Studying abroad in Sydney? One of the best ways to understand a place is through its food! Enjoy a taste of the local culture with our 10 food and drink recommendations below.
1. MEAT PIES. This is a classic Australian dish and it’s magnificent for its simplicity – mince with gravy wrapped in pastry. Smear some tomato sauce (ketchup) on the top and you’re good to go! If you want to get a bit fancy, some meat pies come with a dollop of mashed potatoes, mushy green peas and some extra gravy on top. Meat pies can be found everywhere in Australia – from dedicated pie shops such as Harry’s Cafe De Wheels or Pie Face to the local convenience store or 7-11.
Photo: Meat pies with mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy by leGuik
2. LAMINGTONS. Lamingtons are sponge cake rolled in chocolate and then rolled again in desiccated coconut. They are good on their own but adding strawberry jam and whipped cream takes them to another level. It is widely agreed that the dessert was named after Lord Lamington who served as governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901, but now lamingtons are so iconic that Australians nowadays would struggle to take someone called ‘Lord Lamington’ seriously! They are available from many bakeries and supermarkets.
Photo: First bite of a lamington by RosieTulips
3. KANGAROO STEAK. Kangaroo steak has a stronger flavour than beef and is lower in fat. As a result, kangaroo is best cooked and served medium rare to rare. It can be found in supermarkets and selected restaurants. As a welcome to Sydney, CAPA usually takes students to the Australian Heritage Hotel, where they serve a ‘Coat of Arms’ pizza. Australia is the only country that eats the animals on their coat of arms – kangaroo and emu – and the ‘Coat of Arms’ pizza has both meats!
Photo: Kangaroo steak by Helen
4. AUSTRALIAN SOFT DRINKS - PASSIONA, LIFT/SOLO. There are a range of different soft drinks available in Australia. You can find the usual Coke and Sprite, but it is also worth hunting out the more unique Australian flavours. If you like passionfruit, you’ll love the passionfruit flavoured ‘Passiona’. If lemon is more to your taste, try Lift or Solo, as most would describe the flavour as a mix of traditional lemonade and Sprite.
Photo: Solo soft drink by Zaid
5. ANZAC BISCUITS AND TIM TAMS. Australians refer to cookies as ‘biscuits’. The two most famous biscuits are Tim Tams and Anzac biscuits. Tim Tams are chocolate heaven – chocolate malted biscuit with chocolate butter cream and coated in chocolate. A common way to enjoy Tim Tams is via the ‘Tim Tam Slam’ which involves biting each end of the biscuit so it can be used as a straw for coffee or hot chocolate. It is definitely not good for you, but many find it addictive! Anzac biscuits, on the other hand, could theoretically pass as a little more healthy as they contain rolled oats (oatmeal). Named after the Australian New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), which was established in World War 1, Anzac biscuits were originally posted in care packages to Australian soldiers overseas. Today they are often sold around commemorative days such as Anzac Day and Australia Day. Both Tim Tams and Anzac biscuits are found in supermarkets and often convenience stores.
Photo: Tim Tam innards by Robyn Lee
6. BARRAMUNDI. The word barramundi was used by Australian Aboriginals in the Rockhampton area in Queensland, and means river fish with large scales. It is a white fish with a mild flavour, often wrapped in leaves or foil and steamed – you’ll find that it features in a variety of Australian recipes and often in restaurants. Although the barramundi meal will set you back approximately $42, you can’t beat the view at Doyles on the Beach in Watsons Bay.
Photo: Barramundi by Alpha
7. VEGEMITE. This is a salty yeasty spread, most often used on toast and sandwiches. It is an acquired taste to be sure, so it’s important to introduce your taste buds to this spread gradually! It’s best to spread just a little bit of Vegemite on top of freshly buttered toast for your first try. From there, you may wish to add grilled cheese (delicious) or avocado (healthy) and begin your own personal variations! Jars can be bought at supermarkets.
Photo: Vegemite by Stuart Hamilton
8. HAMBURGERS WITH BEETROOT OR "THE LOT". If you order a burger in Australia, most likely it’ll come with beetroot (beet) as standard. To an Australian, a burger without beetroot is incomplete. Ordering a burger “with the lot” means you’ll get a burger with a meat patty, cheese, grilled onion, bacon, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, fried egg and pineapple. There is the choice of tomato sauce (ketchup) or BBQ sauce – though that is down to personal preference. You’ll find various burger bars dotted around Sydney, and it’s worth exploring to find your favourite!
Photo: Burger with "the lot" by murray
9. MILO WITH MILK. Milo is a versatile chocolate and malt powder that can be mixed with cold or hot milk. It does not dissolve completely and you’ll find individual Australians have their preferred variation on how to serve it. It is promoted heavily to children as a way to get energy and calcium and so for many Australians it was a staple of their childhood. Pair a hot milo drink with a Tim Tam and you’re all set up for a delicious ‘Tim Tam Slam’. Big green tins of Milo can be found at supermarkets.
Photo: Milo by Phalinn Ooi
10. FISH AND CHIPS WITH CHICKEN SALT. In a nod to Australia’s British origins, fish and chips is a common Australian meal. Australians refer to thick cut fries as “hot chips” and they are usually served with chicken salt. Chicken salt is a blend of various herbs, spices and, of course, salt. Australians pronounce fish and chips as "feesh and cheeps" and New Zealanders pronounce it as "fush and chups" – an easy way to differentiate between the two accents! A staple meal of many places near water, be it the beach or the harbour, you’ll also find fish and chips on many pub menus.
Photo: Fish and chips by Ingjye Huang
Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite food or drink in Sydney.