G’day! There’s a lot of great reasons to visit Australia isn’t there? The wildlife, the people, the beaches, the laid back vibes and of course the fine chunk of Australian beef, Hugh Jackman (you’re welcome). But, when it comes to eating in Australia, there are a lot of things that will simply be confusing for our American neighbors, like the portion sizes for starters, which is why I made this list to help you avoid disappointment and confusion on your holiday down under. Some of these things I can relate to (but in reverse) when I think about the first time I visited America – wha
10 Differences that make Eating in Australia Confusing AF for Americans
Chips and Fries
When the waiter asks if you would like chips and salad with your steak, say yes. In this context, when the term ‘chips’ is used they are referring to what Americans would call ‘fries’. A bag of potato chips, like what you would eat while watching a big game, are also called chips so you can see the confusion you might face. Also, hot chips & seafood on the beach is a quintessential thing to do so give it a try by getting some from any fish market near a beach like Sydney Fresh Seafood in Manly.
Lemonade and Sprite
In America, there is a distinct difference between the term ‘lemonade’ and ‘Sprite’, however, in Australia, they are both called ‘lemonade’. Again, you can see the confusion for travelers. Additionaly, if you are at a restaurant and ask for a lemonade you will likely be served Sprite, because what Americans would call lemonade isn’t as common in Australia.
Biscuits and Cookies
Be prepared for some raised eyebrows if you ask for biscuits and gravy in Australia. In ‘Strayan speak asking for biscuits and gravy is like asking for a chocolate chip cookie and gravy and that’s just weird isn’t it? For Aussies, the term ‘biscuit’ refers to what Americans would call ‘cookies’, whereas ‘biscuits’ as Americans would know them, are closer to a scone or damper, which you won’t find at most restaurants served with dinner.
Sandwiches and Burgers
Down under there is a difference between a sandwich and a burger. A ‘sandwich’ is used when slices are bread, toasted or not, are used to encase the fillings. The classic steak sandwich, which is a must try by the way, is an example of this. A ‘burger’ is used when a bun is used to encase the fillings, for example a Big Mac.
I’ll admit, this is confusing whether you are eating in Australia or just traveling around because Australians are known for their secondary slang language of simply shortening every word. Cup of coffee or tea to ‘cuppa’, McDonalds to ‘Maccas’, biscuit to ‘bikkie’ or breakfast to ‘breakky’. It’ll certainly keep you on your toes or just make the whole experience more confusing.
Coriander and Cilantro
Looking for a little ‘cilantro’ to add to your meal? That’s what the Aussies call ‘coriander’. It’s also at the center of some hilarious memes for being the worst herb in the universe. There are even Facebook pages to bring people together against this vile tasting garnish – check out the ‘I hate coriander’ page for a laugh.
Entree, Appetizer, Main
In Australia, an entree is the starter course. When a menu says entree think of things like potato skins, bruschetta or a blooming onion – which is not Australian dish by the way so don’t expect to see it anywhere. The main course is called just that or on a menu it might read ‘mains’ for short.
Capsicum and Pepper
While you are traveling in the great southern land you might see ‘capsicum’ listed as an ingredient on a menu and find yourself wondering what in the blue hell a capsicum is. It’s simple, a capsicum is what Americans would call a ‘bell pepper’ or ‘pepper’ for short. If you asked for pepper on your Subway sandwich you would probably just get pepper not the bell peppers you are actually asking for.
Weird & Wonderful Foods
You probably know the Kangaroo as a beloved and internationally recognized Aussie icon, but you may not know that it tastes great with cranberry sauce! You might not see the weird and wonderful foods such as Crocodile, Emu, Camel or Kangaroo everywhere while you are out and about eating in Australia, but if you do see weird options like here at the Australian Heritage Hotel in Sydney, why not let your tastebuds have a workout & give it a shot!
Iced Coffee and Coffee on Ice
When you go to a cafe in Australia and order an ‘iced coffee’, it’s quite a decadent drink. You will get a parfait glass with a shot of coffee, scoop of ice cream, milk and whipped cream topped with chocolate powder. This one was a big shock for me when I moved to America, because ordering an ‘iced coffee’ in America literally means ordering a coffee on ice. If you want to try a good one, get one from The Coffee Club which is like a Starbucks equivalent so you should be able to find one no matter which state you visit.