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Photo: justapinch.com

Although it may not have a signature cultural cuisine like Italy has pasta or Spain has paella, Australia has no shortage of iconic snacks and unique dishes. Whether you're new to Australia, you're showing a friend round or you just want to expand your own horizons, Australia has plenty of unique food options to suit all tastes.

Here is a list of the 10 most iconic Australian foods that you’ve got to try at least once when visiting the home of Kangaroo!

1. Pavlova

There is a culinary war that is fought since its inception. The Pavlova is said to have originated in Perth as a tribute to the Russian Ballerina Anna Pavlova. But culinary experts in New Zealand believe that the exquisite dessert actually originated from New Zealand and not from Australia. For decades, people have tried to decipher the true lineage of the famed dessert, but to no avail. Since this list is about the most iconic dishes in Australia, we are leaning towards Australia as the point of origin.

2. Meat Pies

Pies are a popular snack to eat on the go and almost every corner shop, bakery, and supermarket will have a display case with lots of hot meaty pies to choose from. There are even specialty pie shops! Australians have many different savory pies you can buy, however, they are usually stuffed with minced meat, gravy, mushrooms, onions, and cheese. It’s also a good snack after a long night of partying (better than a kebab!). After drinking and dancing you end the night with a meat pie in your hand, sitting on the pavement waiting for your taxi to go home.

3. Tim Tams

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Photo: nytimes.com

They're simple but luxurious – two chocolate biscuits sandwiched with chocolate cream and coated in creamy, shiny chocolate for good measure. They landed on our shelves in the early 1960s and their allure refuses to wane with the decades. Go for the classic, available wrapped in milk, dark or white chocolate, or pick up a limited-edition Adriano Zumbo​ collab in flavors such as Red Velvet and Salted Caramel.

4. Chiko roll

Australia’s love affair with the simple Chiko roll began back in 1951 when it made its NSW debut at the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Show. Frank McEnroe – a boilermaker from Bendigo, Vic. – invented the cabbage, carrot, onion, and beef stuffed snack. He originally designed the Chiko roll as take-away food at football matches; the intent being to make a snack that could be held in one hand, the other hand would of course be occupied holding a cold beer. Belying its name, the Chiko Roll contains no chicken and was inspired by the popular and much smaller Chinese spring roll, claimed by Chinese Australians as their own.

5. Lamingtons

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Photo: eatlittlebird.com

The Lamington is another dish that is hotly contested between New Zealand and Australia for its place of origin. But it is said that the desert was first given to Lord Lamington of Queensland; he received a sponge cake that was dipped in chocolate icing and rolled in powdered coconut. The dessert was an instant hit, and thus the lamingtons were born. For this article, this is the story we are going to believe and refer to.

6. BBQ

The infamous Aussie barbeque is something of a tradition in Australia. We could grill and barbeque almost every day of the week, and some people probably do. Chicken, burgers, snags, onions, prawns, seafood, you name it. If it can be grilled, it’s going on the Barbie. Congregating around the Barbie with a beer is all part of the process and even though it’s most popular in the summertime it can be enjoyed all year round with our mostly mild climate. You’ll often find public barbeques by the beach, in parklands and national parks.

7. Barramundi

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Photo: thebetterfish.com

Forget about fish and chips, feast on fresh Australian barramundi, a name which means ‘large-scaled river fish’ in the Aboriginal language in the Rockhampton area. Grilled, fried, or seared skin-side first, it’s a much healthier alternative to battered fish and a true Aussie meal.

Whether you catch your own or sit back and let someone else take care of the hard work, heading up to Queensland gets you some of the best fish in the country.

8. Splice

Introduced by Streets Ice Cream in the 1950s, Splices developed almost a cult following. The unconventional ice-cream, coated in a layer of fruit-flavored ice was an integral part of beach culture in summer, reaching peak popularity in the 1970-80s. Originally in ‘pine-lime’ flavor, a raspberry version was introduced later and is still enjoyed by Aussies today. The catchphrase of Streets’ 1963 advertising campaign was: “You’ll jump for joy, it tastes so nice, it’s Streets’ sensational, raspberry Splice!”

9. Pumpkin soup

Australian food isn’t all about grilled meats and seafood. There is a wide range of vegetarian dishes out there too, including a hearty bowl of pumpkin soup. Best served in the colder months, and easiest to find when you head south, there’s something incredibly satisfying about a bowl of pumpkin soup eaten by the fire. Add a Granny Smith apple, which was first grown just outside of Sydney, for an authentic Australian version.

10. Vegemite

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Photo: emilycontois.com
This list wouldn’t be complete without bringing in our most iconic Australian food, Vegemite, at number one. Vegemite is an acquired taste and one that only Aussies seem to have. People all over the world try Vegemite just because they’ve heard how gross it is, but here in Australia, it’s a beloved breakfast ingredient. We can tell you now that you’re doing it wrong! Thinly applied (don’t smother it on like a lunatic) on toast with lots of butter is the only way a true blue Aussie would eat it.

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