Here are the traditional Australian foods and snacks you should try if you’ve visiting or moving Down Under. Discover which of these unique treats originating in Australia are your favourites.
Are you planning a trip to Australia soon and wondering about what special delicacies there are on offer? Or maybe you intend to move to Australia and want to embrace traditional Australian foods and treats right from the get-go?
“I love food, all types of food. I love Korean food, Japanese, Italian, French. In Australia, we don’t have a distinctive Australian food, so we have food from everywhere all around the world. We’re very multicultural, so we grew up with lots of different types of food.” Hugh Jackman
Australia is a cultural melting pot which has resulted in a unique range of popular snacks and unique dishes. Whilst Australia might not have the longest history, they have been quick to develop its favourite foods and traditional snacks and dishes.
We have picked our favourite Australian snacks and treats that originated or were invented in Australia and we feel represent the culture of the country.
Here is our list of the 21 most popular Australian cuisines that will have your mouth watering.
1. Lamingtons – Delicious, traditional Australian cake
Lamingtons are probably amongst the most popular and well-known desserts in Australia. A Lamington is a delicate sponge cake, covered in a generous layer of chocolate sauce and complete with a desiccated coconut coating.
These light and fluffy cakes are favoured when paired with tea and coffee, and they are certainly enough to make your taste buds tingle. It seems every mum has their own traditional family recipe and they bring fond childhood memories for many Aussies.
2. Fairy Bread – Perfect kids party treat
Sliced white bread spread with margarine and covered with “Hundreds and Thousands” and cut into triangles may not seem so appetising to outsiders, but fairy bread is a favourite at children’s birthday parties.
It is extremely simple to make, but many claims it’s very enjoyable to eat, so why not give it a try?
3. Chiko Roll – The ultimate savoury snack on the go!
Chiko rolls are the Australian take on Chinese egg rolls or spring rolls. They are served in most fish and chip shops around Australia and are often associated with surf culture.
If you have relocated to inland Australia and are looking to go on holiday in the surrounding area, why not head to the coast to try them? They are mostly deep-fried and filled with celery, mutton, rice, carrots and more. Chiko rolls are a must-try for anyone who enjoys Chinese takeaways.
4. Vegemite – Strong flavour, often eaten with toasted bread or as a sandwich
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Vegemite, the Aussie alternative to Marmite, is probably the most well-known Australian food item. A spread is made up of vegetables, yeast extract and various spices.
This dark brown spread is often used on toast, though can be particularly salty so a small amount of it can go a long way. It is not everybody’s cup of tea, but the Aussie version is not as potent as Marmite so you definitely need to try it for yourself. Who knows? You might love it as soon as you take the first bite.
5. Anzac Biscuits – Sweet oat biscuits enjoyed commemorating soldiers
A traditional bake for the national holiday ANZAC Day, which is a day to celebrate the men who fought for the country in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (which is what ANZAC stands for).
Wives and mothers baked these biscuits during the war to send with their menfolk on their way to fight. They stayed fresh throughout the journey and were quite cheap to make too. They are made of oats, coconut and golden syrup and are baked and enjoyed by families all over the country to commemorate the soldiers who laid their lives on the line.
Beware though the Australia the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has strict regulations around the recipe and name. They need to be called ANZAC biscuit or slice – use the term ANZAC cookie and you could cause national outrage!
6. Tim Tams – Crunchy, chocolate biscuit, perfect for tipping in your tea!
Tim Tams are chocolate-filled biscuits with an extra coating of chocolate over the top. Known as the Australian equivalent to Penguin biscuits from the UK, any self-respecting Aussie will swear that they are way superior and who are we to disagree?
Tim Tams are available in any Woolworths and Coles (which are both large supermarkets over in Australia) and come in a wide variety of flavours, such as white chocolate, mint chocolate, iced coffee and more.
The originals are by far the most popular, but you would be crazy not to try some of the rest. As well as this, if you truly want to get the most out of your Tim Tam experience, you could try the popular Tim Tam Slam challenge, which is where you bite off the diagonal corners of the biscuit and drink a hot drink through it.
7. Traditional Australian damper bread
The damper is a bread that has been around for a long time in Australian history and may be familiar to you if you were a scout or girl guide. A simple bread, Damper is made using salt, flour, and water (i.e. basic kitchen ingredients) and cooked on the coal of a campfire or in a camp oven.
It was often eaten by travellers who spent extended periods travelling in more rural areas. Nowadays, it is often served with meat or soup, or golden syrup or honey if you want it more as a sweet treat.
Here is a great recipe if you are looking to make your own damper bread.
8. Pavlova – Aussie dessert filled with fresh whipped cream and fruit
Though Australia and New Zealand have been arguing for a long time about which country pavlova originated from, there’s no doubt that it is extremely popular in both countries.
This sweet treat is a meringue cake, with a hard outer shell but a soft marshmallow-like texture in the centre and is often topped with fruit such as kiwi and strawberries. Not only can you buy them in big supermarkets, but also in many bakeries around the country, and are said to have been made in honour of the ballerina Anna Pavlova on her tour of Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s.
9. Moreton Bay Bug – A must for seafood lovers.
While the name may be misleading (it is not actually a bug – don’t worry), the Moreton Bay Bug is a type of lobster and if adventurous seafood is your thing, this could be one to try.
Moreton Bay Bugs (also called ‘thenus orientalis’ or flathead lobster) are named after Moreton Bay, near Brisbane, Queensland but are included in seafood dishes in restaurants all over Australia, from the Gold Coast to Perth and everywhere in between.
A particularly popular way of serving these is cut in half, barbecued or grilled and with a drizzle of oil or lemon. They have a similar taste to lobster, though many say Moreton Bay Bug tastes better.
10. Smashed avocado on toast – The traditional Aussie breakfast
They are big on breakfast and brunch in Australia and avocado toast is one of the iconic staples. Although native to South America, avocados grow very well in Australia.
Many variants of avocado toast are sold in cafes across the country, it is usually served on artisan bread such as sourdough, rye and multiseed. ‘Smashed avo on toast’ has many varieties including feta cheese, bacon, tomato, poached eggs and even pesto.
The national dish sparked controversy in 2017 when a millionaire real estate mogul told millennials “if you want a house, stop buying avocado toast”.
11. Witchetty Grub – A hardcore treat for the adventurous!
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For the more daring and adventurous amongst Australian newbies, you might be willing to give Witchetty Grub a go (this one really is a bug!).
A staple of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, this small larva has played a part in traditional Aboriginal bush tuckers for many centuries and is found in the Outback. The taste has been compared closely to the taste of chicken and contains more protein than a steak. Whilst they are often eaten raw, many people enjoy them as a barbecued appetiser.
Let us know what you think if you do decide to give it a go!
12. Barramundi – Subtle and mild fish flavour
Barramundi is another special dish with Aboriginal origins. This is the Aboriginal name for a sea bass which is native to Australian waters and the wider Indo-Pacific and literally translates to ‘large-scaled silver fish’ in English. It contains fewer calories than salmon, and it is packed full of healthy fatty acids.
The Barramundi is widely eaten around Australia, though a small number of restaurants in the rest of the world are starting to provide this option on the menu. This fish can be served in a variety of different dishes, from Barramundi fish curries to Moroccan spiced Barramundi, so there is something to appeal to a variety of people.
13. Chicken Parmigiana – The ultimate Aussie comfort food
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Whilst this is not something that immediately springs to mind when you think about Australia, this dish is common in Australian pubs. Many pubs even have a ‘Parma night’ where you can grab the dish, along with a beer, for quite a decent price.
This dish is made up of chicken in breadcrumbs with tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese and is perfect for anyone who enjoys more of an Italian taste to their meals.
14. Bundaberg Rum – One of the most popular rums in Australia
Originating in Queensland, this rum is made from sugar cane rather than molasses as it often would be. This rum is said to have quite a smooth taste, complements coffee and works well mixed in cocktails.
Bundaberg Rum has become even more popular over the last few years because of its great quality at a relatively low cost, so definitely one to consider on your visit Down Under.
15. Golden Gaytime – Toffee and vanilla flavoured ice cream snack
Golden Gaytime is one of Australia’s most popular ice cream brands. It is a combination of toffee and vanilla ice cream, coated in chocolate and covered in tiny pieces of biscuit.
Other flavours of this ice cream are available, for example, ‘Pina Colada’ and ‘Unicorn’, though (like Tim Tams) the original is the most popular. Golden Gaytimes are the perfect cooling treat for a hot day, so make sure to grab one on your visit.
16. Meat pies – Aussies pies are a must when heading Down Under
In Australia, Aussie meat pies are a particularly popular snack to eat on the go and are sold in many supermarkets, corner shops and bakeries, as well as in shops specifically dedicated to selling pies.
There are many different fillings to choose from, though the popular ones include onions and cheese, mushrooms, gravy, and minced meat. It is the go-to choice for food after a long and hard night of partying, before the taxi home. If you would like to make your own Aussie Meat pies, follow this recipe.
You may think you know pies but just wait until you try an original Aussie one.
17. Violet Crumble – Irresistible crunchy honeycomb toffee chocolate bar
This is another great food item for anyone with even a slight sweet tooth. First made by Hoadley’s in 1913 in South Australia (and taken over by Nestle in the 1980s), Violet Crumble consists of honeycomb covered in a layer of chocolate (like the Australian version of Crunchie).
The honeycomb treat is sold in supermarkets across the nation and is paired well with ice cream to give it something extra special.
18. Flat white – Aussies argue you will not find coffee better anywhere else!
Australians tend to take their coffee particularly seriously, even to the point where lots of places prefer you to take a barista course before pursuing a job in cafes. Whilst coffee obviously didn’t originate in Australia, it’s believed Italian baristas emigrated Down Under and made quality coffee part of modern Australian culture.
Flat whites are one of the most popular coffee variations, with many Australians stating you are unlikely to find a better one anywhere else in the world.
You certainly can’t visit Down Under without sampling the coffee culture and whilst Melbourne will claim to be the coffee capital of Australia, plenty of other cities will disagree.
19. Milo – Yummy chocolate drink
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Milo is an Australian chocolate powder that many Aussies grew up on. It can be used for several different things, from making chocolate milk to adding a little something to your baking.
There are pre-made drinks and Milo snacks available too if you are craving the malty, chocolatey taste it provides on the go. Milo is now available around the world and owned by Nestle, but this genius creation was proudly crafted by an Australian native.
20. Kangaroo – Extremely lean nutritious meat
The animal most closely associated with Australia must be the kangaroo (which you may have seen videos of, bounding around the Outback), but what you may not know is that they are a common item in supermarkets and restaurants all over the country.
No other meat is so unique to Australia as kangaroo and there are many ways you can use kangaroo meat in a dish: sausages, burgers, steaks etc. Another interesting fact about kangaroo is that it is lean red meat, meaning it is quite healthy for you too so make sure to give it a go if you find yourself at an Australian barbecue and don’t mind eating one of Australia’s national icons!
21. Vanilla Slices – So popular in Australia that there is a national best vanilla slice competition!
Vanilla slices are made up of many layers of puff pastry sheets and custard, then topped with glazed icing. It is said that the vanilla slice originated in France and they are also popular in the UK. That being said, the Australians seem to be very passionate about this sweet treat and have taken it to a new level.
Each year, the state of Victoria holds a competition to decide who makes the best vanilla slices, known as The Great Australian Vanilla Slice Triumph, so surely that is enough reason to convince you to try one.
Which of these Aussie treats is your favourite?
From savoury to sweet, Vegemite to Tim Tams, there certainly are a lot of foods to suit anyone on their Australian travels. You might like the idea of pavlova or one of Australia’s famed vanilla slices, or maybe the aboriginal witchetty grub or kangaroo might suit your adventurous taste buds better. The choice is entirely yours.
Australians love their food and the diverse nature of the population has led to many migrants bringing their home country’s cuisine Down Under. Therefore, in addition to Australia’s unique twist on many international dishes, you’ll also find many of your favourite UK foods and many other national varieties too.
Whilst some may argue how many of these foods originated in Australia, no one will doubt that these unique variations were invented in Australia so can rightly be called special to Australia.
Whether you’re looking to relocate to Australia or are just visiting, make sure to enjoy your travels, try new things and fully embrace Australian culture and cuisine. We’re sure you won’t regret it.
If you’re moving to Australia we will be happy to help you if require a removal service. Remember Australia has strict rules on the importation of food so check out our shipping to Australia guide before you ship your local favourite foods Down Under!
“I want a world in which we send you Marmite, you send us Vegemite, we send you Penguins (popular British chocolate biscuit) and you send us, with reduced tariffs, these wonderful Arnott’s Tim Tams,” Boris Johnson