This animal, that resembles a giant white caterpillar, has been part of the aboriginal diet for thousands of years. It can be eaten raw or chargrilled, and it possesses a high nutritional value, especially proteins. Its flavour is almond-like when raw, and similar to scrambled eggs when cooked. If you are in the middle of an adventure trip through the desert and want to feel like Bear Grills for a day, this is the perfect dish to take your survival skills to the next level.
As you can see, Australia proves once more why it is one of the most exotic places in the planet. If you have the opportunity to come, don’t hesitate to try these delicacies during your trip.