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While recently attending a Tourism Australia event, it dawned on me that I don’t know what Australian food is. This bothered me immensely, as I associate each destination on my bucket list with all the foods I will eat when I get there. I dream about the noodle shops in Japan, the gravlax in Scandinavia, and the day I will taste pho in Vietnam. Sure, I licked some vegemite (an acquired taste I have not acquired) back in culinary school, and a friend once gave me Tim Tams (which I couldn’t eat because of the food coloring). Some close friends once smuggled back some conch for me (amazing!), and of course I’ve had Australian wines, yet I still couldn’t put boundaries around the cuisine. What is Australian food? I was ready to find out…

What is Australian Food?


Chef Michael Moore gave a rather beautiful description, and I’m paraphrasing here: Australian food is an attitude, a state of mind, a connection to farmers, and sophistication. He described Australians’ appreciation for the beauty of nature and the outdoors, saying the setting is as important as the food. The awareness of and relationship to the growers and cultivators seemed to permeate the low and high end of the spectrum. And, despite the availability of some of the best lamb and seafood the world has to offer, I pictured a calm and casual experience. Hmm… I could do with caviar and oysters on the beach.


Being geographically challenged, I didn’t realize Australia was roughly the size of the US and, like the US, the food differs in different areas and there are a lot of varying influences. At the Sunburnt Calf (where the event was held), we were served pork buns that seemed Asian-inspired, a vegetable tagine with Middle Eastern flair, and barbequed Barramundi with sea scallops (pictured above) that could easily have been called New American.

Vegetable Tagine with Cous Cous Australian Lamb Chops

It seems that Australian food cannot be characterized by a set of spices, common methods of cooking, or a few popular dishes. It really begs a trip there to immerse yourself in the experience. You might not come away with a tangible definition of Australian food, but, even better, you’ll feel it.


For more impressions of Australia, check out some of the other bloggers in attendance: A Boomer’s Life After 50, Appetite for China, cHow Divine, David Leite’s Culinaria, Eats Well With Others, Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Keep It Sweet, Ok, Dani, Poet in the Pantry, Running to the Kitchen, Sarah’s Cucina Bella, Skinny Taste, Sweets By Sillianah, The Baker Chick , The Dusty Baker, and Used York City, Wandering Foodie


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posted by jessica at 02:47 PM Filed under Events, Travel. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.