7 iconic food and drink experiences everyone must try
Ever heard of avo-on-toast or barbies? If you haven’t, then it’s time you revisit Australia for a taste of some of its extraordinary local delights.
You may have heard about kangaroo steaks and crocodile jerky under the stars. But you don’t have to go to extremes to taste delicious Australian treats. Good food is easy to find in Australia and it’s probably why chef extraordinaire Heston Blumenthal has called Australia’s food scene an example for the rest of the world.
Not sure where to kick-start your culinary adventure? Here is a list of some of Australia’s most delicious national treasures and where to find them.
Smashed avocado on toast
It is exactly what it sounds like - yet somehow it's so much more. This quintessential Australian dish can be found in many cafes across the country and consists of a perfectly ripe avocado, mashed and spread over warm, grilled sourdough and covered in salt and pepper. For a refreshing twist, finish the dish with a dash of lime juice; and add some chilli flakes for an extra boost. Combining the best of healthy eating and snacking, this wholesome dish has become a brunch staple and is often served with a poached egg on top.
If you are a fan of croissants, then Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne's Fitzroy is right up your alley. Its traditional French croissants have been called the ‘world’s finest croissants on the planet’ by The New York Times. Crunch into these buttery pastries or treat your taste buds to twice-baked almond croissants, which come with a generous topping of almond flakes.
Fish and chips
Don’t worry about dusting sand off your feet — most of St Kilda’s fish and chip kiosks are located just off the popular Melbourne beach. Pop into one of the many beachside shops for a box of fish, grilled or battered to golden perfection, and a side of crinkle-cut chips. Opt to take your meal down by the sea or enjoy them on the boardwalk as you watch the ever-changing tableau of dogs, skaters and surfers pass you by. In Sydney, a visit to the fish and ship kiosk at Watson’s Bay, complete with harbour views, is a must.
This salty yeast spread can be an acquired taste to visitors, but most Aussies love spreading this on some buttery toast each morning. Cafés and restaurants across the country are also adding Australia’s savoury superstar to recipes in unexpected ways. Visit Anchovy in Melbourne’s Richmond neighbourhood for Vegemite tempura, a dish consisting of deep fried custard and cheese cubes and a side of Vegemite and onion stock. Or drop by Indigo in Sydney’s Double Bay area for Vegemite French toast and a caramel Vegemite milkshake. Trust us, these concoctions taste better than they sound. You can also buy it at any supermarket as a gift for family and friends back home.
Barbecues, also known as barbies or BBQs to the locals, are a popular Australian hobby because of the country’s fantastic weather year-round. A typical Australian barbeque is made up of sausages, burgers, steak, lamb cutlets and fresh seafood like giant prawns or scallops. And of course, all this is washed down with a few stubbies (that’s beer to the rest of us). For a more refined barbecue experience, dine at Firedoor, a grill restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney, which serves exotic dishes like octopus and duck hearts direct from a wood oven.
School prawns, the sweeter and smaller cousins of giant prawns, make the perfect beer snack. Also known as schoolies to the locals, school prawns are sold by the dozen at the Sydney Fish Market. Munch on a bag of deep-fried schoolies while you wander the various fish and seafood stalls at the market, or pair these delicious morsels with a swig of beer.
You have heard of craft beers and cocktails but how about craft spirits? These elusive liquors are produced in small amounts, using old-school methods. Savour award-winning single-barrel whisky made from pure Tasmanian ingredients at Sullivans Cove, a renowned Tasmanian distillery at Cambridge, Tasmania. If other types of spirits tickle your fancy, try artisanal gin at Bad Frankie, a themed, sepia-toned cocktail bar in Melbourne's Fitzroy that is fast making a name for itsself with clever gin combinations. If you are in Sydney, don’t miss dropping by Archie Rose – the first distillery to open in Sydney in 160 years. It has its own bar that showcases the whole Archie Rose spirits range. For an even more unique experience, try your hand at tailored spirits where you design your own gin, vodka or whisky and put your own name on the label.