Friendly and down-to-earth, Australians (Aussie) tend to prefer the relaxed atmosphere of informal barbecues and casual dining. Meat forms the basis of most Australian dishes. Whether it’s kangaroo, mutton, beef, emu, alligator, or seafood, they cut it up and roast it over the fire. Barbecue sauce or a thin tomato sauce coats it all.
When they aren’t barbecuing large chunks of meat over the open fire, they are cooking it in the oven. Roast dinners include large cuts of whichever meat is available, slow cooked until tender and seasoned with onions, salt, and pepper. Roasted seasonal vegetables might be served as a side dish, but more often than not, it’s just potatoes and gravy.
If Aussies aren’t barbecuing or roasting, they take their meat and form the stuffing used in their famous Australian meat pies. Nothing is more quintessentially Australian than the handheld, flaky pastry they eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a quick snack. The ingredients vary depending on what is at hand, but you better believe that they contain meat. A popular combination is simply spiced meat and onions.
Australians do serve other foods besides meat. Even more Australian than the meat pie is the world-famous vegemite. One of the by-products of the country’s beer production is leftover brewer’s yeast. The brewer’s yeast is combined with some “secret” vegetable products and spices to form a dark brown paste. Aussies spread this paste on toast, crackers, and top it off with avocados. The savory flavor of the vegemite appears to be an acquired taste, but Australians seem to love it.
Not surprising is the fact that Australia has one of the lowest population of vegetarians in the world; however, there are a few, and the country serves up some very popular plant dishes. Aussies love avocados. The fruit is so popular that despite producing over 30,000 metric tons of avocados in Western Australia, very little is exported. The Australian people eat all of them.
The warm Australian weather makes it an ideal place for growing citrus fruits, and Mediterranean produce such as olives and grapes. In fact, Australia is one of the top wine producers in the world, due to its large number of vineyards. Many fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, spinach, and of course, the avocado, have been brought to Australia from other countries, and grown successfully.
Before their introduction, Australians had to rely on native plants for a balanced diet. Bushtucker (bush food) is still served at many meals. You might enjoy some warrigal greens alongside your emu steak, and many seafood dishes are seasoned with lemon myrtle and the most widely known native Australian nut, the macadamia.
So, fire up the barbie and grab a steak. Your Australian adventure won’t be confined to trekking through the outback. Just eating dinner promises to be an adventure all its own.