Originally of course, traditional Australian fare was whatever indigenous foods were available to the Aborigines and then it with the arrival of the British; it perhaps lapsed into the traditional meat and two vegetable meals that were traditional to them. After the Second World War, with the influx of immigrants, first from northern Europe and later from the Mediterranean and Asia, what is considered traditional Australian food, once again changed as these immigrants brought with them nodiversity and tastes that up till then had been relatively unknown in Australia.
Over the years with the mixing of cultures and the blending of dishes, Australia can not be said to have only one traditional meal and has even re-vitalized old Aborigine favorites such as kangaroo and crocodile. Although it cannot be said that Australia has one traditional food, Australians have perhaps separated into two groups when it comes to their dietary preferences. There are the city dwellers and those that live in the country. In the cities and towns, especially the bigger ones, the nodiversity of the food matches the nodiversity of the cultures whilst in the countryside they are more restricted to “home grown” fare.
Although eating out in the cities of Australia may not be as inexpensive as perhaps the UK or the States, Australians living in the cities tend to eat out on average three times a week, which means that there has to be a large number of cafes and restaurants to cater to this need. This of course means that with a large number of eating establishments, there is also a wide nodiversity in choices. It would appear that Asian restaurants are becoming a popular choice among these Australians with Vietnamese, Thai, Malay and Chinese restaurants becoming among the most popular.
Although Chinese restaurants are starting to make an appearance throughout the country, there certainly is not an abundance of them at this time and so those Australians living in the countryside do not have much chance to eat out and certainly do not have many choices if they do. Traditionally in Australia, local hotels will sell meals at lunch time and the evenings but they do so between limited times and offer limited choice if any, often all hotels selling the one thing; steak, salad and chips. With such a limited choice to eat out, most Australians outside of the bigger towns cook for themselves but that has not stopped them from seeking nodiversity and they have returned to some of the traditional foods of the Aborigine.
Although there is now an abundance of better known meats available in Australia, the Aboriginal foods would consist of meat from Kangaroo, Wallaby, Emu and Crocodiles. Other Aboriginal foods include Flathead fish, which although found in abundance have to be dealt with carefully as they have two poisonous spines on their backs and Witchetty grubs. Witchetty grubs are the larvae from Ghost Moths and were once collected in abundance for either eating raw or barbecued. Other grubs that are eaten are from the Bogong Moth which is served toasted.
These Aboriginal foods are now perhaps commonplace outside the cities but only some up-market restaurants in the city selling the meats and very few serving the grubs.
When anybody thinks of Australia, they probably think of BBQ and they would be correct to do so as BBQs feature large in the Australian way of life. BBQs can be found throughout the country at beaches, parks and even some car parks, often free but sometimes coin operated. Although all Australians use BBQs, what they put on it can once again depend on where they live. If they live near the beach or coast they may BBQ shrimp or crab whilst those in the country may BBQ kangaroo or Emu. However, almost every Australian likes a BBQ but will usually cook the more world known favorites of steak, lamb, pork or chicken.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits are readily available in Australia both with perhaps traditional, well known ones like bananas, papaya, mangoes, pears and avocados which may not be locally grown but are in abundance anyway and more local ones like Tasmanian Cherries and Quandong fruit.
A good variety of vegetables are available in Australia whether they are from America, Europe or Asia, they are all there. In the countryside vegetarians may have a bit of a problem but if they do find a restaurant, most have at least one veggie dish available. In the cities though, it is a different matter. Vegetarian restaurants seem to have surprisingly become popular in this meat loving country and so there are now many available.
Although it may not be as cheap to eat out in Australia as what you are used to elsewhere, at least in the cities you will have as big a nodiversity of choices as you would at home and perhaps an even wider one. Outside of the cities the choices may not be so vast but could certainly be different with many options being unique to Australia, such as crocodile eggs or grubs.