A Quick Guide to Australian Superfoods

Bursting with flavour and rich in nutrients, Australia's native ingredients will delight both the health-conscious traveller and avid foodie. A Quick Guide to Australian Superfoods
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Perk up your health with Australian superfoods

Bursting with flavour and rich in nutrients, Australia's native ingredients will delight both the health-conscious traveller and avid foodie.

By Ute Junker

From the tangy taste of the saltbush leaf to the sweet flesh of the freshwater marron, you'll find many native Australian foods on the menus of restaurants around the country. In some cases, these foods – sometimes referred to as "bush tucker" – helped sustain Australia's Aboriginal populations for more than 50,000 years.



The macadamia nut is one of Australia's most successful exports. Aboriginal tribes regarded these nuts as a delicacy, but today they are an everyday food. Besides boasting irresistible taste and texture, macadamias are packed with nutrients, including monounsaturated fats and essential vitamins and minerals such as thiamine, manganese and magnesium.

Try them: At Sydney’s acclaimed ARIA restaurant, with views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, chef Matt Moran teams mandarin oranges with macadamias, white mulberries and yoghurt for a memorable dessert.


Anglers enjoy trying to catch this formidable fish while chefs love barramundi for its firm white flesh and its mild taste. This versatile fish can be steamed, fried, baked or barbecued and is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A.

Try it: At Pei Modern bistro in Melbourne, steamed barramundi is teamed with castelfranco radicchio (a pretty speckled salad green), pomelo and Avruga caviar.


As far back as 1770, when James Cook first charted the Australian coastline, his crew ate these leafy greens, which taste a lot like English spinach, and Cook even took seeds back to England. They were onto a good thing: warrigal greens are loaded with healthy antioxidants.

Try it: At Sydney's harbourside Flying Fish restaurant, which offers an innovative seafood menu, warrigal greens are often served as a side dish.


Although various delightful styles of mud crab dishes can be found in many menus in Australia, nothing beats the experience of wading through Australian mangroves with a local Aboriginal guide, catching a crab yourself, then cooking it over an open fire. Crabbing tours led by Aboriginal guides are available in Port Douglas, just north of Cairns in Queensland, and in Western Australia at Cape Leveque, a two-hour drive north of Broome.

Try it: Australian chef Neil Perry's Eleven Bridge restaurant in Sydney offers mud crab salad with salted duck egg mayonnaise.


For Aboriginals, these salty leaves provided much-needed protein and minerals, and were also used to treat cuts and stings. Today chefs use them in many different ways, wrapping the leaves around meat or fish before baking, or stir-frying them with ginger and garlic.

Try it: At Sydney's Billy Kwong, chef Kylie Kwong blends Aussie ingredients and Chinese flavours in dishes such as saltbush cakes, with the tasty leaves in perfect harmony with flaky pastry.




Sydney rock oysters are characterised by a unique, rich flavour with a lasting taste that is unknown in other oysters. Sydneysiders love their oysters so much that they can even be seen having them for brunch.

Try it: At Sydney's signature building, the Opera House. Book a seat at the Cured & Cultured bar in chef Peter Gilmore's Bennelong restaurant.


This meat is high in protein, iron and vitamin B, and virtually fat free. No wonder it was a staple food for Aboriginal tribes all over Australia. The best reason to eat kangaroo, however, is its delicious gamey taste, reminiscent of venison.

Try it: At Melbourne’s Attica restaurant, chef Ben Shewry serves red kangaroo tartare with native Australian bunya nuts.


This rainforest native is one of Australia's most popular bush tucker foods. The aromatic lemon-lime flavour of its leaves is irresistible when brewed into a fragrant pot of tea, but it also blends well with other Asian ingredients, such as chillies, galangal and ginger, and also tastes great in desserts, cakes and pastries.

Try it: Sydney's Sepia restaurant, run by chef Martin Benn, is known for its combination of Japanese and Australian flavours. Lemon myrtle is used not only in desserts here, but adds that special touch to seafood too.


Marron is Australia's equivalent to the lobster: a crustacean with delicately flavoured meat that tempts your tastebuds. It remains a highly prized gourmet secret, with most of the limited stocks of this freshwater crayfish shipped straight to Australia's top restaurants.

Try it: At Melbourne’s elegant Vue de Monde, on the 55th floor of the Rialto, the tallest office building in the Southern Hemisphere, marron is served three ways: raw, barbecued, and cured with citrus.

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