8 Things to Eat in Australia for First Timers

Last Updated on April 15, 2020 by hungryoungwoman

Ah, the land Down Under. So much to see and so much to do! But the real question is… what to eat in Australia? Exploring a country’s food culture is part of exploring the country as a whole. I feel like you can’t truly say you’ve been somewhere unless you’ve immersed yourself in the culture’s food, traditions, and lifestyle. So keep reading to see the things to eat in Australia (and what I dare you to eat!) when you find yourself experiencing Australian food culture!

I asked trusted travel blogger, Deanelle, who visited Australia recently to give me the lowdown about the common food in Australia and what would best describe as authentic Australian food. She was happy to help me with an easy checklist of popular Australian food that is easy to follow once you are in Australia.

8 Things to Eat in Australia

  • Meat Pie

Yes, you heard me right. Meat Pie. Traditional Australian food. I cannot even tell you how much they love their meat pies. I was listening to the radio as my Australian friend and I were driving along the highway, and she was telling me how they don’t have a lot of crime in the country.

Then, the radio announced breaking news of a robbery that happened nearby. A 19-year-old boy robbed a gas station, stealing cigarettes and, you guessed it, meat pies. I laughed, that’s your breaking news? Stolen meat pies? Very different breaking news than what you’d find in California. But yes, meat pies are so good that people steal them. You can’t truly say you’ve tried Australian meals if you haven’t tried one of their meat pies

  • Fish n Chips

Simple yet delicious. And Australians know how to make a mean fish and chips. There is nothing more wonderful than enjoying freshly cooked fish while sitting on one of the many beautiful beaches and eating typical Australian food.

The crunchy, flaky goodness will make your taste buds explode. Now, there is an ongoing battle of who makes the best Fish n Chips, the Brits/Irish or Aussies? The answer? Both!

The Brits/Irish really focus on the chips and can make some mouthwatering fries. However, in Australia, they focus more on the fish (and to be fair, they have more availability and options when it comes to fish). So, as long as you eat near the coast, you will find some amazing fish and chips in Australia. But don’t take our word for it. Have fish and chips in the UK and Australia and decide for yourself!

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  • Crocodile

Did you just stop reading and think, wow, she’s crazy?

Well, I have this habit of trying the strangest foods when I’m traveling. But you can’t fault me for it… I just love to dive deep into a culture! Now, they don’t eat crocodile all the time in Australia; it’s actually been said that it’s only served in high-end restaurants. But that’s not completely true.

There are a few restaurants that aren’t high-end that have crocodile on the menu for those of us who are curious cheapskates. I ordered the crocodile and kangaroo kabobs (more on the kangaroo below). The crocodile meat was tender and tasty. It tasted like chicken with a very light fishy flavor. It was cooked and seasoned very well and I would definitely order it again! So if you have the chance, and you see a crocodile on the menu, go for it!

  • Kangaroo

One minute you’re petting them and the next you’re eating them?!

Needless to say, my friends weren’t too thrilled when they found out I ate kangaroo. One of the best things about traveling is experiencing the country through the local fare. So yes, I ate kangaroo. The meat was a bit rough and gamey. I personally didn’t care for it. If I had to choose, I would eat crocodile over a kangaroo. But if you’re an adventurous eater and you’re up for the challenge, then definitely order a bite of roo!

  • Lamingtons

Now, I am not a cake person, so this doesn’t appeal too much to me, but it’s a staple food of Australia. Actually, it’s the national cake in Australia. You can’t go to Australia and not try Lamingtons.

But what is a Lamington? It is a piece of butter cake or sponge cake that is cut into a cube or square. It is then covered with a layer of chocolate sauce and sprinkled with dried coconut flakes. Sometimes, they add a layer of plum or raspberry jam. Lamingtons hold a special place in the heart of Aussies, so to truly be a part of the culture, one should definitely have a Lamington or two.

In my opinion, there are better desserts out there (hello pavlova!) but be like the locals and have a Lamington at least once!

  • Tim Tams

Another Australian dessert that could qualify as the national food of Australia! I think Tim Tams are delicious. They’re made of two chocolate biscuits with a layer of creamy chocolate in the center and covered in chocolate.

Chocolate filled with chocolate coated in chocolate. What’s not to love?

Tim Tams are little bits of happiness in your mouth. The slogan for these incredible little biscuits is “Australia’s Favorite Biscuit” and indeed they are. There was a time where you could only get Tim Tams in Australia, but about ten years ago, they started exporting them to the states. Even though you can get Tim Tams in the US and Canada, please try them while in Australia. No, you won’t find them in a restaurant; go to the local grocery store and pick up a pack. It’ll be gone before you know it!

pavlova topped with mango
Pavlova made by Hungryoungwoman
  • Pavlova

Where do I start? This must have been the absolute best food in Australia I had. I had never heard of pavlova before, and when my friend’s mom served it as a dessert after lunch one day, I had no idea the amazingness that was about to hit my taste buds.

I am a marshmallow and meringue lover, which is why this cake hit my sweet spot. Pavlova is a meringue with a crispy outer layer, encasing a smooth, light marshmallow cream center. It’s often garnished with whipped cream and fruit and is so light and refreshing, making it a perfect summertime treat.

I loved this dessert so much that the first thing I did when I got home was to ask my mom to make a pavlova. If you find yourself in Australia, you can order it in a restaurant, buy it from a grocery store, or try it homemade when visiting your Aussie friends. Don’t pass up your chance to have a piece of this outstanding delight

  • Vegemite

For some reason, I always thought vegemite was sweet. To my surprise, it is actually a savory spread, made from remnants of yeast and a vegetable medley. It tastes even worse than it sounds!

So why is vegemite on the list of “popular dishes in Australia” when it tastes horrible?

Because you’re in Australia! Do as the Aussies do and try at least one bite of Vegemite! I can almost guarantee that you will not like it, but it won’t kill you to try it. Vegemite is such an iconic food of Australia and the locals love it.

Don’t do as I did and eat a spoonful of it! Try it on avocado toast or something similar to complement the flavors. Eating the thick brown yeast, and veggie spread right out of the jar was a bad call.

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So there you have it, a list of food to eat in Australia to make you feel like a true Aussie. You were probably expecting a list of the best foods in Australia, but alas, what you really needed was a list of Australia’s favorite foods.

Besides, if you want to really dive off the cultural deep end when traveling, eating what the locals eat is far better than what a tourist from America thinks is good. So go out on a limb and be a little adventurous! Even though I didn’t like everything on this list, I am still glad I tried it all because it brought me to an appreciation of experiencing the culture through Australia’s traditional food scene.

What foods have you tried that brought you to a deeper understanding of a country’s culture and lifestyle? Share your experience below! We always love good foodie stories and ideas!

About Deanelle:

Deanelle describes herself as a thrill-seeker who will chase adventure! She’s jumped out of planes and has gone volcano surfing. Her passion is to travel while experiencing food and various cultures

“I travel the world with my two best friends and we were inspired by the many adventures we’ve had to start a travel blog. It is our mission to share our experiences and show why traveling brings us to life. So many people will never step outside their comfort zone to explore what’s in front of them, and we want to show everyone just how incredible discovering the world can be!” Check them out here!

Until then, happy eating!

P.S. If you want to save and read later, here’s a pinnable version!

11 thoughts on “8 Things to Eat in Australia for First Timers

  1. I’m actually really curious about vegemite! Would love to try it but people have told me horrible things lol..

  2. Lol I LOVE vegemite and marmite! It’s so good on buttery toast. I guess it is an acquired taste, so I can understand you hating it! You know, it’s also really good in cooking (like adding some to a stew for an extra umami punch.) You might like it if you use it that way.

    Does pavlova not exist in the States? I remember Kiwi and Aussie friends arguing about which country invented it. Before that, I thought it was English!

    I grew up with meat pies in the UK, but I honestly think Kiwis and Aussies have better meat pies than us. We recently found an Aussie Meat pie shop in Whistler (up in Canada) and now I think a meat pie is perfect food for after skiing.

I'd love to know your thoughts!