Overview of Australian Cuisine
Australian cuisine is rich in a variety of foods and drinks. As a multicultural society, its cuisine changed, adopted, adapted and evolved since colonization. New and foreign ingredients and cooking styles that came to Australia were coupled with what Australian cuisine had to offered. The result was distinctly Australian food. Some of the most popular dishes include:
- BBQ - a huge tradition in Australian culture, usually enjoyed at weekends
- Fried fish - barramundi is a large scale river fish usually pan fried. The fish is similar to firm white-fleshed fish like grouper, snapper, sole, or bass.
- Vegemite - a thick, dark brown spread for toasts, sandwiches, biscuits, and pastries. It is made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with added vegetable and spice additives. The spread originated in Melbourne, and since the 1920s, the Australians have enjoyed its salty and a slightly bitter taste.
- Pea and ham soup - a hearty creamy soup infused with the flavors of carrots, celery, split peas, onion and a hint of garlic topped with chopped or shredded ham.
- Lamb leg roast - lamb leg infused with the aromas of rosemary and garlic, drizzled with a red wine gravy and served with roasted potatoes
- Chiko rolls - popular appetizer inspired by Chinese spring rolls
- Meat pies - meat pies were popular as the first take-away food in the early colonial days. There were pie carts in the streets and were usually accompanied by coffee stalls.
- Donar kababs – thanks to a number of migrants, Australian cuisine added this delicious meal to its menu, and it has been popular since the 70s.
- ANSAC biscuits – iconic Aussie biscuits made from rolled oats
In the early colonial days, dishes were typically based on seafood, native game, vegetables and fruits, as well as native nuts. During the gold rushes in the 1850s, numbers of migrants from Europe and America brought something new to Australian cuisine. Australian streets started seeing a growing number of vendors offering pies and Cornish pasties. Moreover, a growing number of immigrants spurred the drinking of coffee as well. With the new arrivals in the 1860s and 1870s, Australian cuisine developed a taste for fresh green vegetables typical for Chinese foods, particularly in the port cities, such as Melbourne.
At the beginning of the 1900s, there was a change in cooking and eating styles so that outdoor picnics quickly became part of Aussie culture, and that is how the tradition of the barbeque was established. New desserts such as Anzac biscuits became part of Australian cuisine a well.
At the end of WWII, there was another influx of migrants who contributed to Australian cuisine by bringing new ingredients and flavors. This willingness to discover new ingredients and flavors transformed Australian cuisine. After WWII, a great number of people migrated to Australia again, especially from the Mediterranean countries like Greece, Italy, Lebanon, and Turkey. A whole new range of tastes, flavors, and smells transformed Australia’s gastronomic heritage.
The evolution of tastes and styles have helped to define a distinctly innovative Australian gastronomy in Australian restaurants that are seen as part of the world's' premier cuisine. One feature of cuisine that helped it grow and develop is its willingness to adapt and adopt new styles, flavors, cooking techniques...
Besides macadamia nuts, foods unique to Australian dishes include:
- Emu – usually smoked and served cold
- Crocodile (rarely used but a real delicacy)
- Balmain bugs – small lobsters found in the shallow waters around Australia
- Kangaroo – kangaroo meat was one of the main source of meat in the colonial days
The second most populous city in Australia, Melbourne, is located at the very south-east of Australia, the state of Victoria, on the Port Phillip and is a true mix of cultures, languages, and cuisines and thus serves as a true representative of the unique Australian cuisine. Once you start exploring its hidden charms, you’ll realise why it is considered the world’s most lovable city.
Planning your meal
Planning a Melbourne-style meal for your family or friends is a not an easy task because once you start exploring Aussie cuisine, you will find a whole variety of delicious meals that you would like to try. You can start with Chiko Rolls or pastry-like Sausage Rolls. Then, while your family or guests enjoy the appetizer, you can move to the main meal and start preparing a traditional meat pie or roast lamb shoulder. After a hearty meal, you can surprise your guests by presenting them a puffy Lamington Cake or some chocolate Tim Tams. Whatever combination of these delicious recipes you choose for your Melbourne-inspired dinner, you won’t have any trouble finding the ingredients as they are all available in stores.
To start off your Aussie evening, get the ingredients for Chiko or Sausage Rolls, roll up your sleeves and start preparing the appetizers.
If you ever visit Melbourne and ask a random passer-by what traditional Aussie dish you should try, they will most probably tell you to try a meat pie or roast lamb shoulder. Here are the recipes so that you can experience this unique combination of flavors in the comfort of your home.
For the dessert, if you’d like something fluffy and light, then you should try Lamington Cake. But, if you are a chocolate-lover, then Tim Tams are the right choice for your Aussie evening.
To finish your Melbourne-style dinner, you can have a glass of Australian wine or beer. Or, if you are more for something non-alcoholic, try out Australian tea.
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Beer was a popular beverage in Australia until the 1970s when it’s popularity was overtaken by wine. There is a variety of beers but one that should be mentioned is ginger beer. This type of beer can be either brewed or manufactured with a varying degree of alcoholic strength. The ingredients traditionally used is preparing ginger beer are yeast, ginger spice, and sugar. It is carbonated and sweet in taste. You can find it in over 30 countries around the world.
Te an be said to be a part of Aussie culture and is very similar to that of the British. Usually, tea is enjoyed in the morning and afternoon. Some of the most popular teas are black tea, green tea, fruit infusions, chamomile, etc.