Like the US, there aren’t many food items that are traditionally Australian; nearly everything is made up from the mix of immigrants who’ve made a home here. Guess who else has immigrated? American fast food corporations! Shocker.
Macca’s is the Aussie nickname for-you guessed it-McDonald’s! Australians like to shorten every word they possibly can (mossies=mosquitoes, cuppa = cup of tea or coffee, Straya= well, Australia) so naturally they did it for the world titan of indulgence and regrets. Hungry Jack’s is the name for- you may not have guessed it- Burger King! As it turns out, when the runner-up of indulgence and regrets came to set up shop down under, there was already a restaurant with the name. The other guys filed a lawsuit and won, which meant our friends over at BK had to come up with a different name. For whatever reason, Hungry Jacks it is!
Here they both are coexisting peacefully on Swanston street in the CBD.
Let’s talk about something that actually IS authentically Australian; lamingtons. What are these magical little Aussie creations, you ask? So you take a square of sponge cake, coat it in chocolate, then roll it in coconut shavings. There’s also a cream version, which I feel in love with. Just look at my face.
The other little cake was called a Dame Edna by the incredible bakery we got it from; I think the pink coating was strawberry. Also yummy. But wait, there are those that say the lamington actually got its start in New Zealand as the wellington. The plot thickens.
Next come the famous Tim Tams. Coming in several flavors, these chocolate-covered cookies are a childhood classic in Australia. My Sydney-born friend Ja suggested I freeze them, then have a cup of (cuppa, ha!) hot chocolate with them. You can bite the opposite corners off and use the Tim Tam as a straw until it melts on your fingers. Guys, the lady knows her stuff.
I also loved Picnic Fruglys because there’s already a lot going on (hence the name? ) plus they have raisins. Crunchie is kinda like a Butterfinger but with more of a honey taste. Whatever made it crunchy didn’t do so in a good way, unfortunately. Twirl was nothing to write home about. Boost was essentially a Twix with not enough cookie!
Vegemite. Ho boy. Now we all know this one I had to try. It’s one of the few things we Americans know to be true about Oz; it is indeed an Aussie staple. It’s not so much junk food, as it’s made out of green stuff that grows from the ground. The children here do grow up eating it, and every Australian household has an aging jar of the stuff sitting in a cupboard somewhere. It was in no less than three households I was in, and I checked; found some every time! I was warned, and thank goodness I was, that you can’t slather the stuff on your bread like Nutella. Just a nice, thin, barely there layer will do ya. And did it ever. I tried a little smear of it on some white bread, and it was…interesting. It’s salty, a little bitter, and definitely strong. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s kinda tasty!
I meant to try me some ‘roo but didn’t get the chance. That just means it’ll be on my list of things to do when I make my illustrious return to the land down under. Roo counts as junk food, right?