Many people wonder — what exactly is traditional Australian food? And it’s a good question. Australian cuisine has developed from a mix of many different cultures over the course of several centuries.
As a result, many unique Australian dishes simply can’t be found anywhere else. I’ve also found there are many international dishes Australians have adopted and made their own.
Visiting other destinations in Australia? Check out our other delicious guides:
Best Australian Food
Of course, no conversation about Australian cuisine is complete without mentioning Vegemite.
The stuff is an inseparable part of the country’s culture and one of Australia’s most iconic foods. Vegemite is a savory paste made of many different vegetables and spices for those who haven’t yet tried it. It’s usually eaten with sandwiches.
Tourists sometimes find it an acquired taste, but it’s a must-try when visiting Australia. Listen to the locals when they tell you a little goes a long way!
Although this dish obviously originated in Italy, Chicken Parmigiana has become a staple of Australian cuisine. You’ll find it’s served in almost every pub in the country.
Usually referred to as “chicken parma” or “chicken parmy”, this dish consists of breaded chicken topped with cheese and mozzarella sauce. It’s often served with chips and salad on the side. A night out at the pub just isn’t the same without it.
Australian kids love fairy bread — or plain white bread covered in butter and topped with what locals call “hundreds and thousands” (“sprinkles” to the rest of us).
This simple sweet dish can often be found at children’s parties, but high-end versions aimed at adults have begun popping up as well!
Locals are crazy for avocados — in fact, their popularity in the country has caused an avocado shortage, and prices have soared!
In Australia, avocados aren’t reserved for Mexican dishes — you can find avocados all over every Australian menu, even for breakfast! Avo toast was a popular Australian breakfast dish long before it became a hipster food for the rest of the world.
You can even find avocado toast made with vegemite.
Barbecue is one of the country’s favorite pastimes. In fact, the custom’s become synonymous with Australian culture.
We’ve all heard the phrase “throw another shrimp on the barbie!” But interestingly enough, Australians actually call them prawns, not shrimp!
Some of the most popular foods you’ll find on an Australian barbecue are lamb chops, burgers, sausages, steaks, and of course, shrimp.
Virtually every household has a barbecue, and it’s something you can expect to find all over as you travel the country.
Fish and Chips
Although fish and chips are usually associated with Britain, they’re a very popular dish in Australia as well.
It’s not difficult to see why. After all, Australia knows its seafood. Fish and chips are a favorite Australian beach food. In fact, most beaches are dotted with shops that specialize in it.
Make sure you get a good helping of tartar sauce. That’s how you eat it like a true Australian.
Those of you with a bit of a sweet tooth are sure to love these. Tim Tams are a delicious treat made with two chocolate biscuits (cookies) and chocolate cream in the middle.
One of the best ways to eat them is dubbed the Tim Tam Slam. You bite opposite corners off of the Tim Tam, then use it as a straw to drink a hot beverage. This softens the Tim Tam and makes it even tastier.
Barramundi could almost be considered the national fish of Australia. It’s found on that many menus!
Barramundi (or Asian sea bass) is a white fish with a firm texture. It’s typically eaten in large flakes and loved for its sweet/buttery flavor. Because of the fish’s texture and versatile flavor, barramundi can be prepared in several ways. The delicious fish is also quite healthy!
Whether this dish originated in Australia or New Zealand has been a topic of huge debate over the years.
In any case, there’s no doubt that Pavlova is a staple of Australian cuisine. Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this meringue-based cake is usually topped with fruit and whipped cream. It’s a popular dessert in Australia, and you can find it in almost any bakery in the country.
ANZAC biscuits are another iconic food within Australian cuisine. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The biscuits were originally made for soldiers serving in World War I.
They were designed to be long-lasting and high in nutrition. These biscuits are made from oats, golden syrup, and coconuts. They’re good to eat year-round but are especially popular during the Australian holiday ANZAC Day.
This is something that ice cream lovers absolutely have to try.
Golden Gaytime is a delicious ice cream snack made up of vanilla and toffee dipped in chocolate and wrapped in biscuit (cookie) crumbs. It’s a popular snack that’s well-known for its campy name and slogan: “it’s hard to have a Gaytime on your own.”
The treat recently became available in tub format, and there are several different flavors to try.
The more adventurous travelers out there will definitely want to try kangaroo meat. Thankfully, it’s surprisingly easy to find in Australia.
Kangaroo meat is very healthy. It’s high in protein and very lean and tender. You can find it in everything from hamburgers to steaks, sausages, and even pizza
Its taste is most often described as similar to venison. It’s a must-try if you really want to experience Australian cuisine.
As you can see, Australia has a lot to offer when it comes to food. Australian food is some of the most unique in the world, and it’s definitely something you can look forward to when visiting this beautiful country.
Which traditional Australian food looked best to you? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.