25
Feb-2012

Australian food and booze

Australia, Food   /  
  • Pies

  • Pavlova

  • Banana cake

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If you were hoping to taste some unique food in Australia , I have a bad news : you will have to change the destination. There are not many Australian specialties, and I swear it is not because I haven’t  investigated :-)

RESTAURANTS in Australia

Fortunately, to compensate, you can find a large number of Asian restaurants, ranging from Thai, Chinese, Japanese or Indian. And given the number of expatriates from these countries, it is a sign of quality! Fill up on sushi, they are very cheap and can be found everywhere, especially in the form of “sushi rolls” for the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 euros!

You will also find Italian, Mexican, Lebanese restaurants, and so on. Don’t eat pizzas there, they are extremely expensive and are much worse than in Europe (minimum 18 euros for the most basic pizza in small format) ! All dishes in most Western restaurants are gonna make you broke, and it’s the same in supermarkets for French or Mediterranean products. Risotto in Sydney can easily cost you 25 euros and you’ll pay 10 euros for a block of cheese from the supermarket (thankfully, there also is Aldi and I advise you to quickly locate one of them near the place you stay if you want to eat cheap).

If you are looking for a fast food, then you’ll find everything you want: McDonalds, Subway, KFC… Try the Hungry Jack, the Australian equivalent of Burger King, the Krispy Kreme where donuts are delicious, and the chicken at Nandos .

Australian typical Food

Here is a list  limited but almost exhaustive Australian specialties :

  • the Vegemite : a very salted dark brown spread made with brewer’s yeast.  If the Australians and Kiwis love it, they are the only ones in the world. According to the Australian columnist Anna Brain, “the Vegemite is a national disgrace that must remain secret and not seek to export”.
  • the Pies stuffed with meat, often served with a scoop of mashed potatoes and “tomato sauce“, the name they give to the ketchup. It’s good but not cheap! There are two major brands that I recommend : the Pie Face, which are as many as McDonald’s, with smileys drawn on the pies and the famous Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, a mobile restaurant but which has moved only five times and has became an institution in Sydney, where it has seven restaurants.
  • Kangaroo steak, that you eat grilled on BBQ, because Australians love “barbie” as they call them. You will find BBQ everywhere, especially near the beaches or parks.
  • the Pavlova, a desert made of cream, meringue and fruit that is absolutely to die for!
  • the Beef & Reef, also known as Surf & turf : a very expensive dish which is actually a steak with fish on top.
  • Banana Bread, a pretty good cake made of banana found in most cafes.

ALCOHOL/Booze in Australia

Regarding alcoholic beverages, it is still bad news… Beer is paid between 5 and 8 euros, and even in stores, the cheapest pack of 24 beers is 30 euros. So, you ‘ll soon have to get used to the Goon, a derogatory term for what turns out to be cheap wine served in boxes... an institution among backpackers and students who continue to drink it despite the disgust they feel for it.

Note that the price of beer is not stopping Australians to drink it (maybe because they have never known the beer at 1.80 euro) as Australia turns out to be the fourth largest consumer of beer, with an average of 108 liters per person per year (they are worse than Belgian since we are in 8th).

A question ? Other tips to add ?

Share your experience with other backpackers to enrich this article! Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below, we will answer with pleasure!

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