From The Archives: Visiting The Australian Grocery Store

Since on Friday I will be flying back to the States this week will be focused on sharing my favorite blog posts about the Australian culture.  Todays is actually my mothers favorite and points out some of food in Australia that you will never get in the States by visiting the local Grocery Store.

As my furlough in September gets closer and closer (ninety-two days to go!)  I was thinking about things from Australia that would be missed while in the States.  A lot of those would be particular foods that you can only find in Melbourne so yesterday I took a trip to my local super market to share with you some of my favorite (and least favorite) Australian foods.

Vegemite:  What trip to the grocery store would be complete without a huge jar of Vegemite?  This has been part of Aussie children’s breakfast for generations but today is mostly used as a practical joke for Americans (they call it Australian peanut butter).  The fact that the words “concentrated yeast extract” are written on the label should give you an idea what it tastes like.  Actually they could just write yeast extract in gigantic letters on the jar with nothing else.

Vegemite can be eaten but there is a fine art to it.  You put a very, very small amount on a piece of toast with butter and it’s quite nice, but whatever you do, don’t eat a spoon full.

Lamb Chops:  Since lamb is plentiful in Melbourne you can easily find lamb chops in the local super market, which are great when grilling out on the barbecue just don’t watch bambi while you eat it.  This is one of the foods I will truly miss especially in kebabs (my favorite Aussie food)

Editors Note: I know that Bambi is a deer but couldn’t think of an emotional story about lamb’s…sorry

Sausages:  People often ask me what the traditional Australian food is when you have friends over for a party or to watch a sporting event.  They probably think that its something elaborate…in reality its sausages off the barbecue.

Now don’t get me wrong Australian sausages (or snags) are awesome for having a cookout with friends.  If you want to eat them properly though they must have a piece of white bread wrapped around the sausage and some sauce (ketchup) while standing around talking about the footy.

Roo Burgers:  Yes we do eat kangaroo in Australia but not very often.  The meat is quite healthy and low in fat but also has a unique taste and its very easy to overcook the meat.

If you are enjoying a roo burger or steak the best plan is to undercook it (especially if it’s a steak) to ensure that you aren’t eating a piece of shoe leather.  I have had roo burgers before just to make sure I can tell people I ate Kangaroo.

While Tim Tams are near and dear to my heart a block of Black Forest Cadbury Chocolate is the comfort food I will truly miss from Australia.  Eating this chocolate is an emotional experience for me since I first ate Black Forest at a friend’s house during one of their board game nights.

The taste of it will always remind me of coming in last during our game of Settlers of Catan while everyone laughs hysterically at my failure…and I reach for more chocolate

Weet-Bix:  This is the Wheaties of Australia since Weet-Bix has for years been part of a huge television campaign using Australian sporting stars.   They will always tell you how many Weet-Bix they do for breakfast (their small wheat squares so its easy to eat more than one) and then looking directly into the camera will ask “how many do you do?”

The marketing campaign aside, considering they taste like cardboard, and the sound of a milk carton being opened turns them into soggy mush I can answer that question with a strong and confident zero.

Good Instant Coffee:  Now I am aware that offering an instant coffee to someone in the US is on the same level as dancing on their grave (apologies to all those Sanka drinkers out there) but in Australia the instant coffee is quite good.

You won’t be looking around for a barista or anything but it’s definitely a nice way to wake up in the morning and get your antioxidants.

If however they offer you something called International Roast you should contact Immigration services immediately so that they can be deported .

Over-Priced Coke:  I love drinking Coke….like REALLY love drinking it with at least a two liter a day habit at one point.  However having to pay $3.79 per bottle quickly broke me of that.

Editors Note:  In the interest of fairness I must admit there was also a sign that said two for $6 so at this point they are on sale

Meat Pie:  It’s a national law in Australia that you have to eat a meat pie (or pie as they call them) when going to a sport event, and it usually has to be a Four N Twenty.  It’s also necessary to put sauce in the middle of the pie…failure to do so will result in not only ridicule, but having to eat a spoon full of Vegemite.

Well that’s about it for our trip to the grocery store.  Come back next week when I take you on a tour of Australian furniture stores (just kidding) and if your ever in the area feel free to drop by for some sausages, Cadbury chocolate, and ridiculously over-priced Coke.

Published by

John Wilburn

Church planter, teacher, and disciple-maker in Barrouallie St. Vincent

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