Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Great Australian Food Challenge

Whenever we visit a new country, Drew and I try to sample the popular and traditional foods of the area. In Switzerland, we tried loads of yummy cheeses, traditional meat dishes covered in the mysterious 'hunter sauce,' and croƻte au fromage, Drew's favorite. In Peru, we tried Pisco Sours, llama tenderloin, coca tea, and a stew with unidentified local root vegetables. And in Nepal, Drew had a fermented wheat drink that made him very, very sick...

When we moved to Australia, we noticed a lot of similarities between the local cuisine and American food. Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and KFC all exist here. A trip to the grocery store, though, highlights the subtle differences in cuisine. And thus, the Great Aussie Food Challenge was born.
Challenge Accepted!
The Classic Australian Dessert - TimTams
Photo from wiki commons
  • TimTams (chocolate cookies)
  • Slices (these bars come in all sorts of flavors such as caramel, vanilla and rum-raisin, and can be found in most bakeries)
  • Caramel Koalas (bite-sized chocolate/caramel candies in the shape of koalas)
  • Lamington (sponge cake with chocolate frosting and coconut on top)

Caramel Slice. Each bakery makes it slightly different, some have more caramel or coconut on top and some, like this, have a brownie bottom.
Tea Time
  • Tea and Biscuits (tea and cookies - traditionally enjoyed every morning at 'tea time.' Drew and his workmates break for a morning and an afternoon tea.)
  • Scones with jam and cream (delicious, sinful breakfast food)
Mandy's favorite: Scones with Jam and Cream

Kangaroo Steak
(Tucker is an Australian word meaning food. It's shortened from 'bush tucker', food gathered/hunted in the bushland.)
  • Kangaroo steak
  • Burgers with Beetroot
  • Meat pies (kind of like mini chicken pot pies but they come in different flavors)
  • Sausage rolls
Drew's favorite: Meat pies and Sausage rolls - often served with tomato sauce (ketchup)
Photo from www.brisbanecatering.com.au

  • Sweet Chili Sauce (A sweet sauce, similar to honey mustard sauce, that is spread on everything imaginable. My favorite use of it is mixed with sour cream and dolloped on fries.)
  • Vegemite (yeast and salt. It looks like tar and comes in a jar that expires way too far into the future)
  • Coconut (A lot of foods come with coconut here in Australia, from oatmeal to apple pie.)
Vegemite on toast
Photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vegemiteontoast_large.jpg#filelinks

We first tried The Great Aussie Food Challenge on our friends Chris & Taryn when they visited last November. They made a valiant effort but fell short when they put off two items til the last minute. Searching high and low on their way to the airport, alas, they couldn't find lamington or burgers with beetroot.

My mom, who was just here, was soooo close to defeating the challenge. She missed out on Vegemite, mainly because we don't keep any in the house. (Partially due to Drew's extreme allergy to it and partially because ewww gross, how can people eat that stuff?!) I might have to send her some now just so she knows she can't escape.  :)

Our friends from the UK will no doubt recognize a lot of these food items from British cuisine. Though 'bangers and mash' didn't seem to make the oceanic jump...

What's missing from our list? The one food that all of our Australian friends agree is missing from the Challenge is pavlova. Pavlova is a meringue and fruit dessert that may or may not have originated in Australia. It is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who visited Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Drew and I have yet to try it though so that's why it's not on the Challenge.
photo from wikipedia
Do you like trying new foods?  Come visit us and see if you can defeat the Great Aussie Food Challenge!


  1. Love this post! Pavlovas are the best, though - you must add to the challenge. :-)

    1. Thanks! And we'll be sure to add pavlova to the list and will aim to try it ourselves as soon as we can. :)


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