Aboriginal cooking has always played a role in Australian food culture. Many native methods of cooking which we call bush tucker, include local meats and flavours such as kangaroo, barramundi and wattle seed, are now accepted and thrive in gourmet cooking in Australia.
Over the past 40 years there has been a major shift in Australian cuisine. The food, like our society itself, has taken on a much more multi-cultural influence, especially with the arrival of immigrants from the Mediterranean and more recently South East Asia.
Australian food was heavily influenced by the first English settlers, who favored such foods as roasted cuts of meat, grilled steak and chops with vegetables. Despite the different influences in the past 200 or so years, much of this traditional British food has remained in Australian cuisine, particularly in Australian pub food such as the meat pie and fish and chips.
Fresh produce is readily available in Australia and is used extensively, and the trend (urged by long-term government health initiatives) is towards low-salt, low-fat healthy cookery incorporating lean meat and lightly cooked, colourful, steamed or stir-fried vegetables. With most of the Australian population residing in coastal areas, fish and seafood is popular.
People barbeque all over the world and it truly is universal, but Australians have a very special relationship with the barbecue. For us the Barbie is a part of our up bringing, and it's also our birth right. We are born with tongs in hand. We barbeque better than anyone else (sometimes depending on how many beers are consumed), and we enjoy the barbie more than anyone else on the planet (even if our sausages have been totally cremated). Australians more than most have embraced the BBQ and taken it to gastronomic levels of gourmet cooking that other races can only marvel at (and are sometimes asked are you really going to eat that?).
Australian food features Australian seafood such as: Prawns, Southern bluefin tuna, King George whiting, Moreton Bay bugs, Mud Crabs, Jew Fish, Dhufish (Western Australia) and Yabbies. Australia is one of the largest producers of abalone and rock lobster.Australia's 11 million square kilometre fishing zone is the third largest in the world and allows for bountiful access to seafood which significantly influences Australian cuisine.
An iconic Australian food is Vegemite. Other unique or iconic national foods include the Meat pie a must at all sporting events, Macadamia nuts; Violet Crumble, a honeycomb chocolate bar; Cherry Ripe; Jaffas, chocolate with an orange-flavoured confectionery shell; the Chiko Roll, a deep-fried savoury roll similar to a spring roll; and the Dim sim, a Chinese-inspired dumpling. Other popular Australian foods include Tim Tams, a chocolate biscuit; Musk sticks; Fairy bread; Lamingtons; the Vanilla slice; and the commercial breakfast cereal Weet-Bix.