Food & Drink

Originally, traditional Australian cuisine was based on English cooking brought to the country by the British settlers. This cuisine generally consisted of Sunday roasts, grilled chops and other forms of meat and was generally accompanied by vegetables such as mashed potatoes, beans, peas and carrots.

However, modern Australian cuisine has been heavily influenced by the country's South-East Asian neighbours, and by the many waves of immigrants from there, and all parts of the world. Similarly, Greek, Lebanese and Italian influences are very common with many of these influences arriving in Australia during the 1950s and 1960s. Fresh produce is readily available and thus used extensively, and the trend is towards low-salt, low-fat healthy cookery incorporating lean meat and lightly cooked, colourful, steamed or stir-fried vegetables.

Some English trends are still evident in domestic cuisine. Among these is the widespread tradition of having roast turkey, chicken and ham with trimmings followed by a hot Christmas pudding for Christmas lunch or dinner, despite the fact that December is at the height of the Southern Hemisphere summer. Other British traditions still persist to varying degrees including in the takeaway food sector, with pies and fish and chips remaining popular.

The barbeque or 'barbie', an icon of Australian cuisine and culture, remains an important part of Australian life and is usually the centre of any party or gathering.

Australia produces some top quality wines, taking classic Old World vines and making them their own with upfront fruit and opulent texture, and all at an affordable price. You'll find wines such as spicy Shiraz, tropical Chardonnay and rich, sweet Muscat. For more information, take a look at the extensive Wine Resource Centre, which has details on all Australia's wine regions.

Bush Food

Native meats and plants have long been traditional in Aboriginal diets, and can now be seen on the menus of some of Australia's top restaurants. Meats and fish that are genuinely Australian include kangaroo, emu, barramundi, trevalla, flathead, Moreton Bay bug (Bay lobster) and yabbies (a type of crayfish).

Iconic Australian Foods

The foodstuff most regularly associated with Australia is Vegemite, a dark brown, salty food paste made from yeast extract, used mainly as a spread on sandwiches and toast, and occasionally in cooking. It is similar to British Marmite.

Other iconic foods include:

  • Anzac biscuits, made primarily from rolled oats, coconut, and golden syrup
  • Chiko Roll, a deep-fried savoury roll akin to a spring roll
  • Jaffas, a small round sweet consisting of a soft chocolate centre with a hard covering of orange flavoured and coloured candy
  • Lamingtons, cake cubes, coated in a layer of chocolate icing then desiccated coconut
  • Tim Tams, two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate (somewhat similar to Penguin biscuits)
  • Violet Crumble, a honeycomb chocolate bar (similar to a Crunchie bar)