Words by Jennifer Johnston
Australia is renowned for long stretches of sandy beaches and inland regional hubs where quirky and fun go hand in hand. The same goes with Australian treats or snack food. Our multi-cultural society is reflected in the diversity of Australian snacks available. And our cheeky, fun side is often mirrored in their names.
Every Australian has grown up with an assortment of unique Aussie snacks that can still be purchased from supermarkets or the local corner store. The only difference with the snacks of our childhood, will be a change in the packaging.
Whether your palate prefers sweet over savoury, or vice versa, Aussie snacks have you covered.
Before we get to the sweet, let’s discuss the best savoury snacks from Australia.
This iconic Australian snack was inspired by Chinese egg rolls, introduced in this country by Chinese-Australians. A snack meant to be eaten on the go, the roll contains a mixture of processed beef and vegetables, wrapped in a deep-fried thick egg and flour dough. Mysteriously these rolls contain no chicken, but that is quintessentially Australian – larrikin by name and by nature.
There is nothing from the name that gives anything away about these Aussie snacks but what party would be complete without a bowl of shapes on the table? This Australian snack comes in various flavours: Pizza, Chicken Crimpy, Cheese and Bacon, Barbeque and Cheese (sometimes Triple cheese) Not entirely sure what a ‘crimpy’ is (the biscuit edges are in fact ‘crimped’) but the chicken variety are the most popular. And from time to time they add to a limited special range, with flavours like Vegemite. More than likely you’re going to need to be Australian to enjoy those!
Speaking of vegemite, I should mention ‘Vegemite Worms.’ And no, I’m not suggesting you go and dig some from your garden soil. This will require a Vita-Weat crispbread (made with 100% wholegrains, so label this your more ‘healthy Australian snack’.) Spread one crispbread with a little butter and Vegemite, top it with another crispbread and squeeze the two together. If the butter is soft enough, little ‘worms’ appear through the tiny holes in the crispbread.
The chunky meat pie is a favourite Australian food at football games. A family-sized meat pie might be considered more of a meal than a snack, but if you know any hungry teenage boys, they consider these an Aussie snack. Often slathered in tomato sauce and / or mushy peas (watch your shirt front for spillage) the meat pie is not all about beef. There are chicken, and vegie pies to suit all tastes. And if you don’t want the full-size pie, you can opt for the party pie version. (Along with mini sausage rolls they are the perfect party snack.)
The name Twisties comes from their contorted shapes. The original version came in cheese flavour, but now chicken has joined the party. Personally, I’m a fan of the cheese flavour kind and love snacking on Twisties at the movie (mouth closed of course to prevent fellow movie goers listening to the crunch.) If you don’t like licking the flavour from your fingers these Aussie snacks are not for you.
And for those who like a little sugar in their Australian food.
Another Australian snack food children-party favourite. Not made by mythical flying creatures, fairy bread is simply fresh white bread, spread with a thin coating of butter and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. Nothing beats a crunch of sweet on savoury.
Most important: cut the crusts off the bread.
Time to transition into the best sweet Australian snacks
Hundreds and Thousands biscuits
Do not think Fairy Bread is the only home for Hundreds and Thousands. Arnott’s, the largest producer of biscuits in Australia have created another popular sweet treat. A vanilla baked biscuit (bikkie in Aussie slang) topped with pink icing and a sprinkle of hundreds and thousands. Not much imagination used in naming them! Perfect for dunking in your glass of milk (kids) or cup of tea (big kids.)
This perennial favourite is one of the best Australian snacks the Arnott’s company has created. A biscuit layered with chocolate is the go-to after dinner snack, I feel is enjoyed more so when chilled in the fridge.
Try a Tim Tam slam – slurping your tea or coffee through a Tim Tam. You cannot get any more silly and yummy than that! Not as exclusive to Australia as they once were, I’ve seen Tim Tams for sale in a supermarket in Tokyo and in Sainsburys in London.
What’s not to love about the combination of crunchy honeycomb covered in chocolate? Again, I suggest placing these in the fridge for that extra crunch of honeycomb. They are a smashing addition crumbled over ice-cream.
These delicious mint-infused chewie lollies add a freshness to your breath. They also come – in novelty wrappings with a comic element to them. Great road-trip sweets. You can challenge car passengers to try the Mintie-tearing competition (carefully tear a Mintie wrapper into the longest piece.)
These buttery sugary oat biscuits were consumed by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) in World War I. So, keeping the tradition and memory of the troops alive, the name has stuck to this humble Aussie snack. If you try and bake your own, be mindful of the baking time for either less or more crunch. Longer baking time means crunchier Anzac biscuits.
These are chunks of fresh sponge cake, coated in chocolate glaze and then rolled in desiccated coconut. Once the chocolate sets, the sponge cake’s surface hardens, giving the Lamington its unique appeal.
Some versions have jam and fresh cream inside. They rival the scone for a sweet treat with your tea and coffee.
Morning tea anyone?
Jennifer Johnston is an Australian freelance travel and lifestyle writer living in Brisbane. When travelling, apart from sampling the local food, she enjoys discovering people’s stories, exploring nature and the outdoors. Visit Jennifer’s travel blog, Travel Bug Within or find join her adventures on Instagram