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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Urmenyhazi

Exploring Traditional Australian Food: From Pies to Pavlova

Updated: Apr 18

Australia is a land of diverse landscapes, cultures, and cuisines. From the bustling streets of Sydney to the tranquil outback, the Australian culinary scene reflects its rich history and multicultural influences. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the traditional Australian food that locals and visitors alike enjoy. Whether you're bleary-eyed after a night out or seeking a hearty meal, one dish stands out as an Aussie favorite: the humble pie.

The Humble Pie at Harry's Café de Wheels

Serving customers for over 80 years, Harry's Café de Wheels has become an institution in Australian cuisine. Located in Woolloomooloo, right next to the Ovolo Hotel on the wharf, this original caravan cafe has drawn in countless celebrities, including the likes of Elton John, Prince Harry and Frank Sinatra.

Out of all the pie shops in Sydney, the pies and chips from Harry's are a local family favorite. But what's the story behind this iconic eatery?

The Origin Story

Harry "Tiger" Edwards, the founder of Harry's Café de Wheels, had a simple yet profound inspiration. Frustrated by the lack of late-night snack options, he decided to open a caravan café near the front gates of Woolloomooloo naval dockyard in Sydney, Australia. Thus, Harry's Café de Wheels was born.

The name itself was a bold gesture, given the local city council's regulations that required Harry to move the caravan a minimum of 12 inches a day. Nevertheless, his courage and his reputation as a skilled boxer earned him the nickname "Tiger," a moniker that lives on in the iconic pie that bears his name. And to this day, that legendary pie is still served in its original location in Woolloomooloo, alongside a growing number of outlets across the globe, including a fleet of caravan cafés that move more than "a little" more than 12 inches a day.

A Wholesome Aussie Spread

While the humble pie at Harry's is a standout, Australian cuisine is a lot more diverse than one might expect. Here are some other typical Australian foods and dishes that make this cuisine unique:

Vegemite: Known for its strong, salty flavor, Vegemite is a quintessential Australian spread. It's often enjoyed on bread or crackers for breakfast or as a snack.

Tim Tams: These chocolate biscuits are a favorite treat in Australia. They consist of layers of chocolate biscuits with a creamy filling, all coated in milk chocolate.

Kangaroo and Emu: Australians sometimes include kangaroo and emu meat in their diet. These lean meats are used in various dishes, such as sausages or steaks.

Barramundi: A popular fish in Australia, barramundi is prized for its mild, sweet flavor and firm texture. It's commonly grilled or pan-fried.

Damper: This simple bush bread is made by swagmen and stockmen over a campfire. It's a dense, unleavened bread baked in coals or on a campfire grill.

Lamingtons: These sponge cake squares are coated in chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. They're a classic Australian dessert often served at gatherings.

Anzac Biscuits: Made with rolled oats, coconut, golden syrup, and butter, Anzac biscuits have their origins in World War I and are a beloved treat.

Surf 'n' Turf: Combining seafood (typically prawns or lobster) with grilled steak or other meat, this dish is popular at Australian steakhouses.

Pumpkin Soup: A comforting dish, pumpkin soup is often flavored with spices like nutmeg and served with a dollop of cream.

The BBQ: Australians have a love affair with barbecues, and you'll frequently find them grilling a variety of meats, including sausages, burgers, lamb chops, and seafood.

A Taste of Australia

Australia's culinary landscape is as diverse as its geography. Whether you're indulging in a classic meat pie at Harry's Café de Wheels, spreading Vegemite on toast, or savoring a slice of pavlova, Australian food is sure to tickle your taste buds and leave you with a unique culinary experience. So, the next time you find yourself Down Under, be sure to sample some of these iconic Aussie dishes and savor the flavors of this fascinating country.

The video is an excerpt from a podcast with my good friend Corey Richard from the Travel Secret VIPS Positive Travel Community on Facebook.

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