12 Classic Australian Foods you need to try
1. Chicken parma
This hugely popular Aussie meal won’t go down in history as being the most flavoursome thing you’ll ever eat. But, it is oh so satisfying and comforting. If you ask me, the classic chicken parmigiana (it’s no surprise we’ve shortened its name to just chicken parma) is best served from the kitchen at an Aussie pub. Also, it tastes best alongside a pot of cold beer.
A chicken parmigiana is a chicken fillet, bashed a few times to flatten it out, make it bigger. It’s then prepared by dusting in flour, egg wash and covered in breadcrumbs and then shallow fried in oil.
Once it’s golden brown, it’s covered with a homemade tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, then grilled until it’s melted. Sometimes a piece of crispy bacon or a few slices of ham is added to the mix too.
A chicken parma is usually served with chips and salad. Take it from me, this is going to be a super filling meal – so arrive hungry!
2. Meat pie
This is THE classic Australian food that you must try while you’re here. Don’t waste your time and try just any meat pie, ask a local where you can find a great pie. They’ll most probably direct you towards a bakery, small cafe, or corner store.
An Aussie meat pie is a savoury meal and it’s most popular at lunchtime. If you can get one that has just come fresh from the oven, you’re in luck.
There are many fillings to choose from, yet the most common is minced beef or chunks of steak with gravy. For the adventurous, the standard fillings of steak often come with onion, pepper, or mushrooms too.
Nowadays, fillings for pies are becoming super fancy! Think lamb and rosemary, roast chicken and vegetables, and even Indian style buttered chicken or lentil and spinach too.
3. Fish & chips
I have to admit it, we cook fish and chips pretty well in Australia. It makes sense that it’s on our list of classic Australian foods. We’re a country that is completely surrounded by the ocean, so the fish is usually freshly caught that day.
There’s nothing better than going for a weekend away to one of the smaller coastal towns in Australia to order fish and chips, then enjoying it on the beach. You can unwrap your meal right there and enjoy it as you watch the sun go down.
Your fish will typically be battered and deep-fried. If you prefer it grilled, you can ask the shop to prepare it this way instead, no worries. If you really want to pimp out your first Aussie fish and chips experience, order a few fried dims sims and potato cakes too.
4. Vegemite on toast
You either love it or hate it, but most Aussies have grown up with this stuff and we love it! No visit to Australia is complete without having tried vegemite at least once.
So what is vegemite? It’s a dark paste made from leftover brewers yeast extract with different vegetable and spice additives. It’s kind of similar to marmite in the UK, but let’s not get into that debate between Brits and Aussies about which one tastes better; we’d be here all day.
The most popular way to enjoy vegemite is on toast with loads of butter. You can also spread it on bread or even dry biscuits too. The secret here is in the application of the vegemite. Don’t overload your toast with too much of the stuff. It can be a little overbearing as the flavour is quite savoury and a little salty.
I’d recommend a ‘dabbing action’ and apply in small amounts. Once you’re on board as a ‘happy little vegemite’ (the initial ad campaign in Australia for marketing vegemite to the nation, listen here), you’ll be adding it to other food too.
I eat vegemite with melted cheese, avocado, I sometimes add a small spoonful to stews and sauces to add depth of flavour.
Vegemite can be purchased from any supermarket in Australia in a number of different sized jars. We love the stuff so much that they also produce it in a travel-sized tube to take it on holiday. You can always spot an Aussie at the breakfast buffet carrying the bright yellow tube of vegemite.
Both Australia and New Zealand lay claim to being the creators of this famous dessert. It’s usually Christmas time or special occasions when you’ll see this eye-catching delight adorn the kitchen table.
Crispy meringue crust under fruit filling of strawberries, mangoes, kiwi fruit, and passionfruit and fresh whipped cream on top. It’s pretty special.
6. Sausage roll
Sausage rolls are another lunchtime favourite and the best ones can be found in small family-run bakeries. A sausage roll is made of minced sausage meat, wrapped in puff pastry and baked until perfectly golden. You know you’re onto a good thing when the pastry is nice and flaky.
Sausage rolls have really kicked it up a notch over the past decade, with so many new flavour creations. I’m talking flavour combinations such as lamb, rosemary and pine nuts or feta, spinach and pumpkin and pork and fennel, to name a few.
Add a dollop of homemade chutney to your sausage roll or just stick with the standard tomato sauce on top. Don’t miss this classic Australian food during your visit.
7. Burger with the lot!
When we ask for a burger with the lot in Australia, we’re asking you to load it up with absolutely everything!
We know it’s going to be an absolute mission to try and squash that burger enough to get our mouths around it, but maybe that’s the thing…the challenge?
A burger with the lot is typically a grilled beef patty with all the usual suspects. Tomato, lettuce, and cheese on a white burger bun. It’s always topped with a fried egg, sliced beetroot and pineapple (from a can), and then sauce of your choice.
You can find a good burger with the lot from most ‘fish and chip’ shops or small cafes and take-away fast food shops.
The lamington is a generous sized, square-shaped sponge cake which has been dipped in chocolate and then coated in desiccated coconut. You can also find the famed lamington with the addition of cream or jam filling.
The best lamingtons can be found in the small family-run bakeries or good cafes. And like any good cake, the lamington tastes best alongside a nice cup of tea or coffee.
Widely recognised as the ‘National Cake of Australia’, this treat is an Australian icon, named after Lord Lamington, a former Governor of Queensland.
The ‘snag’ or sausage is what the bratwurst sausage is to the Germans or what the hotdog is to Americans. You can’t leave the country without trying this classic Australian food. In all honesty, it’s such a simple thing to cook, no actual skill required.
A snag is simply a grilled sausage from the local supermarket (you can purchase them in a bulk size packet for a very affordable price). It’s served in a slice of white bread, a few charred onions on top, and ketchup too.
If you’re keen to sample a typical Aussie sausage sizzle, head down to Bunnings on the weekend. Bunnings is one of Australia’s biggest hardware stores. You can ‘grab an Aussie snag’, freshly grilled from the BBQ, charred onions, and all from the tent at the front of the store for a few dollars.
Alternatively, you’ll always find a bunch of grilled snags at an Aussie BBQ because kids love them. They’re also cheap to buy. Those who love snags say that they taste bloody good eaten cold too.
10. Arnott’s shapes
Arnott’s is a biscuit brand in Australia that is responsible for slinging out some of the most popular biscuits in the country. Whatever you do, make sure you pick up a ‘packet of shapes’ at some point during your visit to Oz.
Arnott’s Shapes are simply oven-baked savoury biscuits of different shapes and you can choose from a variety of flavours. Hands down, my favourite flavour since I was a child has to be BBQ shapes. Coming in at a very close second place would have to be Pizza Shapes.
The best part about a bag of shapes is getting to the bottom of the packet and finding all the seasoning resting at the bottom…yum!
11. Tim tams
The Tim Tam is arguably Australia’s most loved chocolate biscuit. It consists of two malted biscuits separated by a light chocolate cream filling and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.
Because of its ongoing popularity, this biscuit is now sold around the world. Nowadays, they come in the form of many great new flavours. I love the ‘Original’ Tim Tam, but look out for the salted caramel and manuka honey biscuits, they’re fantastic.
12. Aussie BBQ
Australians enjoy spending time outdoors. If the weather is good, we love to grill food outside or invite our mates over for a BBQ.
You name it, almost anything and everything can be found on an Aussie BBQ grill. Pork/lamb chops, different cuts of steak, sausages, hamburgers, chicken pieces, and even seafood.
Additionally, we’ll grill thin slices of potato, and let’s not forget the onion. We love charred, almost burnt sliced onion that seems to taste good on anything.
This all tastes wonderful alongside cold salads such as coleslaw, potato salad, and a green salad. There will always be an endless supply of white sliced bread. Don’t forget that Aussies love to put tomato sauce (ketchup) on everything.
And, if you’re visiting Australia to explore our beautiful country, don’t miss our 9 top tips for doing the Big Lap of Oz. Imagine all of the classic Australian foods you could try on an Aussie road trip!
Is there anything you would add to our list of classic Australian foods?
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