Traditional Australian Food (2022)

Last Updated on February 8, 2022 by Chef

What is traditional Australian food? Modern Australia is a young country and a diverse blend of global cultures, histories, and cuisines. Today there are several unique Australian dishes that are hard to find outside Australia, along with local Australian variations on international cuisines. We give you a list of foods widely considered to be Australian, below.

Traditional Australian Food (1)

For this post, I’ve tried to find the most traditional Australian foods, the dishes I enjoyed as a child growing up in Australia, and those I cooked as an Australian chef. As a kid, I had no idea that TimTams, fairy bread, and Lamingtons were so Australian. I thought the whole world ate Weetbix and Nutrigrain. How wrong was I!

Below you’ll find the most Aussie fair-dinkum dishes to be found in Australia, and rarely elsewhere.

Our list of traditional foods should feature all of the following. We’ve gone into more detail for our top 10 typical Aussie foods below.

Some Australian food traditions revolve around local produce and flavours. For instance, you will find desserts and ice creams flavoured with lemon myrtle and wattleseed, these are real native Australian flavours.

Moreton Bay Bugs, freshwater crayfish or yabbies, Davidson plums, finger limes and quandongs are found in typical Australian restaurant food. These represent native Australian species and produce.

The indigenous people of Australia have cooked using bush tucker and locally available resources for millennia. They feasted on sea turtles, shellfish and kangaroo while cooking their food wrapped in paperback.

(Video) Most 10 popular Australian traditional foods

Then of course there are some quirky Aussie food traditions such as the sausage sizzle. These events are normally to raise funds for charities or organisations and are to be found outside large stores on weekends and at fares and most big events. In Australian cuisine, the hot dog doesn’t involve franks and hot dog buns, just your regular long sausages (snags) wrapped in a slice of white bread straight from the packet. There is intense debate over whether the fried onions should be below, or on top of, your sausage. Sausage in bread is possibly the ultimate Australian street food.

Some of the most Australian foods, snacks and products are in the list below.

  • Vegemite
  • Dagwood Dogs
  • Snags
  • Damper
  • Fairy Bread
  • Tim Tams (these are very popular gifts or souvenirs from Australia)
  • Meat Pies
  • Sausage Rolls
  • Lamingtons
  • Goanna
  • Milo
  • Beetroot
  • Barramundi
  • Yabbies
  • Prawns
  • Crocodile
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pavlova (with Australia and New Zealand claiming this sweet meringue dessert)
  • ANZAC biscuits
  • Barbecues
  • Avocado, smashed
  • Chicken Parmigiana
  • Fish and Chips
  • Golden Gaytime
  • Kangaroo
  • Emu
  • Witchety Grub
  • Moreton Bay Bugs
  • Hot chips (these are French fries, deep fried potato sticks)
  • Chips (crisps)

Because of the current lockdown situation, I can’t go out and buy an Aussie burger with the works, or a serve of bugs for photography purposes. We have to go with the photos we already have. But rest assured, as soon as quarantine breaks there’s an Aussie burger stuffed with canned beetroot and melted cheese with my name on it. This too shall pass, and then we can add as many Australian food items as we can photograph.

The Aussie Meat Pie

Traditional Australian Food (2)

Obviously, meat pies did not originate in Australia yet somehow they became an Aussie icon. The meat pie ended up in Australian cuisine at the same time as the first fleet, 1788.

Sargents in Sydney lays claim to being Australia’s first large scale meat pie producer. Sargents was registered in 1906.

The pie in our photo is a gourmet version, from the excellent Grant St. Bakery in Port Douglas but the majority of pies in Australia are mass-manufactured in factories and are sold via supermarkets.

The meat pie is forever associated with ” the footy” and is the cause of many a gravy or ketchup dribble down your front along with a burned tongue. The use of ketchup on pies Down Under is also pretty unique. As in the UK, you will often find pies at fish and chip shops and hot to go from bakeries.

In modern Australia, you should be able to find vegetarian, fish, chicken and cheese pies fairly easily. You’ll also see a million variations on the classic meat pie.

(Video) A History Of Australian Food

Vegemite

Traditional Australian Food (3)

There’s a fair bit of confusion over the world’s black yeast-based spreads. Vegemite is unmissably Australian but Marmite exists in the UK and New Zealand.

New Zealand Marmite is not the same as British Marmite, they’re totally different. The Kiwi Marmite is sweeter.

British Marmite is sold as ” Our Mate” in supermarkets in Australia to distinguish in from New Zealand Marmite.

As an Aussie, I should make out that I love true blue Aussie Vegemite, but actually I’m pretty indifferent to both Marmite and Vegemite. You make your own mind up!

Any way you look at it, if you don’t try Vegemite in Australia, it’s a wasted opportunity.

Barramundi

Traditional Australian Food (4)

Barramundi only became widely known as barramundi in the 1980s. Before then you were more likely to see it as Asian or Australian sea bass. This fish is found in Southeast Asia, The Indian Subcontinent, PNG, and tropical Australia. Only recently would it be considered a traditional Australian food.

The name ” barramundi” comes from an Aboriginal word describing a large-scaled river fish. Today in Australia you will find wild and farmed versions and a lot of barramundi sold in Australia is actually imported.

Barramundi has a very mild flavour, and is a soft fleshed non-oily fish. It is a favourite food of salt water crocodiles.

Prawns (Not Shrimp On The Barbie)

Traditional Australian Food (5)

Americans call prawns shrimp. Australians (and Brits) call prawns, prawns. To us, shrimp are tiny little things and can also be called prawns if they’re in a prawn cocktail. Paul Hogan is massively involved in this ongoing debacle.

(Video) Trying Classic AUSTRALIAN Foods

Prawns are traditional at Christmas, high days, and holidays, when they’re usually served just cooked and chilled, nothing fancy. You’ll often be able to buy a bucket of prawns or a half kilo of prawns in pubs and clubs.

Kangaroo Meat and Other Native Animals

Traditional Australian Food (6)

I have eaten kangaroo, crocodile, emu and camel in restaurants in Australia. You will find kangaroo meat in most supermarkets, often in the form of kanga-bangers.

Kangaroo meat is pretty good, it’s strong and gamey and if you cook it right can be venison-like. Just don’t dry it out.

Crocodiles are farmed in Australia for meat and skins. If you visit an Australian crocodile attraction such as those in Queensland or the Northern Territory, you’ll often find that the crocodile zoos are actually a spin-off of the meat and leather industry.

Tim Tams

Traditional Australian Food (7)

Australia’s national biscuit, the Tim Tam is a chocolate-coated biscuit sandwich. These days you’ll find them in just about every flavour and variety you can imagine.

Tim Tams have travelled the globe, appearing in supermarkets anywhere there is an Aussie population. I’ve bought them often in London but I was quite surprised to spot them in a remote Sri Lankan town.

Lamingtons

Traditional Australian Food (8)

You can see a Lamington on the Smith’s Crisp packet above. A Lamington is a square or rectangular chunk of sponge cake coated in chocolate flavoured icing and sprinkled with desiccated coconut. They tend to be really dry.

Most Australians would probably think of Smith’s Crisps as an Aussie classic too (along with Street’s Ice Cream). Smith’s took the bold step of producing Lamington flavour crisps. My son liked them. I don’t know anyone else who did.

Traditional Australian Food (9)
(Video) Top 10 Most Popular Australian Dishes || Australian Best Street Foods || OnAir24

Yabbies

Traditional Australian Food (10)

Yabbies are freshwater crustaceans and they’re good to eat. As a Chef, I’ve cooked thousands of these little guys in fine dining restaurants, usually in an Aussie version of ” Surf and Turf”.

We gave this American dish an Australian twist with fresh red claw yabbies and Aussie grass-fed beef. It was the biggest seller in my restaurant.

Australians love to catch yabbies on camping trips and cook them as a treat. They also do well in aquaponics set ups and farms, so they’re pretty easy to get your hands on.

Australian Coffee

We all know that coffee isn’t originally from Australia, but coffee is a national obsession Downunder, particularly in Melbourne. Of course, like most nationalities, Australians think their own coffee is the best in the world and will defend it to the death.

Australian beans differ, so don’t expect your normal Americano here. You’ll need to order a “long black” and it’s not quite the same because of the beans. If you take your coffee with milk, cream, or sugar, the difference isn’t quite as noticeable.

You can buy Arabica beans in Australia, but you won’t normally find them in coffee shops. It makes a lot of sense to buy your own home coffee machine, it will save you a lot of money.

What’s Your Favourite Traditional Aussie Food?

Let us know in the comments if you have an Aussie favourite food we didn’t think of. Our list of classic Aussie dishes, produce and flavours will grow over time as all food blogs do. There is always more to discover, particularly in a country as big and wild as Australia.

FAQs

What is the traditional food of Australia? ›

In a nationwide survey launched by Continental to find out which dish was considered by most residents as “Australia's National Dish”, roast lamb was number one. Other runners-up to the title of “National Dish of Australia”? Meat pies, barbecue prawns, and steak and veggies.

What is Australia's number 1 food? ›

1. Hamburger with beetroot. You can eat burgers all over the world, but nothing is more Australian than slinging a piece of beetroot on top a pattie made with Aussie beef.

What is the most important food in Australia? ›

11 Iconic Australian Foods You Have To Try
  • Vegemite.
  • Fairy Bread.
  • Tim Tams!
  • Meat Pies.
  • Anzac Biscuits.
  • Chicken Parma (AKA Chicken Parmigiana)
  • Pavlova.
  • Witchetty Grub.

What makes Australian food unique? ›

Traditional bush tucker is innovative and unique: food sources extend from the swollen abdomens of honey ants to witchetty grubs; goanna to nectar-bearing flowers such as the bottlebrush. As much of Australia's native fauna is unsafe to be eaten raw, many different techniques were employed to render them palatable.

What does the average Australian eat? ›

Dairy is widely eaten, with 85% of people having dairy products of some form, and milk consumed twice as often as cheese. We love our meat and poultry, and it is regularly eaten by 7 out of 10 people. Ham was the most commonly consumed processed meat, eaten by 12% of the population.

What do Australian eat for breakfast? ›

Australian Eating Habits

Australians tend to eat three meals a day: Breakfast – eaten in the morning is either light and cold (cereal, toast, coffee) or heavy and hot (bacon, eggs, sausages, fried tomato) Lunch – eaten around 12 – 2 pm is usually a light meal such as a sandwich, or salad.

What do Aussies call mcdonalds? ›

Here in Australia, however, McDonald's most prevalent nickname is “Macca's”. A recent branding survey commissioned by McDonald's Australia found that 55 per cent of Australians refer to the company by its local slang name.

Why do Aussies call dinner tea? ›

It's usage has nothing to do with being lower class for I attended a private school and was taught that the three meals of the day were breakfast, lunch and dinner and there were two snacks known as morning and afternoon tea. So that's the usage of the word in Brisbane.

What things are only in Australia? ›

Things that are only found in Australia such as Tim Tams, Vegemite, Golden Gaytime Ice Cream and Vegemite Latte. What is that thing for which Australia is considered as a famous country?

What do Australians eat for dinner? ›

The typical meal served and eaten on the Australian dinner table would be a red meat dish with at least three or four different varieties of fresh vegetables. Whether it is rump, porterhouse or fillet, fried, grilled or barbecued, steak and vegetables is by far our most popular dish.

What do Australians drink? ›

The alcohol beverages most commonly consumed by Australians are bottled wine (34%), regular strength beer (19%), and bottled spirits/liqueur (15%).

What is Australia known for? ›

Australia is known for many things, including swathes of tropical beaches, marine reserves, Aboriginal culture, cute koalas, rolling wine country, and lush rainforests.

Why is it difficult to define Australian cuisine? ›

This history of adaptation and hybridization creates a cuisine that's difficult to pin down or define in simple terms. The country is inherently multicultural, and the food reflects the amalgamation of flavors and cuisines that the island has absorbed over the years.

What is an Australian dessert? ›

The iconic Australian dessert, the lamington, has been around since the turn of the 20th century, and is found in bakeries and kitchens across the country.

What do Australians consume most? ›

The Major food groups contributing most (over 80%) to the total daily per capita weight of all products sold in 2020-21 were:
  • Non-alcoholic beverages (making up 24.7% of total weight with 387 grams per day)
  • Milk products (18.0%, 282 grams)
  • Vegetable products (12.6%, 197 grams)
  • Fruit products (9.3%, 146 grams)
30 Mar 2022

What do Australians need to eat less of? ›

Evidence suggests Australians need to eat less:

red meats (adult males only) food and drinks high in saturated fat, added sugar, added salt, or alcohol (e.g. fried foods, most take-away foods from quick service restaurants, cakes and biscuits, chocolate and confectionery, sweetened drinks).

Is Australia eating better or worse than the past? ›

We're gaining an unhealthy amount of weight – and it's all down to the average Aussie's eating habits. According to a study published in medical journal The Lancet, obesity rates in Australia are rising faster than anywhere else in the world.

What is the least liked food? ›

10 Most Hated Foods In The World
  • 8 Brussel Sprouts.
  • 7 Okra.
  • 6 Turnips.
  • 5 Raisins.
  • 4 Blue Cheese.
  • 3 Anchovies.
  • 2 Olives.
  • 1 Candy Corn.
13 Oct 2021

Which country has best food? ›

  • Italy. #1 in Has great food. #14 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Mexico. #2 in Has great food. #33 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Spain. #3 in Has great food. #16 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Greece. #4 in Has great food. ...
  • Thailand. #5 in Has great food. ...
  • France. #6 in Has great food. ...
  • Turkey. #7 in Has great food. ...
  • India. #8 in Has great food.

What time is dinner in Australia? ›

As everyone said, in cities dinner is usually served from 6-6:30pm, gets busy around 7-9pm, and continues until around 10pm (the end of dinner for sure).

Why do Australians skip breakfast? ›

The reports reveals a number of reasons why people sometimes skip breakfast, with the main ones being that they don't feel like eating first thing in the morning (with 65 per cent of participants citing this as a reason), being disorganised (49 per cent) and sleeping in (40 per cent).

What do Aussies call soda? ›

In Australia, they call soda a soft drink. This can be a term used in The United States of America as well but it's not as common as saying soda or pop.

What do Aussies call flip flops? ›

The shoe known in Australia as a “thong” is one of the oldest styles of footwear in the world.

What do Australians call kangaroos? ›

A female kangaroo is known as a 'flyer' or a 'doe' and a male kangaroo a 'buck' or a 'boomer' (hence the nickname of the Australian men's basketball team, the Boomers). They live in social groups called mobs.

What is Australian slang for afternoon? ›

Arvo or S'arvo: means afternoon or this afternoon. “Meet you there this arvo!”

What does Lolly mean in Australia? ›

A lolly is a sweet or piece of confectionery. Particular to Australia and New Zealand, lolly has been part of Aussie slang since the 1850s. A conversation lolly is a sugary lolly with a conversational, often romantic, sentiment impressed into it. These have been part of the Aussie diet since the 1890s.

What is Australian slang for dinner? ›

Chow. Meaning: (Noun) Chow is an informal term for a meal used in certain English-speaking countries. It is often used in Australia as slang for dinner.

What do Australians wear? ›

wear, indigenous design motifs, bush wear

Typical Australian dress is regarded as anything that is practical, informal, and casual—T-shirts, practical footwear, moleskin trousers, and wide-brim hats, outfits thrown together without much thought.

What are 3 things that make Australia unique? ›

Australia is globally famous for its natural wonders, wide-open spaces, beaches, deserts, "The Bush", and "The Outback". Australia is one of the world's most highly urbanised countries; it's well known for its attractive mega cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.

What is uniquely Australian? ›

Other things that are uniquely Australian are Zooper Dooper ice blocks, stunning beaches, kangaroos and reusable grocery bags. Dozens of people shared their stories about the country, with many saying the shopping trolleys, possums and spiders sums up Australia.

What is an Australian Big Breakfast? ›

The Big Breakfast was an Australian children's breakfast television series presented by Tim Bailey that aired on Network Ten from 21 December 1992 until 5 July 1995.

What time is lunch in Australia? ›

Australia. In Australia, a light meal eaten in the period between 10:30 am and noon is considered Morning Tea; an actual lunch will be consumed between 12 and 2 PM.

What is Australia's national fruit? ›

Riberry

What is Australia's drinking age? ›

Laws that apply anywhere in Australia

Legal drinking age – you must be 18 or older to buy alcohol or to drink alcohol in a licensed venue. Selling alcohol – it's illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under 18 or to someone who is already drunk.

What is Australia's national animal? ›

Curiosity to official emblem

Hunted for meat and for sport, and used as a motif in the decorative arts, the kangaroo was finally recognised as an official symbol of Australia when it was included on the nation's coat of arms in 1908.

What is Australia national fruit? ›

Riberry

What is Australia's national dessert? ›

pavlova

How do Australian say hello? ›

The most common verbal greeting is a simple “Hey”, “Hello”, or “Hi”. Some people may use Australian slang and say “G'day” or “G'day mate”. However, this is less common in cities. Many Australians greet by saying “Hey, how are you?”.

What do Australian eat for breakfast? ›

Australian Eating Habits

Australians tend to eat three meals a day: Breakfast – eaten in the morning is either light and cold (cereal, toast, coffee) or heavy and hot (bacon, eggs, sausages, fried tomato) Lunch – eaten around 12 – 2 pm is usually a light meal such as a sandwich, or salad.

What plant represents Australia? ›

Australia's national floral emblem is the golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha Benth.). When in flower, the golden wattle displays the national colours, green and gold. As one species of a large genus of flora growing across Australia, the golden wattle is a symbol of unity.

What nuts are native to Australia? ›

Macadamias are Australia's native nut and are grown along the eastern seaboard of New South Wales and Queensland, from Port Macquarie in the south to the Atherton Tablelands in the north, and a small growing region in Western Australia, south of Perth.

What is the most popular candy in Australia? ›

Fantales. Though Fantales are relatively simple treats – chocolate cubes filled with gooey caramel – they're apparently the most iconic Australian lolly of all time.

What are Australian sweets? ›

The following are some of the most iconic Australian desserts, with links to recipes:
  • Pavlova. ...
  • Caramel Slice. ...
  • Chocolate Crackle. ...
  • Lamington. ...
  • ANZAC Biscuit. ...
  • Iced Vovo.
4 May 2015

What is Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy oi oi oi? ›

"Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" is a cheer or chant often performed at Australian sport events. It is a variation of the Oggy Oggy Oggy chant used by both soccer and rugby union fans in Great Britain from the 1960s onwards. It is usually performed by a crowd uniting to support a sports team or athlete.

What is the most Aussie word? ›

The 25 most common Australian slang words
  • See ya this arvo - See you this afternoon.
  • Being dacked – When someone pulls your pants down.
  • Give a wedgie – When someone pulls your pants up your bum.
  • Dunny - toilet, bathroom – D'ya know where the dunny is, mate?
13 Dec 2018

How do Aussies say thank you? ›

Ta. 'Ta' means 'thank you'.

What time is dinner in Australia? ›

As everyone said, in cities dinner is usually served from 6-6:30pm, gets busy around 7-9pm, and continues until around 10pm (the end of dinner for sure).

What Australian people eat daily? ›

Australia's 10 most popular traditional foods
  • Chicken parmigiana. This classic Aussie chicken dish – with roots in Italian-American cooking – is a staple offering at many pub menus in the country. ...
  • Barbecued snags (aka sausages) ...
  • Lamingtons. ...
  • A burger with 'the lot' ...
  • Pavlova. ...
  • Meat pies. ...
  • Barramundi. ...
  • Vegemite on toast.
30 May 2020

What do Australians call chips? ›

In Australia, chips can refer to 'hot' chips; fried strips of potato. Chips also refer to what are known in other countries as crisps.

Videos

1. TOP 5 AUSTRALIAN FOOD | Iconic Aussie Dishes and Snacks You Have To Try!
(Two Hungry Diners)
2. TOP 10 TRADITIONAL AUSTRALIAN FOOD - Australian Dishes 2021
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3. 10 Most Popular Traditional Australian Foods
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4. 'An Entrée to Culture – Australian Native Bush Food'
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5. Australian Food - What Do Australians Eat?
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6. 33 Classic Australian Food Recipes
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