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 Oh how I miss the food from my home! This is the most used exclamation from those who came for the first time to Australia. Hey, the food here is very good! But if you are not a New Zealander, a British or an American, it will take a while until you get along with it. Australia is in the list of the most obese countries in the world due food habits, despite the fact there is a parcel of the population reversing it, and getting more health staff on the table. Because Australians works long journeys and don't have house employees, the solution is to buy ready to go foods in thousands of take away, as the greasy and unhealthy Fish and Chips, Pizza Deliveries, Giant Burgers, Fried Sausage Rolls, Meat Pies, Carved fat-rich Roasts, and so on. But for those fortunate enough to take care of their eating, there are plenty of excellent options in the Supermarkets and Local Corner Markets to satisfy any need, including organic food and natural food shops. Australia has culinary influences from every single country in the world, and it is a paradise to taste different foods. Immigrants from every country bought with them their food influences, so you will find many before imported products, now are being made in Australia.

The biggest influence of all is Asian, followed by the Greek and  Italian cuisines, with pasta and seafood Mediterranean Style. Older Australians still preserve the British Style eating Menu, with the traditional Pork in Apple sauce, and Lamb with mint sauce, all served with 3 vegetables, usually, carrots, peas and potatoes. Talking about potatoes, 10 in 10 Australian love it. It is a must in any Australian home at least once a week. Another Australian passion, is for sauces. Doesn't matter what you're eating, it must have a sauce on it. The favorite Australian sauce is the tomato one, available in dozens of brands and hundreds of styles from very sweet or with lots of cinnamon, to hot as hell. Depending from which country you are, you will notice differences in the way the meat is prepared and its final taste. Cattle in Australia are mostly feed on grains which brings a weaker taste from the ones that graze on the grass. The same happens about seafood. I don't know yet the reason, but they have a less accentuated taste than seafood from Mexico, South America , Caribbean or  South Africa. I guess it is because when I buy it from supermarkets or fish markets, they have been frozen before. Prawns or Shrimps are mostly sold cooked, and the raw ones called "green" are sold from a bow with water, ice and salt. This salt marinating staff, takes a bit of the natural flavor out. Australian cheeses are from very good quality, but the opposite happens, there is not enough salt to taste it. Anyway, depending on your cultural background you may not notice these differences and love it. Taste is always something that nobody is right or wrong about it.

Eating Style depends on the cultural background of the family For example: Australian families with European background will serve mainly European style food, and Asian families, Asian food. But due the globalization, and the multiculturalism in Australia, don't be surprised to eat European food in an Asian home, and Asian food in an European home.  Another thing is the habits of each culture. While Italian love to talk and gesticulate during dinner time, European prefers to eat in silence. Australian families sit to eat in group, and talk about the day and any problems they had or have to solve. The breakfast is constituted of cereal, toast, fruit and a fruit juice. Lunch usually is a sandwich of something, a cake, or the beloved Australia meat pie. Other Australian passion is the Barbie, a short for barbecue. It consists of a grill, heated by charcoal or gas, where you place some steaks and sausages. The Barbie is eaten usually on a half band of bread with a sauce on it, and don't have place or date to happen. Any day and anytime, as soon as you are not busy or working, the time may come. The Vegemite® (pictured above) is another typical Australian food. It is made out of wheat and cereals resulting in a salty dark brown paste. Kids love to spread it on the bread for school break lunch. Some other kids like my daughter loves to eat canned Spaghetti Bolognese inside the bread (AGH!).

 Tip: If you like mussels, the supermarket sells the New Zealand Mussel, considered one of the best in the world. (they have a green shell and is much cheaper then the Australian's black shell counterpart).

  Beverages: The speed people drink alcohol beverages in Australia is amazing. This is a remain from the period when  bars and pubs in Australia had to close down by 6 pm. Because most people works till 5 pm, there was only one hour left to have a few beers, so, you had to be fast. Nowadays, the speed had slow down a little bit, but not that much. Beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in Australia, and it must be very cold. Due the increasing quality of Australian wines and consequent drop in prices, the wine became also a very popular beverage. One of the greatest Australia inventions on packaging is the "CASK" (pictured). It is a Carton box with a tap to regulate the amount desired, with no corks to be taken out or back in. Very easy, simple and cheap. Just to have an Idea, a 4 liters Casks cost about AU$ 12, and the wine is very good. Every State in Australia have different laws about drinking and in Queensland for example, supermarkets and others can not sell alcohol, only "Bottle Shops" found in almost every corner. They are open most days from 10 am to 10 pm, 7 days a week. Restaurants, bars, pubs and some cafes can sell alcohol as soon as they have a license to do so. Some not licensed, are allowed to deal as BYO ( bring your own), so it means they don't sell alcohol, but if you bring yours from home, it is OK. The law all over Australia is very rigid for drinking and driving offences with severe penalties and even prison. Drink in public places (parks, beach, etc..) also can attract fines depending on the State you are. In Queensland the fine is AU$ 75 for the first offence. One of the most popular beers in Australia is called VB = Victoria Bitter or as my Australian friend call it, The Very Best. In Queensland, the  XXXX ( four x) is very popular also, but it is weaker than the VB. The small bottles of beer are called Stubbies. The minimum drinking age is Australia is 18.

Prices:  A box of beer with 24 cans costs about AU$ 27. A glass of beer in a pub or restaurant about AU$ 2,50  to 3,50. To know more prices in Australia, please visit our Page of Costs

Smoking: is not allowed in every place in Australia that sells food. Some, have special smoking areas, but the number is dropping very much despite the fact the number of smokers in Australia is very big, even with cigarettes prices above the moon ( Au$ 12 for 20 cigarettes pack). A person who smokes 1 pack a day in Australia, will burn in a year the equivalent to a round the world trip.

Note: To have an idea about the importance of the meat pie in Australia, the quantity of meat is regulated by law and cannot be inferior to 25% of the total weight of the pie. Competitions to find the best meat pie maker in Australia is carried out annually and can bring prestige a big buck to the winners.

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