You won’t be surprised to know I’ve been eating plenty on my trip. Here’s what I’ve found out.
Lamingtons – a sponge cake in chocolate icing, sprinkled with dessicated coconut. Ideal with afternoon tea. A stale one could probably choke a horse.
Snags – low-quality sausages for the barbie. Sold in packs of 500 if sport is on the telly.
Bugs – from Moreton Bay, delicious lobster like meat in a District 9 style crustacean case. $48.99/kg but damn tasty. Use the shells as a prop for your next sci-fi movie.
Vegemite – the classic Ozzie ingredient. Tastes like what you’d get if you put marmite and turnips in a food processor. To quote Mick Dundee: “You can live on it, but it tastes like shit.”
Fish – snapper, perch, barramundi, flathead, escolar. The major culinary reason to go to Australia. Absolutely top-notch quality; fresh and plentiful. What a change from back home!
Escolar – a fish which tastes like swordfish containing a waxy ester layer which can give you keirrohea – a bowel ailment which gives you rapid and oily faeces. I think I’ve had that.
Wagyu – raised for 300 days, grain-fed and purportedly given beer and massages. Actually some of the best beef I’ve eaten anywhere in the world. A bit depressingly good, actually. Originally for the Japanese export market you can get this in many restaurants and butchers. We actually need this back home (at a reasonable price). If they haven’t already, they should breed this locally. Australian “Scotch” beef is pretty good too.
Pie floater – a pie, sitting on mushy peas, often with gravy and/or ketchup. Not had one, they look pretty damn disgusting.
“Tasty cheese” – not a brand name, what Australians call mature cheddar.
Solo – really nice drink not unlike Fanta Lemon.
Kangaroo – a delicacy, a rich, gamey meat similar to venison. Also what they make dog food out of here.
Beer – despite our understanding of Australian beer to be pretty weak stuff, they have some very good beers here: Cooper’s, James Boag’s, Fat Yak. Quaffable stuff, improved by the way it is served: chilled glasses and small servings. Even the cask XXXX that I had at Brekky Creek Hotel was pretty damn decent. They don’t drink Fosters here.
Cheese – there is some pretty passable cheese here, most of it comes from the south, particularly Tasmania. I’ve not had anything that needs to be exported, but some pretty passable stuff none the less.
Steak Pubs – what a brilliant idea. Get sloshed on cold beers whilst watching AFL on the telly, then go and choose a massive chunk of wagyu, cooked perfectly rare and served with baked potato and coleslaw (which you can leave). I’m amazed we can’t do this back home as well.
Fusion/”Modern Australian” – the main problem with eating in Australia. It can happen in any restaurant. Take a perfectly nice dish (say, pasta) and then chuck in a load of asian ingredients: spring onions, chilli, coriander, soy sauce. Why?
Asian food – Bloody good, Japanese particularly thanks to the freshness of the fish.
Bushtucker – Apparently they do eat this stuff but I didn’t try it, thank god.