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Infamous Australian foods

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Chiko Roll

Imagine a wrapper of stodgy breadcrumbed dough filled with a mess of beef, veg, thickeners and flavourings, then deep-fried. Inspired by the spring roll, they say, but you could only get away with it in Australia.

Damper

Sounding positively wholesome in this company is this swagman’s staple – soda bread baked in a pot buried in the ashes of a fire. It’s not hard to make after a few attempts – the secret is in the heat of the coals and a splash of beer.

Lamington

A chocolate-coated sponge cube rolled in shredded coconut.

Pavlova

(“pav”). A dessert concoction of meringue with layers of cream and fruit; named after the eminent Russian ballerina. Made properly with fresh fruit and minimum quantities of cream and sugar, it’s not bad at all.

Pie floater

The apotheosis of the meat pie; a “pie floater” is an inverted meat pie swamped in mashed green peas and tomato sauce; found especially in South Australia. Floaters can be surprisingly good, or horrible enough to put you off both pies and peas for life.

Vegemite

Regarded by the English as an inferior form of Marmite and by almost every other nationality with total disgust, Vegemite is an Australian institution – a strong, dark, yeast spread.

Witchetty grubs

(witjuti). About the size of your little finger, witchetty grubs are dug from the roots of mulga trees and are a famous bushtucker delicacy. Eating the plump, fawn-coloured caterpillars live (as is traditional) takes some nerve, so give them a brief roast in embers. Either way, they’re oddly reminiscent of peanut butter.

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