- 1. Shrimp on the barbie
- 2. The Bloomin’ Onion
- 5. Jam yes, but jelly, not so much
- 3. The chains Toowoomba line of toppings and pasta aren’t served in Toowoomba
- 4. Readily Available, Cheap, Hyperpalatable Food
If you’re headed Down Under, you can count on a lot to look forward to: There are endless miles of beaches. There’s the awesome expanse of the Outback. There’s the laidback outlook on life. There’s the Sydney Opera House. And there’s a lot of great food to eat, from endless barbecues to meat pies to pavlovas—which both New Zealand and Australian claim to have invented. And apparently, everyone there loves chicken parmigiana, too.
What you are much less likely to come across are any of the foods we’re featuring here today, because contrary to common misconception (or to marketing initiatives, in some cases), these foods are either minimally popular or are not eaten in Australia at all. So, pack your bags, bring extra sunblock, and think twice before placing your food order down there, lest you come across as a consummate tourist. Not that they’ll mind, what with being all laid back and such. Plus, don’t miss 8 “British” Foods No One Eats in Britain
1. Shrimp on the barbie
Yes, Australians do often call barbecue grills a “barbie.” And yes, Aussies do indeed eat shrimp, even grilled shrimp. But you will never hear an Australian referring to “shrimp on the barbie” unless they are doing it to be ironic because, in Australia, shrimp are almost invariably referred to as prawns. The phrase grew out of a series of TV commercials promoting tourism to Australia, thus the use of the word shrimp, as the ads were aimed at an American market.
2. The Bloomin’ Onion
Like the Outback Steakhouse itself, which was founded in Florida in the late 1980s, per the company’s own site, the Bloomin’ Onion is an entirely American creation. No surprise, then, that so many other American steakhouses also offer a take on this battered, deep-fried, calorie- and fat-bomb of an appetizer, like the Texas Roadhouse Cactus Blossom.
Sure, the ads wanted us all to believe that Foster’s is “Australian for beer,” but according to Craft Beer & Brewing, this pale yellow lager is really not very popular in Australia. First brewed by Americans who had made their way to Australia in the late 19th century, the beer has gained market share in other countries— it is largely brewed in overseas markets, too—but is a minor player in the Aussie beer market.
Per a description of the stuff from an Amazon post: “Today Marmite is a nutritious, black, tasty, savory spread enjoyable on toast or bread or even as a cooking ingredient. It is made from spent brewer’s yeast and comes in a distinctive black jar with a yellow lid.” People famously love it or hate it or, in the case of Australia, largely do neither, because they don’t eat it. That’s because vegemite is the preferred yeast spread. And while similar at their base, vegemite is quite different than marmite in taste, what with added vegetable and spice flavoring, per British Essentials.
5. Jam yes, but jelly, not so much
Australians are fans of jam, to be sure, spreading it on toast and using it in sandwiches. Jelly, on the other hand, is a much sweeter spread usually reserved for desserts—think of a Linzer Tart cookie, e.g. And while peanut butter is less common Down Under than it is in America, it is eaten—but, per the Washington Post, mixing peanut butter and jelly is seen as an abomination there.
3. The chains Toowoomba line of toppings and pasta aren’t served in Toowoomba
A hilarious Twitter thread shared in The Courier-Mail—an Australian website—illustrates the randomness of one of the dishes served at Outback Steakhouse. The chain is known for a creamy seafood pasta and topping called Toowoomba. Toowoomba is a real Australian town two hours inland and up a mountain range, according to one respondent. That it is known for seafood in America is baffling. The name was probably chosen because the town name is memorable and no one had heard of it before. “We’re all just a bit surprised Toowoomba has ANYTHING named after it,” Tweeted another.
4. Readily Available, Cheap, Hyperpalatable Food
You may think you’ll impress your Aussie friends by referring to the snack food we in America call potato chips as “crisps,” but… you won’t. That’s because while Brits call chips crisps and use chips to refer to French fries, Australians just call them both chips. Fries are sometimes called “hot chips,” but usually, you just need to figure it out based on the context.