The ‘land down under’ or more commonly referred to as ‘Straya’” by the locals, is a diverse, multicultural platter of nationalities and customs. This is why we have an array of foods on offer, but rarely specialise in any culinary traditions. Although we may not have a signature cultural cuisine like Italy has pasta or Spain has paella, Australia has no shortage of iconic snacks and unique dishes.
Here is a list of the top 25 truly Aussie foods you have to try during your student experience in the land down under:
1. Vegemite on toast
You either love it or hate it, but this salty, savoury spread is a national icon. For a real Aussie breakfast, pair it with avocado and salt and pepper on toast for a surprisingly delicious combo.
2. Meat pies
These hot, flaky packages are on the menu at every party and sporting match, and even for breakfast after a big night out. Try one with tomato sauce from the local bakery or service station.
3. Tim Tams
These much loved chocolate malted biscuits are now sold around the world due to their addictiveness. Have you tried the Tim Tam Slam? Bite a corner off the top of your Tim Tam and the opposite bottom side and use it like a straw to drink a warm glass of milk or hot chocolate – you’ll thank me!
4. Fairy bread
This is a childhood classic at every kids’ birthday party, that I still wouldn’t refuse as an adult. It’s made of three simple ingredients, white bread, butter and hundreds and thousands (rainbow sprinkles) and cut into triangles.
5. Fish and chips
Nothing beats fresh fish and chips with a lemon wedge down by the beach. Try the popular Australian fish, Barramundi. The name Barramundi is Aboriginal for ‘large-scaled river fish’. Don’t forget to ask for chicken salt on your chips.
6. Pub chicken parmigiana
Despite its Italian name, the ‘parmy’ is an Aussie pub classic that consists of a chicken schnitzel topped with tomato sauce, ham and melted cheese.
Pavlova is Australia’s national cake, made of a soft filling and crisp meringue crust, topped with whipped cream and seasonal fresh fruits like banana, passionfruit, kiwi fruit and strawberries. Australia and New Zealand have a long-running dispute over who invented the dessert.
These square sponge cakes coated in chocolate and coconut are Australia’s other most cherished cake.
9. Aussie barbecue
Sausages, pork, lamb, steak, you name it – Australians sure know how to grill up a feast. But I’m not sure where the infamous saying ‘chuck a shrimp on the barbie’ came from … a) we call them prawns and b) I’ve never seen an Australian actually BBQ them.
10. Golden Gaytime
Arguably Australia’s most loved ice-cream, the Gaytime has a vanilla and toffee ice-cream centre, dipped in chocolate and coated in biscuit crumbs. As the iconic tagline says, ‘It’s hard to have a Gaytime on your own’.
11. Freddo Frogs and Caramello Koalas
These little chocolate frogs and koalas are made from the best of the best, Cadbury Milk Chocolate. You can find them filled with a range of delicious flavours like strawberry, peppermint, pineapple and popping candy.
Pods are crunchy yet gooey bites of heaven with Mars Bar, Snickers or Twix filling. Shockingly, they’re unique to only Australia and New Zealand.
Snags, or sausages, are Australia’s version of the USA’s hotdog. One of our favourite versions is simply a slice of white bread paired with a sausage and your choice of sauce. Add caramelized onions if you want to be fancy. Head to the chain hardware store Bunnings Warehouse on the weekend to find yourself an iconic sausage sizzle.
14. Arnott’s Biscuits
Arnott’s is the brand responsible for our beloved Tim Tams, Mint Slice and Tiny Teddies. Buy an Assorted Biscuits pack to taste all the classics like the Scotch Finger, ANZAC biscuit and Iced VoVos. They also have a range of savoury biscuits called Shapes, that come in many moreish flavours like Pizza, BBQ, Cheese and Bacon and Chicken Crimpy.
These are an extremely chewy, caramel lolly coated in milk chocolate. The best part is the wrapper. Each one comes with a different movie trivia question!
16. Caramel slice
This treat has a simple biscuit base with soft caramel filling and chocolate topping, all the ingredients for a recipe of success. It would be un-Australian for you to not indulge in one while you’re here!
Milo is a malt drink powder added to milk to make a delicious chocolatey, crunchy beverage. Ignore the recommended one scoop serving and add as much as possible to your glass of milk (despite mum’s nagging). During the cooler months, you can heat it up and drink it with the Tim Tam Slam.
Australia has an amazing variety of tropical fruits, especially in summer. There’s nothing better than a ripe, juicy mango to cool you down on a scorching hot day.
19. Bubble O’Bill
When a mango won’t do the trick on a sticky summer’s day, grab yourself a Bubble O’Bill. It’s a classic blend of strawberry, caramel and chocolate ice-cream on a stick with a bubble gum ball for a nose.
20. Twisties & Cheezels
These are two types of cheese flavoured potato chips, comparable to the likes of Cheetos, but on a whole other level of finger lickin’ good.
21. Cherry Ripe
Australia’s oldest chocolate bar is one-of-a-kind. Cherry Ripes have a coconut and cherry filling coated in delectable dark chocolate.
22. Sausage rolls
Australian sausage rolls are another lunch time favourite. They’re made of sausage meat wrapped in a flaky puff pastry. Add tomato sauce for the ultimate snack.
23. Smashed Avo on Toast
Avocado on toast is a loved breakfast staple among Aussies, usually sprinkled with feta cheese, pepper, olive oil, sesame seeds or topped with poached eggs. You will find it in nearly every breakfast or brunch cafe. Don’t forget to order it with a delicious Australian coffee roast.
24. Chiko rolls
Inspired by the Chinese spring roll, Chiko’s are deep fried rolls of beef and vegetables, typically enjoyed by surfers after a day at the beach. You can find them at fish and chip shops.
Some might find it weird that Australians eat their national animal, but kangaroo is one of the healthiest meats on offer. It is low in fat and high in protein, iron and omega 3. You can buy it in fillet steaks, sausages or minced meat.
Make sure you get around to trying as many of these iconic snacks as possible during your time in Australia. I promise you they’re not all as shocking as Vegemite, which I’m sure many of you have already tried and questioned our taste pallets. Let us know your favourite Aussie food in the comments!