Australian cuisine refers to those dishes that have been indigenously developed over ages by people who have occupied the country for more than 40,000 to 60,000 years. During this time a unique hunter-gatherer diet has evolved which has come to be known as the “bush-tucker” based largely on Australian flora and fauna.
From 1788 to 1900 Australia was a collection of British colonies and this was primarily responsible for the locals being imbibed with a strong culinary taste more like the British and Irish migrants. From kangaroo meat, the focus shifted to beef, sheep, cattle, and wheat which became the staple of Australian diet.
After the World War, Australia’s multi-cultural immigration programme saw a great diversification of food habits of Australians particularly after the influx of Mediterranean and East Asia based Australians. The unique cuisine of other countries has thus slowly blended into the original cuisine of the country giving Australian food an exclusive taste and flavour.
With the opening of the world in the first decade of the 21st century and globalisation affecting all countries and making borders redundant, there has now been a revival of bush foods and focus on organic and biodynamic foods. British influence continues to hold sway both in domestic and takeaway sectors with roast dinners, fish and chips and Australian meat pie taking pride of place in Australian cuisine in terms of popularity.
Meat has always been a core component of Australian diet and production of meat has been a significant part of the country’s agricultural sector. Barbequed meat is a favourite with Australians and is considered to be a part of the country’s tradition.
Modernism and multiculturalism is now playing a great role in shaping Australian cuisine. There has been a mushrooming of fast food chains in metropolitan centres around the country and many famed fine dining haute cuisine and nouvelle cuisine establishments have sprung up in Australia. In fact, the fare dished out here has a strong local and international flavour. “Modern Australia” is a popular term for restaurants that today serve cuisine which is an adaption and interpretation of fusion cuisine derived from various exotic foreign influences.
On the beverage front, the country is in no way lagging behind the rest of the world. Australia is one of the world’s top quality wine and beer producing nations. The country has always been known for producing huge volumes of light lager beers mostly for export and domestic consumption. However, from the 1990s there has been a shift in public taste towards boutique and artisan quality beers and these are now also being produced in high quantities in the country.