How to Eat Your Way Through Oz
Hi! My name is Emily Eilertsen and I’m a student at Skidmore College. Last spring semester I studied abroad in Melbourne, Australia. I’m a big foodie, so cuisine constituted a significant part of my experience abroad. Here’s a brief report of my findings! Bon Appétit!
#1 Delve Into an Outback Burger
Though this particular burger was ordered and eaten in the Outback, this style of burger is very common in other areas of Oz as well.
Consisting of a beef patty topped with a fried egg, lettuce, tomato, beets, and cheddar cheese, the Outback Burger is an absolute must-have.
#2 Order an Aussie Iced Coffee
Unlike the American iced coffees I had grown accustomed to, Australian iced coffee is a whole lot sweeter.
Instead of adding milk to brewed coffee, they add vanilla soft serve.
These deliciously refreshing iced coffees are usually topped off with whipped cream and cinnamon, making them an awesome dessert!
#3 Try Some Crocodile
These crocodile skewers were grilled and seasoned, but there’s lots of different ways to serve up crocodile meat in Oz.
Although it is similar to chicken meat in color and consistency, “croc” has a flavor that’s completely unique.
#4 Taste a Dragonfruit
Australia’s climate, as well as its proximity to nearby tropical climates, allows Australians to easily access a huge range of exotic fruits.
In addition to Carambola (starfruit), Durian, Passionfruit, and Mangosteen, Dragonfruits are quite popular in Australia.
Dragonfruits can be peeled like an orange, and their insides can be red or white.
Regardless of their color they’re always fun to eat and incredibly juicy!
#5 Eat a Tim Tam
Tim Tams are delicious little “biscuits” that consist of two chocolate cookies, a soft chocolate central layer, and a thin milk chocolate outer coat.
As decadent as these treats sound, they can be eaten as dessert or just as a snack.
Tim Tams are a symbol of Australian food and should be tried by any traveler while passing through.
Tim Tams come in many different flavors and coatings, as depicted in the picture above. In this particular store, there was an entire aisle devoted solely to Tim Tams!
#6 Try Kangaroo
Australians tend to eat a lot of kangaroo meat.
While there are many different ways to prepare it, my first experience with it was simple but delicious: thinly sliced, smoked kangaroo meat, served with roasted veggies, pita bread, and assorted sauces for dipping.
This first encounter with “roo” meat made me realize that kangaroo is different than any meat I had ever had.
So naturally, I tried it several more times before returning home.
#7 Visit the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
Panny’s, the Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, is consistently voted as one of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions.
Aside from having a shop of prepackaged truffles and treats, they also have a café where customers can order a thick cup of hot chocolate, dense cake, decadent fondue, or a dark chocolate dipped, frozen banana.
For entertainment purposes, the factory also has shoes and even full-blown exhibits made entirely from chocolate!
#8 Explore the Night Market Scene
Australia is crawling with night markets to eat at! The city I was living in, Melbourne, had a night market every Wednesday night.
Chefs from restaurants around the area would convene in one huge lot on these nights and each offer a small selection of the entrees they typically serve.
Not only were these night markets filled with cultural foods that smelled and tasted delicious, but the food here was way less expensive than it would be had it been purchased at the restaurant.
These night markets are incredibly popular among locals and became a weekly tradition for my roommate and I as well.
#9 Try a Twisto
Twistos in Australia refer to one long, thin spiral of potato that’s been fried, skewered, and dusted in your choice of garlic or chili powder.
It’s basically like eating one massive French fry, but it’s way more fun.
My roommate and I would share a twisto sometimes when we would go grocery shopping the make the process a little more exciting.
#10 Get a Feel for Cultural Foods in the Area
Asian and Indonesian foods have a significant presence in Australian cuisine.
While traveling through northern Australia, it’s not uncommon to find lots of Pad Thai, fried rice, and fried noodle dishes like the one pictured to the right.
These dishes use a completely different seasoning palette than do many of Australia’s European-based dishes, expanding the country’s range of flavors.
#11 Try a Macaroon
Unlike American macaroons, which tend to be denser, Australian macaroons more closely approximate the European style.
These macaroons are light, fluffy, meringues whipped up from egg whites and sugar.
They come in a huge variety of flavors including chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, passionfruit, raspberry, red velvet, lemon, and even lavender!
They’re the perfect treat to accompany a cup of a coffee and a great conversation.
#12 Experience the Aussie Pie
Last but not least, all meat-lovers should make sure to try this Aussie pizza before departing. While this pie contains the basics of cheese, sauce, and veggies, it’s also topped with kangaroo, camel, and emu.
There is a high population of these three species in Australia, so locals and tourists frequently eat these meats.
Covered in such flavorful, exotic meats, this was easily the tastiest pizza I have ever encountered!
My passion for food turned out to be an awesome way to experience Australian culture. Through this exploration I learned that Australian food consists of a lot more than vegemite or meat “on the barbie.”
This positive experience reinforced my desire to eat adventurously and always be on the lookout for new foods. Whether your To-Eat list for Australia contains these 12 things or not, I would advise travelers to stay open-minded and try new things during their stay. Oz is filled with tasty foods.
Finding them just requires that you keep your eyes (and mouth) open!
Emily Eilertsen is a student at Skidmore College and studied abroad with IFSA at the University of Melbourne in Australia in Spring 2016.