Dishes We Love: 5 Unusual Foods to Try When in Australia

[ 2 ] May 1, 2013 |
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*Yours truly is playing with the idea of visiting the land of Australia very soon so it was only fitting that I sought out the best food.  This week I begin my hunt with some recommendations from Kristy Alexander, an Australian food enthusiast, who has a few things to try outside the typical Aussie fair.

Witchetty grub anyone? I know, I had you at the word “grub” didn’t I. Witchetty grubs are actually true blue bush tucker and if you are spending time in the outback at all you could probably get your hands on one and give them a try. I’ve honestly never seen them in the cities. They are tasty and nutritious and belong to the land so don’t be scared. There are a lot of other particularly Aussie foods so sadly I can’t list them all here but here are 5 slightly odd ones you might stumble across on your travels that are worth trying.

1        Vegemite

No Australian food list would be complete without the inclusion of Vegemite. Sadly it is no longer made in Australia but that shouldn’t put you off. Locals all love it (including me) and I think that might have something to do with the fact that we are raised on it. Kids are getting it on toast before they are 1. The trick with Vegemite is that you need to use it sparingly especially when you are a novice. The best way to try it is to make yourself a piece of toast with some lovely fresh bread, slather on some butter and then spread a very thin amount of the thick brown sludge aka Vegemite on top. Now there are some Vegemite imposters out there (usually discernible by the use of “mite” in their names) but DO NOT be tempted by them. They are nothing like Vegemite and taste like absolute rubbish. Vegemite is THE only way to go.

2        Crocodile

Now we get down to some of the really interesting stuff. I always thought Crocodile would be a little bit like fish as you know, they live in the water and all.  But no, apparently it is quite like chicken which I find suspicious as people always says weird and wonderful things taste like chicken. Anyway I’ve asked around and I’m told it taste between chicken and turkey but has a texture similar to pork. It is a white meat very low in cholesterol so yay, a nice tick in the health box for you as well.

3        Kangaroo

These days Kangaroo is actually quite common in AUS. So common you can buy it at your local supermarket chain.  I prefer the already marinated variety as it is a bit gamey tasting in my opinion. It is very very healthy. Extremely high in protein and low in fat which is what got it all popular in the first place if you ask me. Apparently it has only one calorie per gram. Teeny compared to beef. It has a consistency similar to beef but more dense as it has virtually no fat running through it. Kangaroo steaks or sausages are great on the BBQ.

4        Emu

Similar beefy kangaroo taste. Fat free and low in cholesterol. Two to three times the iron content of beef. Emu is great on a burger or in a kebab, in meatballs or even on the grill.

5        Meat Pie

Being Australian I feel like it is downright weird to put a meat pie on an unusual food list. However having travelled quite a bit and having only unfulfilled pie cravings I realise how difficult it is to find a good one anywhere else in the world. The Brits have them as do our friends in NZ but that’s about it. I was astounded that they weren’t more popular in the United States. They have pot pies which quite simply aren’t the same thing. Anything with only pastry flaked over the top is not a pie. For a pie it needs to be a whole sealed pastry case filled with whatever filling you desire.  Traditionally that is beef and gravy but in Australia we get rather more fancy than that these days and depending on where you go you can get some quite gourmet varieties.

*Kristy is an Australian gourmet food addict and freelance travel writer for HotelClub. Kristy’s favourite classic Aussie food is the lamington; a humble sponge cake covered in chocolate and grated coconut. 

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Category: Food.Fun.Stuff., Travels

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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