Iconic Australian Foods

100 Iconic Australian Foods to Try! (PDF Checklist)

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Every country has their favourite and most popular food selection and here in Australia, we aren’t so different. In fact, we have a huge range of iconic Australian foods that we savour.

We may not be a fancy bunch, but our iconic Australian foods form a significant part of our cultural identity nonetheless. While we don’t offer ancient flavours or sophistication, we do share in a mix of native culture and add our own spin to other creations from across the world.

Of course, vegemite is always at the top of the list, but there are other foods that we feel are particularly iconic as well. Fairy Bread, Sausage Sizzles, Chip Sangas, Tim Tam Slams and Chicken Parmys, just to name a few.

Just to be clear, Aussies do not throw “shrimp on the bar-bee (BBQ).” That was just a campaign directed towards the American market – and one we’re not even that fond of! Personally, we prefer prawns – a different, yet similar species.

For many of you Australian readers, some of these items won’t seem ‘weird’ to you at all, but to the wider world, Aussies will forever remain the odd bunch from down under – and proudly so!

Here are 100 traditional Australian foods (in no particular order) that you should try at least once in your lifetime.

*Note – not all of these foods were invented in Australia, they’re just super popular or iconic with the folk here.

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Iconic Australian Foods – BREAKFAST

Vegemite on Toast

Would this even be an iconic Australian foods list if vegemite wasn’t sitting right at the top?!

Vegemite is a thick, dark brown spread which is made from a yeast extract, plus some spices and vegetable additives. The taste is salty, malty and a little bit bitter.

Vegemite on Toast
Vegemite on toast

Every kid in Australia grows up eating vegemite, it’s our number one pantry staple. And that alone is the main reason we all love it so much. God knows it’s salty as hell, so if we weren’t raised on it, we’d probably hate it too!

Despite what people from other countries may think, we don’t eat it from a jar or lay it on thick. Us Aussies all know the vegemite ‘sweet spot.’ Not too little and not too much is just right.


Bacon & Eggs

The most iconic Australian food for a hot breakfast would undoubtedly be Bacon & Eggs. It can come in many variations, from the basic bacon and eggs with tomato sauce and a few slices of toast, to the Bacon & Egg Wrap.

Bacon & Egg variations:

  • Bacon & Egg Muffins
  • Bacon & Egg Breakfast Burrito
  • Bacon & Egg Cups
  • Mini Bacon & Egg Quiches
  • Bacon & Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Bacon & Egg Breakfast Pie
Big Brekkie
Big Breakfast

Big Brekkie

A traditional Aussie breakfast, commonly consumed on a Saturday or Sunday morning, is the Big Brekkie fry up!

This breakfast will fill you up for hours whether it’s a hangover meal, a weekend treat or a relaxing brunch.

What Comes in a ‘Big Brekkie?’

  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Tomato
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Sausages
  • Hash browns
  • Baked beans
  • Toast

Smashed Avocado

Did you know that Smashed Avocado on toast originated in the Australian restaurant scene in the late 1990’s?

Since then, it’s become a regular hipster weekend brunch option, which could easily set you back $22 a pop! The whole thing has even started a political debate saying that this is the (self-imposed) reason millennials can’t afford to get into the housing market.

Smashed Avocado
Smashed Avocado on toast

There are many takes on Smashed Avocado, but here are the basics:

Step 1 – Roughly mash some avocado
Step 2 – Squeeze in some lemon juice
Step 3 – Add mint (optional)
Step 4 – Spoon onto hot toast or sourdough bread
Step 5 – Crumble some feta on top


Baked Beans on Toast

An easy, hot and filling iconic Australian food to have for breakfast is the classic Baked Beans on Toast. My favourite way to eat this is with grated cheese and pepper on top. To be honest, we even had this meal as a quick dinner on the road sometimes.

You can either butter some toast and pour the beans on top. Or you can make it sandwich-style with a toast lid on top. Alternatively you can make a Baked Beans jaffle or toasted sandwich.

Camping Food Ideas & Menu Planner →

Pancakes/ Pikelets

Although pancakes are found all over the world, they are still a popular Australian food that we especially enjoy for breakfast on a weekend. Our pancakes are slightly thicker than the American version, making them heavier once they’ve risen in the pan.

Regular Aussie pancake toppings:

  • Vegemite (no surprises there)
  • Nutella
  • Jam
  • Jam & cream
  • Maple syrup
  • Ice cream (but not usually for breakfast)

Pikelets are another name for the Aussie pancake. They’re also made from flour, eggs and milk (just like traditional pancakes), but are often eaten cold for morning tea or afternoon tea.


Scrambled Eggs on Toast

Scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast is the classic, easy comfort food and oh so filling. The trick to getting those eggs super light and fluffy is to whisk them thoroughly, which incorporates lots of little air bubbles.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs:

  1. Beat eggs until completely blended
  2. Add a dash of milk (1 tsp per egg)
  3. Preheat non-stick pan on medium-low heat with a dab of butter
  4. Pour in eggs and let them heat slightly
  5. Keep moving the eggs over the pan with an egg flipper
  6. Just as egg starts to set, add in extras as desired (herbs, shallots, cheese, ham/ bacon, pepper, feta, mushrooms, tomato etc.)
  7. Spoon onto your toast and eat

Cereals

Some people just prefer to start the day with a humble bowl of cereal. Kids in particular are happy enough to kick off with a bowl of Coco Pops or Nutri-Grain.

Australian Cereal
Popular Aussie Cereals

So, what are the popular Australian cereals gracing our pantry shelves? Some of the sugary favourites include Froot Loops, Crunchy Nut, Nutri-Grain, Cheerios and Coco Pops.

While the cereals that are marketed as being more healthy are Rice Bubbles, Sultana Bran, All Bran, Oats, Muesli and Corn Flakes among others.


Milo

One of our iconic Australian crunchy, milky drinks is Milo. It’s basically a malted barley and chocolate powder that you mix with milk (either hot or cold). There’s something so soothing about having a hot Milo on a cold, winter’s morning.

Milo

While Milo contains some vitamins and minerals (like iron and calcium), it also contains a fair bit of sugar. So, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a ‘healthy’ drink, although it’s got to be better than other flavoured milk.

Not only is Milo good for drinking you can also sprinkle the powder onto cereal, ice cream and cakes for extra added flavour.

Aus Line Break
Aus Line Break

Iconic Australian Foods – LUNCH

Devon & Tomato Sauce Sandwich

Okay, so here’s a weird Australian food for you… the Devon and Tomato Sauce Sandwich!

For those who aren’t in the know, devon is a processed meat generally sold in a roll (kinda like dog food) in the fridge section of the supermarket. You can often also find it in the deli section.

Devon & Tomato Sauce Sandwich
Devon & Tomato Sauce Sandwich

So, how does one make a Devon & Tomato Sauce Sanga?

First, liberally butter some white bread. Then slice up some of that devon roll and slap those pieces on the bread. Squeeze on your tomato sauce then finish off with another piece of bread as a lid.

Now, take a big bite and enjoy the popular taste that many Aussie kids enjoyed in the schoolyards of the 1970s and 1980s!


Vegemite Bread Roll

We’ve already mentioned Vegemite Toast for breakfast, but come lunch time, we’re often ready for another dose of Vitamin B with a Vegemite Bread Roll.

There’s nothing fancy here, just a fresh bread roll, spread with plenty of butter and just the right amount of vegemite to finish. Another lunchbox favourite!


Chip Sanga

Introducing another one of the iconic Australian foods in the form of the Chip Sanga.

Now, the Chip Sanga (aka ‘sandwich’) can come in one of two forms. The ‘Hot Chip Sanga’ or the ‘Potato Chip Sanga.’

Let me explain…

The Hot Chip Sanga is made with fresh buttered bread, layered with hot chips and topped with tomato sauce (pictured below left).

Chip Sanga (sandwich)
Hot Chip Sanga | Potato Chip Sanga

However, with the Potato Chip Sanga (pictured above right), you want to butter your bread and pile on some potato chips out of a packet. Plain or original work best, but you can go for a flavour if you like. Then put on a bread lid.

The trick with the Potato Chip Sandwich is to be plentiful with the chips, then ‘squish’ the bread lid down with your hands. Feel the satisfaction of all the chips breaking under your hand! Then pick it up and get it into your mouth.


Fish & Chips

Although Fish & Chips are another of our iconic Australian foods, they didn’t actually originate here. It seems that the fried fish idea came to us from Britain. While some prefer battered fish, others like it crumbed.

We usually order Fish & Chips from the local takeaway shop, “with chicken salt please.” Don’t be alarmed, chicken salt doesn’t actually contain chicken. It’s generally a mix of herbs and spices such as paprika, onion, citric acid, garlic, rice flour, pepper, celery seeds and ‘chicken flavour.’

Hot chips with gravy is another popular way to enjoy chips.

Fish & Chips aren’t just found in takeaway shops, but are also a standard menu item in hotels, bistros and restaurants, with a side of salad.


Meat Pie

I reckon the most iconic Australian food would have to be the Meat Pie.

The traditional Aussie Meat Pie is the perfect sized pastry to hold in your hand, which is filled with diced or minced meat and gravy.

Pies can be found in pretty well every bakery and servo (petrol station) around Australia.

Meat Pies
Meat Pies

Check out some of the most popular Aussie pies:

  • Plain Meat
  • Chicken Curry
  • Beef Curry
  • Steak & Bacon
  • Steak, Bacon & Cheese
  • Steak, Tomato & Onion
  • Pepper Steak
  • Tradie (Beef, Egg, Tomato, Onion, Cheese)
  • Chicken & Vegetable
  • Chicken & Mushroom Mornay
  • Vegetable

Pie Floaters

Those who are from Adelaide in South Australia will probably know all about the ‘Pie Floater.’

This weird Australian food is the art of submerging a Meat Pie upside down in a bowl of thick Pea Soup. Apparently, Pie Floaters were originally sold from pie carts on the streets of Adelaide. They were the late-night staple for party-goers.


Sausage Roll

A popular Aussie classic is the crunchy Sausage Roll. You’ll notice tradies and office workers alike indulging in the delicious pastry-wrapped sausage meat for lunch. You can find Sausage Rolls is cafes, bakeries, petrol stations and convenience stores.

Best topped with a squirt of tomato sauce, which is usually offered in a mini sachet or squeezy portion.


Arnott’s Saos, Saladas or Vita-Weats

A super easy and popular lunch option in Australia is the good old favourite, Arnott’s crackers. Vita-Weats, Country Cheese, Cheds, Jatz, Cruskits, Saladas and Saos are all easy to grab for lunch.

Arnott's Salada Crackers
Source: Arnott’s ‘Salada BLT’

Popular cracker toppings:

  • Cheese, tomato and pepper
  • Salmon, pesto and tomato
  • Tuna and cream cheese
  • Avocado, cheese and tomato
  • Cream cheese, hommus and spring onion
  • Avocado and ham
  • Vegemite
  • Peanut Butter

And we can’t forget about Vita-Weat worms, which are an Aussie kid’s right of passage. Spread plenty of butter and vegemite onto a Vita-Weat, then put another Vita-Weat on top and squeeze them together. Out come the worms from the tiny little holes in the crackers.

I guess you have to give it a go to know…


Roast Chicken Roll

A hot Roast Chicken Roll is another iconic Australian Food that frequents picnics, weekend sporting matches, catch-ups with family & friends, lunch boxes and summer days beside the pool.

Running into Coles or Woolies on the way to a friend’s house to grab a hot chook and some rolls is common practice. There’s always enough to feed a small football team for lunch and it’s a staple that most people will dig into.

Roast Chicken Roll
Roast chicken rolls

Burger With ‘The Lot’

A Burger With The Lot can literally be stacked high with as many toppings as you like. Traditionally an Aussie Burger With The Lot consists of a soft burger bun, beef burger patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, beetroot, egg, sauce.

Some people like to also add a slice of pineapple, but you either love it or hate it. Personally, I’m from the ‘pineapple does not belong on pizzas or burgers’ tribe.

People get pretty serious with how their burger is stacked. Indeed there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Here’s how to stack a Burger:

  1. Bottom bun
  2. Onion and then lettuce – creates a barrier from the bottom bun
  3. Pickles and tomato – need to be directly underneath the bun as they cause slipperiness
  4. Patty – helps to hold slippery pickles and tomatoes in place
  5. Cheese – directly on top of hot patty so that it will melt
  6. Condiments – add sauces and mayo on either the top bun or bottom bun. If using more than one, add one on top and one on bottom to spread out the slip ‘n’ slide

Cheese & Bacon Rolls

Cheese and Bacon Rolls are a childhood iconic Australian food across the country. They are made by sprinkling bacon and cheese bits onto a ball of dough, then baking it in the oven until the dough is golden and the cheese is melted.

Commonly found in the bakery section of the supermarket and in stand-alone bakeries.

Just like the BBQ Chook and Rolls, Cheese and Bacon Rolls are the quintessential, “I’ll grab the kids a quick lunch on the way,” option. It makes me wonder with the boom in fast food joints, if the faithful Cheese and Bacon Rolls have taken a downward turn over recent years.

Either way, my kids still love them in their lunch boxes or as an arvo snack!

Cheese & Bacon Rolls, Cheese & Vegemite Scrolls
Cheese & Bacon Rolls | Cheese & Vegemite Scrolls

Cheese & Vegemite Scrolls

Another great Australian lunchbox food is the Cheese & Vegemite Scroll. They’re super easy to make yourself using puff pastry or a homemade dough. If you’re short on time, or just not that into cooking, you can buy them ready-made from bakeries and supermarkets.

Make your own cheese & vegemite scrolls:

  1. Preheat oven to 220ºC. Line baking trays with baking paper
  2. Lay out some sheets of puff pastry, spread with vegemite, then sprinkle grated cheese over top
  3. Roll up each topped pastry sheet into logs, then cut each log into 12 pieces
  4. Brush scroll tops with beaten egg
  5. Place scrolls, cut side up, onto tray (allow space for spreading)
  6. Bake 15 – 20 mins
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Iconic Australian Foods – CHECKLIST

Iconic Aussie Foods Checklist
  • 9 pages
  • 100 foods to try
  • Checkboxes to tick off
  • Notes sections to record experiences
  • PRINTABLE & DIGITAL
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Iconic Australian Foods – SNACKS

Chiko Roll

The Chiko Roll is an Aussie savoury one-handed snack, designed to be enjoyed at sporting games, festivals and while driving. It was initially sold as a ‘chicken roll,’ even though it doesn’t actually contain a scrap of chicken!

Chiko Roll
Source: Wikipedia ‘Chiko Roll’

This variation of the Chinese Spring Roll is larger and primarily filled with cabbage, barley, carrot, green beans, beef, wheat cereal, celery and onion. The outer, crispy layer is made of an egg and flour pastry.

You can find Chiko Rolls at servos, take away shops or frozen in the supermarket (to be heated at home).


Watermelon

Digging into a big, juicy piece of watermelon on a hot, summers day is an iconically Aussie past time.

Although Watermelon is not endemic to Australia, we do grow them in every state and territory. Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales are the major producers.

Chinchilla in Queensland is known as the ‘Melon Capital’ of Australia, which also houses the ‘BIG Watermelon’ sculpture.

600+ BIG Things of Australia →

Over 15,000 people travel to Chinchilla every second year to experience Melonfest, a huge watermelon festival!

You can have a go at some melon-inspired games like Melon Dash for Cash, Melon Skiing, Melon Pip Spitting and Melon Chariot Race. Go for a Melon Farm Tour, witness the Big Melon Weigh-in (current record sits at 87.5kg) and check out the markets, concerts, movies, poetry and more.

Fun Fact: Did you know that watermelons are in fact a vegetable, not a fruit?

Watermelon & Mangos
Watermelon | Mangos

Mangos

Queensland really has it going on with the Aussie fruit. Up north is the famous Bowen Mango, which we even found for sale at a roadside stall in Townsville (200 km north of Bowen).

There aren’t a lot of foods that conjure that summer feeling quite like the fragrance of a tropical Mango being cut open. When you slice off the two sides, dice and invert the Mango cheek, then suck on the big seed from the middle… you know the Australian summer has arrived.


Dagwood Dog/ Pluto Pup

One of the most iconic Australian foods found at festivals and Royal Shows is the Dagwood Dog. Think of a hotdog on a stick that’s dipped in batter, then deep-fried in oil. The final ingredient is of course a dipping of tomato sauce.

Dagwood Dog
Source: Keiths Foods ‘Dagwood Dog’

Queenslanders fondly call this creation a Dagwood Dog, while in other states they are known as Pluto Pups or Dippy Dogs.

We’d like to think we came up with the Dagwood Dog, but really, it’s just a take on the American Corn Dog.


Twisties & Cheezels

Twisties are a cheesy, curly chip made from corn and rice, that will make your mouth water for more! Originally there were just the cheese flavoured Twisties… and then they introduced Chicken Twisties. While original is best, we still accept the chicken.

Twisties & Cheezles
Twisties | Cheezles

Cheezels are corn-based, ring-shaped cheesy snacks, with finger-sized holes. Are you even Australian if you don’t open that packet up, put a Cheezel on each finger like rings, and then eat them off, one by one? Don’t forget to finish off by licking all of the orange flavouring off your fingers at the end.

Both highly processed and equally as addictive.


Potato Scallops

Potato Scallops are thinly sliced potato pieces that have been dipped in batter and then deep fried.

You can eat them by themselves with a shaking of salt (chicken salt is a hot favourite) or dipped in some tartare sauce. Commonly found in take-away shops across the country and often ordered as a side to Fish & Chips.

Satisfyingly delicious, but ridiculously bad for you.

Potato Scallops & Salt and Pepper Calamari
Potato Scallop | Salt & Pepper Calamari

Salt & Pepper Calamari

Although Salt & Pepper Calamari is a Chinese-based dish, it’s super popular here in Australia. Made by dipping calamari pieces (or sometimes squid) into a salt and pepper batter, then deep fried.

Salt & Pepper Calamari is often found in pubs and bistros as well as high-end restaurants as an appetiser or snack. Best served with aioli.

Dim Sims

Dim Sims (aka “dimmies”), an iconic Australian food that’s a completely international creation. They’re based on the Chinese dumpling, with meat and vegetables inside a purse of dough and then steamed or deep fried.

Not only can you get them in the Aussie Chinese restaurants, but they’re very popular from take-away shops and service stations as a quick snack.

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Iconic Australian Foods – MEALS & DISHES

Chicken Parmi

Ahhh the Chicken Parmi (or “parma”), the great Australian classic. A crumbed chicken breast fillet topped with tomato sauce, bacon and cheese, served with a side of chips and salad.

Although originating in it’s eggplant form from Italy, somewhere along the line it’s ended up as chicken. Ordering a Chicken Parmigiana at the pub is a true Aussie tradition, which must be experienced at least once by every traveller to Australia!

Chicken Parmi & Chicken Schnitzel
Chicken Parmi | Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken Schnitzel

Equally as iconic as the Parmi is the Chicken Schnitzel. Originating from Germany, this Australian pub staple is a simple meal. Crumbed chicken breast, which is fried in a pan and served with either chips and salad or vegetables (your choice).

As well as being one of the most popular dishes for eating out, it’s also a really simple dinner that can be made at home. And yep, Chicken Schnitzels taste that good that even the kids will dig into it!


Barramundi

One of the most popular fish to eat in Australia is “Barra” or Barramundi. This fish is natively found in the northern waters of Australia and going up to southeast Asia.

It’s a fatty white fish, with a mild flavour, making it a good choice for those who are fussy or not huge seafood eaters. Apparently due to it’s fatty nature, Barramundi is almost impossible to overcook – sounds good to me!

Barramundi can be steamed, fried, baked or grilled. It’s very versatile and can be served with a range of different sides, such as salad, rice, pasta or vegetables.

Barramundi & Prawns
Barramundi | Prawns

Prawns

Prawns are a crustacean that resemble a large shrimp… but they aren’t shrimp that we throw on the barbie. It’s funny how successful a marketing campaign can be at creating a culture that doesn’t exist.

Anywho, traditionally Prawns are a delicacy that are served at Christmas time (or on other holidays). We generally buy them pre-cooked and just need to peel them.

Typically, a bowl of prawns will be set out in the middle of the table for everyone to help themselves. You peel them as you’re eating them and a bowl of water is provided for washing your fingers as you go. Best served cold and accompanied with a seafood sauce.

Despite the ad that we all love to hate, Aussies do actually like prawns on the BBQ, we just don’t call them shrimp. An easy way to cook them is to thread the prawns onto skewers and marinate in a garlic butter or creamy sauce, then cook them up.


Lamb

We have three popular ways to eat the iconic Australian food we call Lamb – Lamb Roast, Lamb Chops and Lamb Cutlets.

Lamb Roast is a typical family meal growing up in Australia and Lamb Chops or Lamb Cutlets with veggies is a household staple for many.

Most Australian’s will know all about the cringeworthy advertisement featuring Sam Kekovich (former Aussie Rules footballer) condemning people who don’t eat Lamb as ‘unAustralian.’ It hit the airwaves back in 2005 leading up to Australia Day and has surprisingly helped to get Lamb back onto the menu, year after year.

Lamb & Rissoles
Lamb | Rissoles

Rissoles

Some say that the modest Rissole is really Australia’s national dish. The Rissole has roots grown from our early bush pioneer days, where the beef was able to be rationed and filled out with extra, more readily available fillings.

Rissoles are so versatile and lend themselves to such an array of flavours and ingredients that anyone from any culture is free to add their own touch without tarnishing the name of the humble Rissole.

The basics of a Rissole include minced meat, onion, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, mixed herbs and various sauces (BBQ, tomato, worcestershire, oyster etc.).

What to serve with rissoles:

  • Gravy and mashed potatoes
  • Mixed veggies
  • On a bread roll with salad and mayonnaise/ aioli
  • Rice and stir-fry veggies with oyster sauce
  • Wraps with cheese, tomato and lettuce
  • Stroganoff sauce with noodles/ rice
  • Sweet potato fries and salad

BBQ

There’s nothing more iconically Australian than having a BBQ. It’s our go-to cook-up option for having get togethers with friends and family or even a lazy Sunday arvo at home.

We live in a country where the sun shines bright and we do so much of our living outdoors – so it just makes sense to cook outside as well.

But the act of putting on a ‘barbie’ is more than just cooking up some food, it’s a favourite cultural past time. Whether you’re a tradie, office worker, doctor or checkout operator, the humble BBQ is shared and loved by all. It has a way of bringing people together for a good time.

Living in a caravan for four years with no oven, I’ve learnt to cook everything in my Weber BBQ! I’d never had to personally cook on a barbeque before then, but now I’m fully converted onto BBQ cooking.

BBQARM Notch Point, QLD
Caravan Swing-away BBQARM →

Spag Bol

Another of our popular Aussie dishes is ‘Spag Bol,’ which is short for Spaghetti Bolognese. Although this meal was by no means created in Australia, it’s our take on the Italian staple which makes it a national dish.

Our version uses Australian beef mince instead of traditional Italian meatballs. It’s the addition of mushrooms, onion and herbs & spices that makes it uniquely Australian. We tend to favour more meat than traditional spaghetti bolognese, which focuses more on the sauce.

Spag Bol and Bangers & Mash
Spag Bol | Bangers & Mash

Bangers & Mash

Some of the simplest meals are the best and Bangers & Mash is a shining example of that. It really is just mashed potato with sausages on top and a pouring of gravy.

It’s super easy to spice up the Bangers & Mash with onions, peas, corn and so on. It’s really up to your imagination.


Beetroot on your Burger

The ultimate Aussie Burger must have slices of tinned beetroot on it!

While some consider beetroot on a burger to be absolutely obligatory, others consider it a mockery. Actually it can become quite a heated topic for Aussie’s, but be aware that if you order a burger in Australia, it’s quite likely to be beetroot stained.

Beetroot & Pineapple
Beetroot | Pineapple

Pineapple on Pizzas & Burgers

Another controversial burger and pizza ingredient is in fact a fruit – the tropical pineapple. However, the combination of sweet and savoury is not one that’s welcomed by all. You either love it or hate it!

An iconic Australian food is the ‘Hawaiian Pizza.’ The key ingredients are cheese, bacon and pineapple. It’s really basic but is loved by kids all over the nation and it’s totally acceptable for the non-pineapple pizza eaters to pull off the pineapple.

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Iconic Australian Foods – SWEETS & DESSERTS

Golden Gaytime

One of the most iconic Australian ice-creams is the Golden Gaytime. The ice-cream inside is vanilla and toffee flavoured, while the outside is dipped in chocolate and covered in biscuit pieces.

What’s with the name? It stems from the 1980’s when the term ‘gay’ generally meant ‘happy.’ The slogan “It’s hard to have a gay time on your own,” was a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Golden Gaytime & Bubble O'Bill
Golden Gaytime | Bubble O’Bill

Bubble O’Bill

Every Aussie child has experienced a Bubble O’Bill at least once in their life. This creamy strawberry, caramel and chocolate ice-cream on a stick is finished off with a big piece of bubble gum for a nose and a bullet hole through his hat.


Tim Tams

The most iconic Australian biscuit to have with a “cuppa” (cup of tea or coffee) is the Tim Tam.

We all know the advertisements that were released in the 1990’s, with the genie and the ‘never-ending pack of Tim Tams.’ In fact, the saying has become so iconic that it’s actually become a colloquial analogy. Such as, “the washing pile is like a never-ending pack of Tim Tams!”

Tim Tam Slam
Source: Atlas Obscura ‘Tim Tam Slam’

Another unusual way to enjoy these chocolate-covered cream-filled biscuits is by partaking in the Tim Tam Slam. You’ll need a Tim Tam and a hot drink.

Tim Tam Slam:

  1. Hold the biscuit between your thumb and index finger
  2. Take a small bite out of one corner of the biscuit (just big enough to expose the wafers and cream filling)
  3. Repeat with the opposite corner
  4. Hold the biscuit on one of the unbitten corners
  5. Using the Tim Tam like a straw, suck the hot tea or coffee through the biscuit (you’ll need to suck pretty hard)
  6. Once that hot liquid touches your lips, stop sucking and slam that soggy biscuit into your mouth!

Anzac Biscuits

One of the most iconic Australian foods is the Anzac Biscuit, made from rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda, coconut and boiling water.

The biscuits have always been connected with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). It is said that the wives and mothers wanted to be able to send something over to their loved ones who were serving in the war, so they needed to make something that didn’t spoil easily during the journey.

Originally they were made to be chewy and sent over in Billy Tea tins, so that they’d be crunchy by the time they arrived. To cook your Anzac Biscuits to perfection, they should be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Anzac Biscuits & Pavlova
Anzac Biscuits | Pavlova

Pavlova

The meringue-based Pavlova is another of our national iconic Australian foods, which is usually served on special occasions and holidays, especially Christmas. It consists of a crisp crust, with a soft, light filling, then topped with whipped cream and fruit.

It was named in honour of a Russian ballerina, Ana Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920’s.


Arnott’s Biscuits

Arnott’s Biscuits have been around since 1865 when William Arnott, a Scottish immigrant opened a factory in Newcastle, NSW. Although he was originally lured to the goldfields with the hope of striking it rich, it wasn’t long before he fell back on his passion for baking bread and pies.

The famous macaw image, which still marks Arnott’s today, was drawn by William’s daughter-in-law after he was gifted the parrot on the return home from visiting Scotland.

Arnott's Biscuits
Source: Aussie Gossip ‘Arnott’s Biscuits’

Popular Arnott’s Biscuits:

  • Iced VoVo
  • Milk Arrowroots
  • Nice
  • Tim Tams
  • Scotch Finger
  • Arnott’s Assorted
  • Tiny Teddies
  • Mint Slice
  • Orange Slice
  • Milk Coffee
  • Shortbread Cream
  • Monte Carlo
  • Kingston

Caramel Slice

You’ll find Caramel Slice in Bakeries all over the country. The recipe was first released in the Australian Women’s Weekly magazine in the 1970’s, which put it on the list as an easy desert staple.

Caramel Slice is very easy to make by creating a base of dense biscuit, a thick layer of caramel, topped with a coat of chocolate. It’s a very sweet, rich and chewy slice.

Caramel Slice & Lamington
Caramel Slice | Lamington

Lamingtons

Without a doubt, Lamingtons are one of the most iconic Australian foods. They are made from squares of a sponge cake or butter cake, which is then coated in chocolate sauce and rolled in desiccated coconut.

It seems they were invented around early 1900 by the chef of Queensland’s eighth governor, Lord Lamington, to feed unexpected visitors. The recipe also first appeared in the Queensland Country Life newspaper, which made the cakes largely popular.


Neenish Tart

There’s a tale that there once was a woman named Ruby Neenish who lived in Grong Grong, NSW. In 1913, Ruby was baking for a shower tea, but she had run out of cocoa. Being spontaneous, she iced her tarts with half chocolate and half white icing. From that day forward they became known as ‘Neenish Tarts.’

But the jury is still out on the true origins of the Neenish Tart. It seems that this tale was a bit of a joke that was put to a local journalist and has taken off with the power of Chinese whispers.

Either way, they still claim a place on many iconic Australian food lists and can be found in many bakeries Australia-wide to this day.

Neenish Tart & Iced Finger Buns
Neenish Tarts | Iced Finger Buns

Finger Buns

The delicious Iced Finger Buns were widely popular in the 1990s and 2000s. We’d come home from school with a pack of the sweet bread treats waiting for us on the kitchen bench occasionally. Or you’d show up with some bakery-fresh Finger Buns for morning tea when visiting a friend for a cuppa.

A long bread bun covered in pink icing and topped with ether sprinkles or desiccated coconut. Finger Buns are found in stand-alone bakeries as well as supermarket bakeries.


Hot Jam Donuts

A simple food van at the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne has put the best Hot Jam Donuts on the map. Ironically, the food van, that’s been running since the 1950s, is named American Doughnut Kitchen. But, American donuts are filled with ‘jelly,’ rather than ‘jam.’

Hot Jam Donut
Source: Nosey Chef ‘Hot Jam Donut’

The yeasted dough, that’s been proved twice, makes up the donut, which is then filled with a red jam. The donut goes into the fryer, which comes out crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with a coating of sugar. Best enjoyed hot – perfect on a cold Melburnian day!

But, you don’t have to go all the way down to Melbourne to get your hands on a Jam Donut. You’ll find them widely available in bakeries across the country.

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Iconic Australian Foods – CONFECTIONARY

Australia actually fares very well with our share of tasty sweets that we add to the worldwide candy stash. Some items are just so tasty and popular (Musk Sticks, Freddo Frogs), while others are just plain weird (Chico Babies and Fads).

Here are just some of our iconic Australian lollies and chocolates. There are plenty more that we could easily add to the list.

Iconic Australian Lollies
Iconic Australian Lollies

Iconic Aussie LOLLIES:

  1. Musk Sticks
  2. Fantales
  3. Minties
  4. Redskins & Milkos
  5. Life Savers
  6. Chicos
  7. Fads
  8. Frogs
  9. Jaffas
  10. Wizz Fizz
  11. Snakes & Killer Pythons
  12. Bananas

Iconic Australian Chocolates
Iconic Australian Chocolates

Iconic Aussie CHOCOLATES:

  1. Freddo Frogs
  2. Caramello Koalas
  3. Chocolate Bullets
  4. Cherry Ripe
  5. Crunchie
  6. Dairy Milk Snack
  7. Chomp
  8. Violet Crumble
  9. Mint Pattie
  10. Golden Rough
  11. Freckles
  12. Clinkers
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Iconic Australian Foods – PARTY FOODS

It goes without saying that Aussies like a good backyard shindig. We often show up with an esky of cold drinks in one hand, and a plate of food to share in the other.

Since our climate favours outdoor living, it’s pretty normal to expect the BBQ to be fired up at an Aussie party. Along with that, there are always plenty of offerings on the table for all to enjoy.

Below is a list of iconic Australian party food that most of us have been enjoying since our own childhood and continue to share.

Iconic Aussie PARTY FOOD:

  1. Chocolate Crackles – chocolate flavoured copha melted over a mini cup of rice bubbles
  2. Party Pies & Sausage Rolls – snack-sized pies and sausage rolls
  3. Cupcakes – mini cakes in little paper cups
  4. Sausage Sizzle – sausage served on a slice of bread with onion & sauce. (A.k.a. “Bunnings special”)
  5. Chicken Kebabs – diced chicken pieces threaded onto wooden skewers, marinated, then BBQ’d
  6. Cob Loaf – cob loaf bread gutted & filled with french onion dip. Use the bread bits to dunk into the dip
  7. Fairy Bread – white bread buttered & covered with hundreds and thousands (sprinkles)
  8. Frog in a Pond – jelly cups with a freddo frog stuck in the middle
  9. Hot Dogs in Pyjamas – cocktail frankfurts wrapped in bacon & pastry
  10. Chocolate Spiders – chocolate & peanut butter coated noodles (dry, uncooked) in mini cups
  11. Honey Joys – Honey, butter & sugar-coated cornflakes in a mini cup
  12. Frankfurts/ Cheerios – thin, red, parboiled sausages made of pork
  13. Stickjaw Toffees– mini toffee cups with sprinkles on top
  14. Watermelon – big red fruit with green skin, usually cut into triangles
  15. Meat & Cheese Platter – selection of sliced deli meat (ham, salami, kabana), cheese cubes and soft cheeses with crackers
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Iconic Australian Foods – BUSH TUCKER

I couldn’t put together a list of weird or iconic Australian foods without serving up some bush tucker. Keep in mind that there are some foods on this list below that many Aussies have never even tried and there are loads more that could be added!

Let’s get into it.

Witchetty Grub

Also spelt ‘witchety grub’ or ‘witjuti grub.’

The Witchetty Grub is the white wood-eating larvae of a few different species of moths and are a high form of protein. They can be eaten raw, tasting something like almonds. You can also lightly cook Witchetty Grubs in hot ashes. This gives the outside a crisp, roast chicken feel, while the inside turns light yellow like a fried egg.

Witchetty Grub
Source: Bindi Vanzella on Twitter ‘Witchetty Grubs’
WITCHETTY GRUB
FoundDeserts of Outback Australia. Dug out of the roots & trunks of gum trees in summer
BenefitsGood source of proteins, vitamins & nutrients
TasteLike almonds when raw. Similar to prawns or chicken when cooked

Kangaroo

As kangaroo meat is super lean (only containing 2% fat) and high in protein, it is being adopted by fitness conscious people who want to reduce calories and build muscle.

Have you heard of ‘kangatarianism?’ There’s a whole cohort of people who have cut meat out of their diets except for kangaroo, based on environmental and ethical grounds.

You see, kangaroos live freely in the wild, requiring no extra land, water or resources. Kangaroos live out their natural lives, eat organic food and are then killed humanely. Plus, we have such an abundance of them, they are often culled anyway. Makes sense to me.

Kangaroo
Kangaroo
KANGAROO MEAT
FoundHarvested from the wild, found Australia-wide in butchers & supermarkets
Benefits• High in protein, iron & zinc
• Low in fat
TasteLike a lean beef, but with a stronger flavour

Emu

The Emu is a large, flightless bird native to Australia, which roams freely across the land.

You can’t expect to yield a huge amount of meat from an Emu, you’ll get around 14kg per bird. And some of that will end up being pet meat. But the meat itself if extremely low in cholesterol and having over double the iron content of beef, making it a very healthy option.

One Emu egg is the equivalent of ten to twelve chicken eggs, weighing up to 680 grams. Wouldn’t that make a good family-sized omelette! But, keep in mind that a dozen chicken eggs will cost from $4 – $7, while one Emu egg will set you back around $15.

Back in the 1990’s, Emu meat was set to be the next red meat in America, due to it’s health benefits and eco-friendliness. But that never ended up coming about due to the stigma around the meat, plus lack of farmers and processing facilities.

Emu
Emus
EMU MEAT
FoundAustralia-wide in various butchers
Benefits• High in vitamin C & iron
• Low in cholesterol, very lean
TasteSimilar to lean beef

Crocodile

Crocodile is a white meat, which is cooked in a similar fashion to lean pork or chicken. Be aware though that overcooking crocodile will make it a bit tough.

Eating crocodile meat is considered more high-end in the southern states of Australia where crocs are not natively found (it’s too cold down there). Up north where crocs are very common, you’ll find the meat more readily available and at a cheaper price.

When people compare crocodile meat to other meats, it’s often described as being like a tender piece of chicken breast. The tail meat is very popular.

Crocodile
Crocodile
CROCODILE MEAT
FoundFarmed in Australia, sold in butchers & some supermarkets around the country
Benefits• High in protein
• Low in fat & cholesterol
TasteSweet tasting with soft texture, similar to chicken

Goanna

Goanna meat was considered a staple food for Aboriginals, cooking the monitor over hot coals. Apparently it’s better than Emu and Kangaroo! It is a white meat, which is compared to chicken (with hints of pork) in it’s taste, with an oily texture.

Note: Goanna is a protected species which can only be killed by indigenous Australians using traditional methods – for consumption only, not for sale.

Goanna
Goanna
GOANNA MEAT
FoundProtected species, not for sale
BenefitsHigh in protein
TasteSimilar to chicken

Mud Mussels

For a real bush tucker experience, go on a tour with someone experienced in the arts and forage for some Mud Mussels. They’re found imbedded in the mud flats of mangrove areas from the Kimberley in Western Australia, right across the top and down the East Coast to Brisbane.

The best way to find them is to squish your hands or feet down in the mud to feel them out. Enjoy them steamed or smoked over the fire, which helps to disguise any muddiness in the flavour.

Mud Mussels
Mud Mussels
MUD MUSCLES
FoundMangrove mudflats, across top of Australia & down Queensland East Coast
BenefitsSource of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc & folate
TasteA muddy “ocean” flavour with undertones of mushroom

Damper/ Bush Bread

Also known as Bush Bread or Seedcake. I’m not talking about the European damper here, but the bread made by Aboriginals for thousands of years.

Bread-making was very labour intensive and was usually carried out by a few woman together. The seeds, grains, legumes, roots and nuts were ground down into a flour. Then water was added to make a dough, which was baked over a fire.

These days the ground seeds have been replaced with a standard white flour to make the process easier.

Modern-day damper (using store-bought flour) is often enjoyed around a campfire by many Australians. Best enjoyed with butter, jam, cream, honey, syrup or vegemite.

Damper
Damper
DAMPER
FoundDIY or on Bush Tucker tours and experiences
Benefits• High in protein & carbohydrates
• Various vitamins & minerals depending on which seeds etc. were used
TasteProbably bland compared to the tastes we’re accustomed to with fats & sugars

Wattleseed

Wattleseed was one of the potential ingredients in Bush Bread, if it was available. These days you’ll find Wattleseed readily available online in a powder form after it’s been dried and roasted.

It can be mixed with coffee to add extra taste and is also often used as a flavour addition for desserts and sweets. In additional to sweets, it can be used for baking, as well as a thickening agent in casseroles and sauces.

The flowers (with the stalks removed) can be used when cooking pancakes, scones and scrambled eggs.

Wattleseed
Source: Enchanted Tastes ‘Wattleseed’
WATTLESEED
FoundOnline through herb and organic stores
BenefitsContains potassium, calcium, iron & zinc. Rich in protein
TasteNutty, mild coffe flavour

Lilly Pilly

The Lilly Pilly is an evergreen rainforest plant with glossy green leaves. In spring to early summer you can spot the red, purple and whitish berries coming out.

Their fruit matures from December to February, becoming a pear shaped red berry, which is known as a ‘Riberry.’

The most common use for the fruit is in jams, sauces, syrups, confectionary and in salads.

Lilly Pilly
Source: Lilly Pilly Info ‘Lilly Pilly’
LILLY PILLY
FoundOften grown in people’s yards for their beauty
BenefitsVitamin C. Known as “medicine berries” to prevent colds & infections
TasteHint of clove and Granny Smith apple. Inside is like apple pie filling

Quandong

Also known as “Wild Peach.”

The Quandong is an extremely versatile native fruit, which is part of the Sandalwood family. It can be found growing in arid and semi-arid areas around Australia, making it very drought-tolerant.

This unique fruit has a delicious sweet and tangy flavour, which is full of Vitamin C. You’ll find it used as a pie filling or in tarts.

The seeds are often used in essential oils and the kernel inside the seed can be used as a paste to help cure a toothache or sore gum.

Quandong
Quandong
QUANDONG
FoundArid & semi-arid areas, particularly in far west New South Wales
BenefitsVitamin C
TasteSweet & tangy

Lemon Myrtle

For the last iconic Australian food on our bush tucker list is the well-known Lemon Myrtle. It’s long been used as a remedy for coughs and colds, as a food flavouring and as an essential oil.

Aboriginals would soak the leaves in water and then put them over a fire, so they could inhale the vapour from the leaves as a remedy.

Lemon Myrtle oil was used by a soft drink company to flavour drinks back in World War II and by the 1990’s it was becoming a popular herb in the food and restaurant industry.

Lemon Myrtle
Source: Feed Your Inner Cook ‘Lemon Myrtle’
LEMON MYRTLE
FoundSubtropical rainforests of Central & South-Eastern Queensland
BenefitsVery high source of citral, calcium, lutein, antioxidants, folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, zinc & magnesium
TasteLemon & menthol flavour
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WEIRD AUSSIE FOOD COMBINATIONS

Just to round off this comprehensive list of iconic Australian foods, I thought I’d throw in some weird Aussie food combinations. We’re an odd bunch, that’s for sure!

  • Avocado & vegemite on toast
  • Vegemite & cream cheese on toast
  • Vegemite, cheese and egg on toast
  • Milo on ice cream or weet-bix
  • Vegemite on steak (while it’s cooking)
  • Tomato sauce… on everything!
  • Butter on milk arrowroot biscuits
  • Meat pie with mashed potato and mashed peas
  • Peanut butter and apple
  • Apple and cheese

100 Iconic Aussie Foods Checklist

Now it’s over to you to see how many iconic Aussie foods you can tick off the list!

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11 thoughts on “100 Iconic Australian Foods to Try! (PDF Checklist)”

  1. Can you actually get fat just reading a post on the internet because I think I gained weight while drooling over most of these iconic Australian foods!
    Of course on our Australian Food bucket list is a true Vegemite on toast and perhaps a Kangaroo steak or burger. But what really intrigued me was all the bizarre Bushtucker foods! I mean I would probably eat anything once (even the grubs) but I always find it funny and interesting to see what native people ate to survive. Like I think it would be awesome to try Goanna meat!

    1. Haha thank god you can’t put on weight from reading food posts! I’d be keen to give Goanna a go as well, but obviously we can’t all go out and do that for conservation reasons. I’m yet to try Kangaroo, but I’m keen.

  2. What an extensive list you have here 🙂 I have never heard of beet root in a burger and some of the other dishes on here. There are some that I have heard of like the vegemite and in high school, an Australian exchange student brought it to our class to share…only one student tried it, lol.

    1. Haha I’m not surprised to hear that most kids in your class didn’t want to try the vegemite. Beetroot on a burger is great, you should try it.

  3. I feel lost in this long list of food! Good you put Witchetty Grub in the end, I lost all the appetite I built up scrolling through the post in the end. I hope somebody will get me a tin of Arnotts Biscuits some day!

    1. That’s a good point with the Witchetty Grub at the end. I hope you get a tin of Arnott’s Biscuits someday as well, you’re in for a treat.

  4. That is a long list of iconic Australian foods. I was happy to see most of the foods are things we get at home – if maybe prepared a little differently some times. I must admit I never did develop a taste for Vegemite when we visited. Although I have found good Australian meat pies here at home! I was sure hungry after reading this post.

  5. I’m all about avocado toast with a poached egg! Didn’t realize that many of these are iconic Australian food! There are so many fruits that I’ve not heard of or tried that I’m curious about.

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