Australia is a country of extreme beauty, gorgeous white sandy beaches, untouched inner wildernesses and, of course, gastronomic experiences one can only dream of. Until now that is. If you are the ultimate foodie and love nothing more than venturing out to try the latest East meets West fusion street food, partakes in the newest coffee made from Equatorial Guinea coffee beans or will risk life and limb to try the deadly delicacy of Japanese pufferfish, then you are acutely aware of the importance of cuisine. Food, whether home cooked, cordon bleu or out the back of a truck in some nondescript foreign street, can excite and revolutionise your thinking.
If your idea of a good time is trying out the latest restaurant and attempting to emulate the same recipe at home, a foodie tour of the wonderful country of Australia could be right up your street. The country is vast, geographically, culturally and in a gastronomic sense. With influences from Asia, an abundant supply of some of the best seafood in the world and top chefs gracing their local television screens, Australia is a feast for the senses. Take a look at the pit stops you should be making, the food you should be trying and the places you should be visiting when you hot foot it to Oz to backpack one mouthful at a time.
Sydney is a lot more than just an opera house. Hundreds of top quality restaurants grace the main streets of the city as well as a few that you’ll find hidden down side streets and secret passages.
The finest crab in the whole of Australia is arguably served at Yang and Co. Starting life in a food truck, Lex Wong used to have eye-watering queues waiting for his outstanding Malaysian inspired cuisine. Now utilising an authentic Australian twist combined with his Asian heritage to direct the ethos of his food, the soft shell crab on his menu is still the most popular dish and is renowned nationwide. No longer confined to a food truck, Wong has ventured into the grown-up world of adult restaurateurs and has never looked back. The chilli sauce is a flavour sensation to behold.
Sushi is big business in Sydney, and Sokyo doesn’t disappoint. Using the catch of the day, the expert chefs create the finest California rolls and kingfish belly sashimi this side of the Japanese Sea. The dining experience makes this restaurant even more unique. You’ll get to witness the chefs prepare every morsel of sushi from scratch using traditional methods and present each delicate mouthful to you individually. If you love Japanese cuisine and don’t mind waiting a little while for your food, this is a spot that should definitely make it onto your tour.
Hearing the name, LP’s Quality Meats, you may think that you were taking a trip to an artisan butchers. You wouldn’t be far wrong, but the dining establishment is much more than this. Smoky ribs, saddles of lamb, griddles, burgers and homemade Italian sausages all make it onto the menu. Reading the menu, you’d think you might be in the deep American South, but you’ve actually stumbled across a luxurious barbeque house with the intoxicating aromas of marinades, glazes and condiments that can take a piece of meat from ordinary to extraordinary in a single mouthful.
Although Brisbane isn’t the most renowned city in Australia for its gourmet experiences, you shouldn’t overlook this largely undiscovered culinary haven. Get yourself down to a campsite run by Ingenia Holidays, take a load off and settle in for a week exploring a whole host of new eateries.
After an evening of excess and a restful night’s sleep, there’s nothing better than having a good breakfast to start the next day on your foodie tour. Head down to the Jam Pantry where they specialise in using local produce to generate food with influences from all over the globe. Of particular note is the chilli pickled egg or the drenched croissant with green papaya. This little establishment goes out of its way to break from the norm and cook a little outside the box.
For a Chinese feast, there’s no better place to make a beeline for than Happy Boy. It’s a massive venue, super casual and achingly hip. All the best hipster types and fashionistas like to frequent this eatery ordering the iconic chilli beef cheek and chicken wings. Chowing down on hearty Chinese grub will leave you feeling satisfyingly full. With the Chef’s Banquet only costing $35 a head, the quality of the cuisine is stonkingly good value for money.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past decade, you know that Melbourne has emerged as Australia’s gastronomic Mecca. With more eateries than you can shake a stick at, you’ll stand no chance at experiencing all of the dizzying flavour combinations and culinary delights that Melbourne has to offer. That shouldn’t stop you from trying though.
Etta is housed in a former chip shop but has an ambience miles away from the greasy fare you’d be served in its prior guise. If you fancy a break from the barbecued ribs and meat laden meals you may have been exploring, Etta serves some of the finest and most original vegetarian dishes in the city. Their pickled globe artichoke has the perfect balance of sweetness and sourness and will have your tongue singing for more. If you’re a fan of the eggplant, Etta cooks it in various guises managing to impart different flavours into every dish without losing the essence of the wonderful main ingredient.
Italian cuisine hasn’t been mentioned yet, perhaps because it’s a case of saving the best until last. Tipo 00 is quintessentially made of the stuff any good old Italian nonna used to cook, only with a touch more flair and presentation. The pasta is exceptional – light and with enough texture so that the exquisite sauces stick to every divot. The semolina gnocchi is the knockout star of the show. A bowl of spaghetti has never been more exciting.
If you’re hot-footing it around Australia, be sure to use this as your guide to the country’s finest eating experiences. And don’t forget to follow your nose when hunting down the best spots to chow down on new culinary delights.