It’s a phrase that we’ve come to associate with the land down under, but there is so much more to the food and drink in Australia. As you may recall, I was traveling through Australia late last year and I was able to experience a lot of culture, speak a lot of the lingo, and eat a lot of the food. If you ever make to the land of boomerangs and didgeridoos, be sure to put these five items on your list.
You know how no one in Mexico actually drinks Corona? The same kind of thing applies in Australia: no one drinks Foster’s. In fact, I’m not sure I even saw Foster’s on most menus.
We can sometimes be fairly limited with our Australian beer selections here in North America, so do take advantage of some of the local brands. There are all sorts of ales and lagers from breweries like James Squire, XXXX, Coopers, Carlton Draught, and Victoria Bitter. They can be somewhat regionalized too, based on the different states in the country.
Something that I found quite interesting is that most coffee places in Australia don’t serve regular drip coffee (or “brewed” coffee, if you prefer). Instead, they almost exclusively serve espresso-based drinks. In addition to lattes and cappuccinos, they also have long blacks, short blacks, flat whites, and other variations.
When people make their own coffee at home, it tends to be of the instant variety and that was mostly the case in the hotel rooms too. You may find some places that serve “bush” coffee too, which is certainly worth a try.
Moreton Bay Bugs
No, these aren’t insects. Instead, they are the bay lobsters shown at the top of this post. A species of slipper lobster, Moreton Bay Bugs are named after Moreton Bay in Queensland.
The meat is very similar to very large scampi or more conventional lobster, but it is just beautiful how it just slips right out of the shell. It’s almost like having pure lobster tail.
I got some strange looks from people when I told them that I ate kangaroo while in Australia, but this is an opportunity that you should not pass up. I’ve had kangaroo burger before, but having a fresh kangaroo filet, prepared not unlike a beef steak, is positively fantastic. It’s tender, flavorful, and not too gamey.
You’ll also find kangaroo jerky available for sale, which can also be quite tasty. It is going to be gamier than its fresh filet counterpart, but I did enjoy kangaroo jerky more than emu jerky.
Even though they’re not native to Australia, as I described in a Dot Com Pho episode, camels have become very plentiful to the land down under. I only had the opportunity to try in barbecued sausage form, but it was easily one of the best sausages I’ve had in quite some time.
Other Aussie Food
Crocodile is worth trying and it tastes almost like a fishy pork-chicken hybrid. I did not like Vegemite, as it just tasted bitter and disgusting, but some people may enjoy the yeast extract paste. Barramundi is one of the local fish, but it wasn’t all that memorable for me.
Are there any other foods and drinks from Australia that no one should miss? Share your experiences through the comment form below.