Thank the folks in South Australia for this, um, interesting concoction. Does a meat pie floating in pea soup with lashings of tomato sauce on top sound appealing? The sight of it may make your stomach turn, but South Aussies swear that it’s food from the gods. We encourage you to make that decision for yourself - head to Adelaide and get your float on! Kings Head Pub is just a 15-minute walk from Adelaide Central YHA and offers you the chance to try this Aussie delicacy in a classic Aussie pub, or, if you just so happen to have a bright idea to try one at 3am after a night on the town, Cafe De Vili's is open 24 hours to satisfy any floaty cravings you may have.
"Oi, where's me Chiko Roll?" - Aussie proverb. The staple snack of all surfies during the golden 1970s, the Chiko Roll is a much-loved Aussie icon, and TBF, it is pretty damn tasty. A Chiko Roll is essentially a giant spring roll with an Aussie twist. It’s stuffed with beef (yep, not chicken) and veggies, then deep fried until gold and crispy. The magic is in its utility – you can hold your Chiko Roll in one hand and drink a beer, use the TV remote or bowl in backyard cricket with the other. They're easy to find in the frozen food section of any good supermarket, but true Chiko connoisseurs know the best ones are from your local fish and chip shop or beach kiosk. It's the polar opposite of nutritious though, so maybe don't have one every day...
Tasmania may be known as the Apple Isle, but it's only because Scallop Pie Isle doesn't have the same ring to it. What looks like a stock standard meat pie is actually loaded with veggies, scallops and a curry sauce. An odd-sounding combination to be sure, but very tasty, and you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you leave our great country without at least tasting one. A five-minute walk from Hobart Central YHA you'll find Harbour Lights Cafe, home to one of the best scallop pies in the city. On Saturdays, you'll see plenty floating around at the Salamanca Market, only a 10-minute walk from the hostel. Raise a glass to the folk down in Tassie – they did good with this one, we promise!
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Okay, don't panic, you'd be surprised at how tasty these are. The best way to sell scary-sounding food is to talk about it in terms of "tastes like." Kangaroo tastes something like venison, with a really tasty and gamey flavour. Crocodile - when prepared right - tastes like a cross between fish and chicken, and is actually incredibly tasty. You can hit two beasts with one stone when you stop off at Fredo Pies in Frederickton, en route between Sydney and Melbourne. It's located in the middle of bloody nowhere, yet road trippers and locals alike line up out the door for their famous crocodile pie. There's also actual venison pies, satay chicken pies, spinach and feta pies for the veggies and of course, good old fashioned beef.
Now this one you've definitely you've heard of - Tim Tams are so bloody delicious they've actually started to stock these in other countries. A Tim Tam is made of a smooth chocolate cream, sandwiched between two crunchy choc-malt biscuits and then covered entirely in milk chocolate all over again. It's perfect as it is, but of course, Aussies have found a way to make it even better. Go to the nearest supermarket or convenience store, pick up some Tim Tams and Milo and try the Tim Tam Slam. Literally bite off both ends of the Tim Tam, use it as a straw for a hot, chocolately drink and then eat the delicious, melty mess that remains. *chef kisses fingers* MAGNIFIQUE!
This one is a personal favourite - it's cheap, simple, delicious and just tastes like Australia. Nothing more. Grab some cheap supermarket white bread or a hot dog roll, butter that bad boy up, sizzle some pure Aussie beef snags (sausages), slap it on, top with tomato sauce (and onions if you're feeling fancy) and enjoy. Fun fact: the "sausage sizzle" promised at federal and state election polls in Australia is what lures half the country to do their democratic duty at voting time. Since it's so easy, a great option for feeding a crowd and a quintessential Aussie experience, you'd be hard pressed to find a YHA that doesn't host a sauso' sizzle for ya every once in a while. Thank us later!
You've had burgers before obviously, but you don't become a true burger master until you take on the Aussie Burger - AKA, the burger with everything. There’s the usual ingredients – bun, meat patty, lettuce, onion, tomato and cheese. But when you add bacon, a fried egg, pineapple and beetroot, you’ve got the burger "with the lot," Aussie style! The best one you'll ever have will be in a beachside cafe, when you're starving after a long morning enjoying the water and sunshine. Start your Aussie Burger journey on a high note when you stay at Yamba YHA - their on-site cafe/bar just below your bed does the best Aussie Burger in the region!
The HSP is a national treasure - and even though it's only a thing in Australia, it was inspired by the best of Middle Eastern and British cuisine. The HSP is a favourite of students rewarding themselves after a tough exam, or just anyone who had a few too many drinks last night. It’s halal-certified meat, piled on top of hot chips and slathered with a variety of sauces. It’s messy, delicious and an amazing hangover cure. You'll be able to try this masterpiece at any late-night kebab store around the country, but if you need some direction, join the Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society on Facebook, for the lowdown on exactly where you'll find the best HSP.
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Quite possibly one of the most divisive things Australia has ever produced, people either love it or hate it. If you decide to try out this yeasty sandwich spread, don’t let the Aussies fool you into trying a whole spoonful or you’ll be scarred for life - it's not Nutella! The best way to try it is to spread a tiny bit on white toast with a whole lot of butter. It's a satsifying brekky, a great lazy lunch or a cheeky midnight snack. As with all things on this list, don't knock it until you've tried it. Internationals don't have a great track record with liking Vegemite so if you do, please know we'll be very impressed!
Aboriginal Australians have been eating bush tucker - which is food native to Australia and found out in the bush - long before everyone else showed up. We’re talking nutritious seeds, delicious berries, leafy plants, goanna and squirming witchetty grubs, if you dare to try. The best place to have an authentic bush tucker experience is to head to the outback state - the unforgettable Northern Territory. Around Alice Springs in particular, there's plenty of tours you can take with an indigenous guide, that offer you the chance to sample bush tucker, and experience hunter gatherer life before supermarkets and UberEats.
Explore our 70+ hostels all around the country, and hashtag #YHAOZ when you try your first floater, croc pie or Vegemite toast! Bon appetit!