Australians' eating habits reflect their British heritage. A traditional breakfast may include fruit or juice, cold cereal or hot porridge, fried eggs and sausages, with hot tea or coffee. Toast may be spread with Vegemite, a concentrated yeast extract. For more leisurely breakfasts, some people enjoy baked beans, spaghetti or minced meat on toast.

The noon meal is usually quite light. Most people eat sandwiches during the work week. Other lunch foods include Australian meat pies (a flaky pastry filled with ground beef mixed in spices) and sausage rolls with hot chips (French fries). Children enjoy milk flavoured with vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, peppermint or spearmint. An afternoon snack may feature lamingtons (small sponge cakes with chocolate frosting and coconut) or pikelets (small pancakes) and tea.

A typical dinner consists of meat, potatoes and vegetables. Most families have barbeques and often grill their meat. One specialty is steak stuffed with oysters. The array of available seafood includes lobsters, Sydney rock oysters, barramundi fish, mud crabs, crayfish, prawns and snapper. Because of Australia's many immigrant communities, Asian, Greek, Italian and Thai dishes are also popular. Dessert is often fresh fruit, such as bananas, mangoes, pawpaws (papayas), pineapples, pears, apples and citrus fruits. A well-known dessert is pavlova, made with meringue, cream and fruit. The name honours the ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited Australia in the 1920s.

Tea has always been a typical Australian drink, but recently coffee has gained in popularity. Beer is the favourite alcoholic beverage in the country. Wine is becoming more popular, and Australian wines have won international awards.

   Did you know?

The Aborigines consider a certain type of insect larva, known as a "witchetty grub," a delicacy. Found at the roots of the acacia plant, this grub is white and the size of a baby carrot.

The Aborigines traditionally ground various seeds to make flour for a type of bread. Early settlers learned the technique and called the bread "damper." Kangaroo meat is another Aboriginal delicacy.



4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
250 ml castor sugar
3 drops vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
250 ml heavy cream
Strawberries, sliced passionfruit, sliced kiwi fruit


Heat oven to 110°C. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until frothy. Add sugar a little at a time and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff and sugar is dissolved. Add in vanilla extract and salt and cover a cookie sheet with brown paper. Draw a circle about 23 cm in diameter and spread the mixture evenly within the lines. Make a slight hollow in the centre for the filling. Bake for one hour. Turn off heat and let dry at least two hours. When ready to serve, whip cream until thick, fill the centre of the meringue and top with sliced fruit.