Trying Aussie Food for the First Time

Australia is only the 6th country I’ve been to and though it wasn’t a big cultural shock, I was surprised by its food. Of course, I also only explored Sydney and Melbourne, big touristy cities that were multicultural. The I food I tried can only be described as “worldly,” a flavorful blend of European and Asian cuisine—from one side of the world to another. The amount of food I tried in six days makes it deserve it’s own separate blog post.

I originally started writing about Aussie food in May, which also happens to be Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage month in the US. This was the best Asian food I’ve tried yet without going to Asia yet. Lately, staying inside during this trying time (since traveling is off the table) means a lot of us have tried to cook more. Maybe you can replicate these food below?


Thai Food in General

I was very close to giving up on Thai food after eating some very dry chicken meat at a Thai restaurant and when sweet coconut-flavored soup threw me off because I expected savory instead of a strange combination. I love coconut, don’t get me wrong, but when it’s in something that I didn’t expect it, it was like, what was that? It’s like adding black pepper to your ice cream. Has anyone done that? I know salty ice cream is pretty common, but even that has me wondering why.

Based on the Thai food I had tried before, I wasn’t sure if I wanted more, but on the first night in Australia, our friend decided to show us a Thai place. “This is really good. It’s always packed and they have a huge menu.” I only hoped it wasn’t the same $8 of dried baked chicken with bland and plain white rice. If I wanted fried chicken, I could have went to KFC or Walmart.

Our friend, an American who recently moved to Australia, wanted to introduce us to a popular Thai restaurant. Wanting to keep the light evening mood, I kept mum about my personal experience and decided to give it another try at a restaurant he and his Australian friends raved.

The menu book was huge and seemed to be closer to forty pages and was in a brown antique-looking cover. Photos of food filled the page and there were so many versions of each noodle, rice, and soup dishes. We had trouble deciding and settled on three big dishes that came with a pot of warm rice.

You could tell by the blue and white porcelain plates and the food decorated in colors that thoughts have been placed and very flavorful. “More color, more flavor,” as Gordon Ramsey had said.

We decided on three dishes: spicy curry with lamb, ribs, and tofu based veggie dish with sprouts. Each were made with the right amount of savory without another flavor overpowering it. In a way, Australia had saved me from not wanting to trying Thai food again.

Delectable Dessert

At the end of the night, we ambled through the downtown, full of towering skyscrapers and full of Asian restaurants and neon lights. It made me wonder why their Chinatown seemed to last forever while the ones in the US were only one street, segregated the rest of the downtown.

Our evening ended at a dessert place called Mango Coco… another Thai place our friend wanted to introduce. A short walk around a few blocks, we arrived at brightly lit yellow store filled with customers and vines hanging from the ceiling, golden walls, and red roses in vases on tables with gold lining. It was like a dessert place inspired by Beauty and the Beast.

The host handed us menu filled with photos of delectable desserts.

“How do you know which one to choose?” I wondered aloud.

“Just choose by photo,” said our friend.

We ended up choosing two dessert to share. Twenty minutes later, the hostess arrived with a steaming white dessert with white cream on top. It was a coconut bingsu prepared with dry ice and three toppings: a green worm-like jelly (pandan) with cubes of taro jelly, coconut jelly with gold flecks, and a sweet syrup. It was as big as an entree.

Next, we had three creamy dessert that looked like giant ravioli decorated with whip and flowers, and it came with cream, fruits, and a sweet dip. Inside, it had a mango cream. By sharing, we got a taste of two very delicious and unique desserts, which were well worth the price. It turned out to be around thirty AUD, which was around twenty USD.

Circular Quay Food Court

The next day, we went to Circular Quay, and right across from the ships was a food court with smoothies, Mediterranean food, and even a sushi bar went for only 2.50 AUD. I got two of those sushi for a light lunch, one shrimp and tuna roll with red bean and rice. I have tried the shrimp roll before but I liked how the shrimp was about four inches at least. The other roll was unique to me.

Since the food here was cheaper than in the US for people from the US, we decided that we would try new food each day and eat well.

Fish & Chips at Manly Beach

We took a ferry to the north end, a small peninsula with a beach called Manly Beach. Australian surfer dudes were on the beach riding the waves with their blondish hair tied back.

The food we tried (you can read more in my Sydney blog) was fish and chips which were so tasty yet I should definitely eat them only once in a while. If you love fish and chips, you’d have to save room for these because the combo came with calamari, prawns, and two battered and fried fish. If I had to choose, I’d go with the calamari, but I was surprised at how big a portion it was and how it was worth the money spent to try some Australian fish and chips.

Sydney Fish Market

We finished food in Sydney with food from the Sydney Fish Market the next day. Part of it had live or fresh frozen fish and other seafood to buy but some parts of it was like a food court that sold food like fried seafood tacos (like the ones they have at food fairs) and seafood that was part of a meal. We brought freshly seared oysters and mussels that came in a group of three, topped with fish egg, and drizzled with creamy sauce.

The food at the fish market was a little expensive and we couldn’t get full eating eight AUD for three shells, but it was still nice to try the food.


Melbourne Central

I continued my food tour in Melbourne, another big city that rivals Sydney but didn’t have the big harbor that Sydney was known for. The first day, I went to Melbourne Central and the first food I saw were chicken and mayo baguettes-which I can’t imagine how it would taste, brekkie sandwich-which I assume meant breakfast sandwich because of the bacon and sunny-side-up eggs, brie and chutney baguettes, pain au chocolat, and apple turnovers.

Did French food look great? It sure did but I didn’t want to eat bread. I also saw Indian food, and of course, Japanese food. There were more assorted sushi, and I ordered another shrimp one. This time, the sushi were three for five AUD, which was even cheaper.

Queen Victoria Market

Later that day, I went to Queen Victoria Market for the food festival. I found the event by luck. Having had good luck with Asian food and having way too many different food, from Greek to Barbecue food to choose from, I finally settled on a coconut drink and pineapple fried rice.

You can’t go wrong with fried rice, and it was unique and nutritious, but if you had fried rice before, maybe some other food would be more appealing. I couldn’t help but wonder what if I did tried the Greek food, but I thought I knew how it would taste.

A Chocolate Run at Brunetti

The next day, I went to Brunetti, which was supposedly a very fancy dessert place. Of course, which Italian place wasn’t fancy? I ordered their “Opera” and their nutella and ricotta cake.

I usually don’t get dessert, but that night at St. Kilda, a nice beach to visit for penguins, I had ice cream down by the pier.

Noodle Soup

Back in Melbourne Central, I ordered udon noodles with shredded meat, tofu, and seaweed. It was a warm meal that filled me up for the day.

The next day and my last day was probably one of my busiest days as I traveled at my pace as solo traveller.

Farmer’s Market, Fitzroy Bakery

I went back to the Victoria Market to see the farmer’s market full of fresh food and at least five different types of eggs. Then, I went to a bakery called Lune, which was kind of famous. The bakery was good, but it seemed a little hyped and there were only about four different kinds of bakery. It was an interesting warehouse though.

Banh Mi

I did get a chance to try Vietnamese food in St. Kilda, and it tasted like how Vietnamese french bread filled with meat and sour veggie and some kind of mayo would have tasted like. It was good, but not particularly notable. Maybe there would be some better Vietnamese food somewhere, but I feel that Australians just like sushi and Thai food more.

Here are some more Sydney/Melbourne food:

Australian Shepherd’s Pie

On my very last day, after having a smoothie, I finally tried the Australian shepherd’s pie and found that it was interesting that they put sauce on it. It’s very similar to American shepherd’s pie, but you can’t go wrong with it.

Most Surprising Food

Some food weren’t really surprising… like having chips and soda isn’t surprising, but what I didn’t know was that Australians eat kangaroo meat. I thought it would be a protective species or something.

The kangaroo meat is chewy and depending on the favor, it could taste sweet. It is so chewy that it doesn’t taste like any other meat. I bought two-one was like strings of jerky and the other one was cut into little squares. I’d say out of both, the squares tasted better than the rough and tough string of jerky. Both of these versions were found at the Sydney Airport.

The other food that surprised me the most was their glass-bottled CocaCola. It’s supposedly made from cane sugar and the difference and the bubbles of that drink was notable. I didn’t think it would be different, but it was. Even their chips were slightly different with a flavors that were a little different. I don’t do junk food often, I would say that if you’re curious, don’t forget to try the snacks.

Of all the countries I’ve been to, I’d say I had tried a lot of food in Australia than any other foreign countries. In the other ones, I didn’t explore it as much or it was hard to speak the language to order. Australian food seems to be very similar to American and British food, but from the food I’ve tried, it was also extremely diverse, and the number of Asian food reminded me that Australia is indeed closer to Asian than it is to the US. I suppose that’s how you explain they happened to have a lot of good food.

Comment below which food would you try and where did you experience food that were beyond what you expected.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s