Australian Cuisine: All About Food Down Under.

Well, not everything, but a bit.

According to Lonely Planet, the top 10 countries in the world for food are:

  1. Thailand
  2. Greece
  3. China
  4. France
  5. Spain
  6. Mexico
  7. Italy
  8. India
  9. Japan
  10. Indonesia and Malaysia

So, as much a paradise Australia might be, is not the place to come if you are a foodie.

History of Australian food

Before the arrival of Europeans, indigenous Australians would survive off of “bush tucker”; any of you who have watched “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!” will know what that is:

  • Kangaroos
  • Emu’s
  • Witchetty grubs
  • Wallabies
  • Snakes
  • Lizards
  • Goanna’s
  • Crocodiles

That sort of thing.

But since the Europeans arrived, Australia has welcomed people from all over the world, and Australia is now a nation of immigrants.

Modern Australian food

Australia now boasts chefs from every corner of the world, including those countries mentioned above. We have huge numbers of people who originally came from Asian countries including Thailand, China, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

In a league table comprising of the various countries people moved to Australia from, the Italians would be fourth, those from India would come sixth and Greece 8th.

So, I think it’s fair to say that we do now have some pretty good cooks living in Australia. So why do I still see signs like this…

Aussie CuisineHow can a sign like that not make anyone laugh? You are laughing, aren’t you?

Okay, but when all is said and done, it’s only a sign, right?

Close, but the truth is Australians really do love their pies. It isn’t the national dish, but it came oh so close as you will know if you read my post Who Ate All the Pies?

But, I can assure you, it is not Aussie dining at its best.

If pies aren’t your thing, and they’re not mine, there really is plenty of choice here in Australia. When we were in Sydney the other week, the first night we were there we popped into a local Thai restaurant.

My main course was Pad Thai with chilli prawns and it cost just $16.90. My jug of beer, which was 1125 ml, (that’s two pints to some of you) was just nine dollars. The meal was fantastic and that beer wasn’t bad either.

Fantastic value, I thought, from what is supposed to be Australia’s most expensive city. On the other hand, I could have had a pie, with a dollop of tomato sauce on top and an iced coffee to wash it all down, for less than six bucks.

Each to his own.

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Sarah Vickers April 16, 2017, 3:06 pm |

    Hey Bob can I ask what restraunt quality is like down there compared to here in the U.K.? Is it true their food and restraunt scene is behind the uk? and randomly what’s milk like down there compared to here? Random I know

    • Mark April 16, 2017, 3:36 pm |

      I think it may eoend where you are looking…Not sure who said the comment in the first place which yiu ask is it true…Having eaten in probably every city in the UK..Melbourne South bank and other places would give anywhere in the UK a run for its money and probably win… If you were in the middle of watchamatchwu (it doesn’t exit unless someone knows better), you may struggle. Sydney is the same as I am sure the other cities…We don’t have Michelin guides in AU..Thankfully that means we get something to eat instead of a still life portrait.. Milks milk white cold and healthy… Its the A1 beta-casein type and is common from cow’s milk in Europe (excluding France), the USA, Australia and New Zealand. no difference.

      • BobinOz April 18, 2017, 8:33 pm |

        I agree, I don’t think there really is much gap between the two countries for restaurants. Australia also has a massive multicultural influence, so we have shed loads of Asian restaurants and a huge European influence as well.

        As Mark has said, you’ll get plenty of choice in the cities, but if you are in Woop Woop, which is the official Australian way of saying the middle of nowhere, then you’ll need to settle for a pie or a sausage roll 🙂

        As for milk, I refuse to shop for milk these days, it is just too confusing. High-fat, low fat, no fat, 10% calcium, 20% calcium, farm milk, supermarket milk, red milk, green milk, okay I’m exaggerating now.

        But anyway, I always have the nack of picking up the wrong milk and my wife says ‘what did you buy that one for?’

        Which is why I don’t shop for milk anymore.

  • Kym January 3, 2013, 9:29 am |

    I don’t mind a pie or sausage roll now and then. Some are memorable like the town of 1770 in about 1990, a caravan park where we took our boys camping for Easter had handmade chicken, mushroom and zucchini pies that were positively addictive.

    The bakery at Ettamoogah Pub shops going north, best sausage rolls EVAH! lol
    My hubby loves the Thai chicken pies from the Humble Pie Shops chain of stores. (I don’t because I don’t like their whole meal pastry).

    • BobinOz January 3, 2013, 2:44 pm |

      I have driven past it many times, but I’ve never popped in the Ettamoogah Pub, maybe I should just to try those sausage rolls. I think I’ll give a go to those Thai chicken pies as well, oh dear, I’m becoming naturalised 🙂

  • Jules December 19, 2012, 8:21 am |

    Hi Bob,

    All the times I’ve been out in Australia (and I’m hoping to come again soon, this time, permanently…), I’ve really enjoyed the pies.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am a bit of a foody and like my seared tender kangaroo loin with raspberry jus and olive garlic mash… and all that kind of stuff.

    However, when it comes to pies, I really think Australia has the edge. Even the bog standard Mrs. Mac beef mince pies were something out of this world, I found. Or maybe I was just really hungry or something at the time.

    I had some monumentally awesome pies in Margaret river from a specialist pie shop. They had a chilli steak pie which was literally out of this world and a sublime chicken and mushroom pie in a creamy yet firm chicken stock and white wine sauce. Incredible.

    If you’ve ever experienced the disappointment of a UK Greggs high street pie (I’ve only done this ONCE), then you’ll know what I mean!

    All the best, Jules.

    • BobinOz December 20, 2012, 12:15 am |

      You know what Jules, I’m not a big pie fan, but once or twice I’ve been caught short when I’ve been out and about and it’s not always easy to buy a fresh sandwich here in Australia. But pop into any bakers, and there is always a huge range of pies to choose from.

      I like spicy food as well, so on these occasions I’ve picked pies like the beef and chilli or chicken and chilli, and they’ve actually been pretty scrumptious. Bit like a guilty pleasure, I enjoy them but I have to stop thinking about cholesterol in order to smile.

      So, yes, I have to agree with you, Australia does do a good pie. And I never said that about Greggs in the UK, that’s for sure.



      • Wendy Roeton May 25, 2019, 7:56 pm |

        Hey Bob, just stumbled across your site, very good!
        As a Pom living in Oz ( 23yrs now) I still miss a lot of the food that we can’t get here.
        Went back in Jan 2018 to surprise mum for her 70th and I reckon I came back a stone heavier!!
        Gammon ham, steaks , yummy , can’t believe we don’t have it here. When I have asked butchers they look at me like I’m crazy…. then suggest pickled pork lol
        Did you find it hard to adjust to the food? I still think meat tastes different and chocolate definitely does.
        I came back with 2 extra cases full of chocolate, crisps and marmite lol

        • Wendy May 25, 2019, 8:01 pm |

          As for pies here , yuck
          Ate so many Cornish pasties 🙂 (stayed in Plymouth for a month)
          Have mastered making my own now as I was horrified when I first bought one here. Minced beef with carrots, peas and corn? My kids say I should set up shop lol

          • BobinOz May 27, 2019, 6:09 pm |

            Lucky you don’t live in the UK all the time then Wendy, think how much weight you put on if you live there permanently? 🙂

            Personally, I didn’t really have a problem with the food here, but I’m definitely not a foodie, I eat to live really, anything half decent and I’m happy. My tastebuds aren’t really refined, my wife and daughter both tell me that you can’t beat the taste of proper English chocolate, I struggle to tell the difference.

            I’m a dark chocolate man and someone came back from England a couple of months ago with Bournville chocolate for me, which was lovely, but in truth, I couldn’t tell that much difference.

            I do love a good Cornish pasty though, and I miss them, so much so I wrote this post…


            Got inundated with tips on where to get the best pasties in Australia. You might like to check out the comments. Thanks for the kind words about my site, Bob

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