Top 10 Foods Only Australia Could Have Invented

Regular ES readers know that I love to celebrate/poke fun at the deep-fried ridiculousness that is American cuisine. My 2008 expose on the Top 10 Foods Only America Could Have Invented remains one of our most popular posts, and by far the most controversial. Every few days a new reader finds this story via social networks and leaves an outraged comment, intimating that I clearly must be a communist for daring to disrespect corn dogs. The BS haters’ favorite line of attack is pointing out that America is not alone in our attempt to deep fry every food. For example, Tav68 rails:

Someone needs to set this poster straight. America is actually number 11 on the list of the worlds fattest nations. This is Directly from the UN web site. Not from some reporter who wants to bash America but from the UN who keeps statistics on this type of thing NOT used for the purpose of Nation Bashing. Australia is the world’s fattest nation, with 36.2 percent of adults being obese…

Hey, point taken. While I have long believed no country can top America when it comes to the great art of artery clogging, I’m willing to give any of them a chance. So in honor of January 26 — Australia Day — and the fact that there is a bring the KFC double down sandwich to Australia facebook petition — I bring you the top 10 foods that only Australia could have invented:

10. Australian Hamburger with “The Lot”

australian hamburger with the lot

The Aussies may not have invented the hamburger, but they sure have taken it to levels not many cultures could have imagined. Ask for one with “the lot” and it will come loaded with a runny fried egg, bacon, cheese, beets (!), pineapple, tomato, lettuce, onions and ketchup (which they call tomato sauce). Makes the New Luther look like snack food. (Photo: Vanessa Pike-Russell)

9. Burger Rings

burger rings

Speaking of snack food, when you can’t find a burger with the lot in Australia, you can always grab a bag of burgers — a.k.a. these beef-y snack rings. If the thought of popping burger-flavored snack rings into your mouth makes you want to gag, then you probably won’t want to know that these things reportedly taste like semen.

8. Chiko Roll


Found at football matches and many Aussie fish-and-chip shops, the Chiko is basically a Chinese egg roll, only upgraded so that it’s large enough to serve as a whole meal. Inside, you’ll find more than just shredded cabbage: usually beef, barley, carrots, green beans and onions. (Photo: Wikipedia)

7. Bacon and Egg Pie


This is what I call a solid breakfast. As in most countries formerly ruled by Britain, Australians are obsessed with savory pies. The meat pie has even been referred to as the national dish here, and it can be made with anything from minced beef to lamb and steak. But how can you beat one stuffed with good ol’ bacon and eggs? (Photo: Wikipedia)

6. Potato Cakes

potato cakes

Now this is where the Australians really start to challenge us for the deep-fried crown. Smartly realizing that a plate of fried fish and chips just isn’t substantial enough for many people, many chippers here serve their fish with potato cakes — basically giant circles of mashed potatoes deep-fried within an inch of their life. This is one oversize side that puts french fries to shame. Check out Good Food Gourmet for a recipe.
(Photo: jbennett)

Next: Top 5 Foods Only Australia Could Have Invented

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50 thoughts on “Top 10 Foods Only Australia Could Have Invented

  1. Great list and hilarious commentary. It’s very interesting to hear an outside perspective. Thanks for the link to my blog, glad to have supplied the Dagwood dog pic. By the way, burger rings are quite tasty! I will send you a packet if you send me your address :)

  2. I’d eat the pie float if the red stuff was Sriracha instead of ketchup 😀

  3. Vegmite-“diplomatically” described is right. I would rather take a mouthful of the intriguing burger rings instead.

  4. pavlovas are fan*freakin*tastic. We made one not long ago and it was scrum*diddly*dum*diddly*delicious. It’s warm on the west coast today. Be jealous.

  5. The Bacon n Egg pie is actually Georgian-Armenian… very very delicious!

  6. I second westcoast’s love of the pavlova. Albeit in humane portions. There are even vegan versions that pop up at reputable bakeries in Los Angeles from time to time.

    As for vegemite, I love the stuff in small portions, so thank you, Australia. It makes a great soup base if you use just the tiniest dab and dilute the hell out of it. A great way to put some non-meat umami in your mouth. If it’s too much for you, try good old nutritional yeast (which you can dissolve in water and reduce to your heart’s content).

  7. I never did understand why the American never took to the savoury pie – give me steak or mince over pumpkin or blueberry any day of the week.

  8. You forgot the deep fried Kabana!! My favourite, but the Chiko roll is a close 2nd. The Chiko has a much thicker wrapping than anything resembling Chinese Spring Rolls and is deep fried of course. We also love pizzas with pineapple on them and call them “Hawaiian”.
    And yes the Kiwis try to claim all our foods, actors, singers…

  9. So now all I need to do is feed Burger Rings to all lady friends and sit back and wait for my male friends to thank me?

    Some clarifications – “Potato Cakes” are more commonly (east coast anyway) referred to as “Potato Scallops”. Sauce that stuff up and you’re laughing.

    Secondly, whilst the first nine are eaten regularly here, a meat-pie floater is an uncommon occurance, generally the result of heavy drinking and the encouragement of friends who secretly hate you. I have eaten it once. It was more unpleasant than you can imagine.

    Finally, some advice. Vegemite helps create perhaps the most flavoursome chicken skin you can get. Whisk some up and smear it all over that bird, then bake her up and you’ll be thanking me for years.

    Also, import yourselves some Tasty Toobs, made by Smiths/PepsiCo. Never has having the roof of your mouth destroyed been so tasty!

  10. As an Aussie, I have eaten Burger Rings many times, and I think whoever made the comparison to semen either has a very active imagination or has been tasting some very odd semen. I am gonna buy a pack soon though now that I have that comparison in mind…

    Got to agree with Aussie EMD though – you should skip the Burger Rings and go straight for the Toobs. No Australian childhood could be complete without them.

    Best way to enjoy the pie and peas thing is just to put some mushy peas (not soup!) on top of a pie, rather than submerging the whole thing, although both can be good. If you’re ever in Sydney, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels is an institution and I promise, as unlikely as it sounds, you would love it. (Being very drunk also helps.)

  11. Another favourite is the Aussie pizza comprising of bacon and egg toppings

  12. The World Health Organization (WHO) actually has released the top 10 fattest countries: and Australia is NOT on that list. I trust the WHO before I trust the UN… Here’s another link: this one Australia is 6th. I don’t know where this person found their list… I found a list from 2008 but we obviously learnt from that (or a lot of American’s just happened to be living in Australia at the time of the test :P)

  13. im so sick of kiwis trying to stake claim on the pavlova…it is australian…unlike russel crowe now there is one kiwi that i wish would stop saying hes an aussie

  14. I feel the rather scary need to point out the ‘potato cake’ has been around the North of the UK for years as the fish cake. Either battered (much preferred) with some lovely looking generic white fish ™ over the mashed potato, or, as served in schools 30 years ago, with some grey looking fish in breadcrumbs.

    I have to say that the former of these is quite the treat if you’re unable to accept chips (fries) and fish being separate.

  15. Pffts! Burger rings are amazing, if you like bacon and cheese balls youll love burger rings.

  16. I can’t believe no-one has mentioned chicken twisties and lamingtons.
    I made lamingtons for my USA co-workers plus my kids classes on Australia day. Since then the teachers and co-workers have been begging me to make them again. One of them referred to them as twinkie like things smothered in Chocolate and coconut.
    One thing I miss the most too, from Aus, is the bakers delight cheesymite scroll.

  17. great list, it made me miss home minus the chicco rolls. funny you did not include the famous and ever present on every pub menu ‘chicken parmigiana’. this is not an Italian dish. Italians make eggplant parmigiana which somehow evolved into chicken parmigiana – crumbed chicken breast (often deep fried) covered in napoli sauce and cheese (mozzarella or similar) and then grilled so that the cheese is melted and golden. serves are always huge and masses of chips are the accompaniment. great but you need to be hungry.

  18. I have never in my life eaten or seen a pie floater or dagward dog.
    Where did you find this?
    Love potato cakes mmm

  19. The average weight of an adult human is 137 pounds (62 kg) according to a league table of the world’s ‘fattest’ nations from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Find out how you compare to other adults using our interactive graphic.

    The pacific island nations of Micronesia and Tonga are at the top of the league table, followed closely by the United States where the average adult weighs 180.62 pounds (81.93 kg).

    The United Kingdom is the tenth fattest country in the world, where an average adult weighs 167.1 pounds (75.8 kg).

    The study, published in the journal BMC Public Health and launched on Monday at the United Nations conference Rio+20, highlights the problem of obesity in relation to the environment.

    Excess consumption shortens people’s lives and accelerates the destruction of the environment, and is concentrated in richer countries.

    While the average body mass globally was 62 kg, North Americans weigh in at 81.9 kg.

    And while the US makes up only five per cent of the world’s population, it accounts for almost a third of the world’s weight due to obesity.

    In comparison, Asia has 61 per cent of the world’s people but only 13 per cent of the world’s weight.

  20. And fuck heads Australian population is 22-23million

    United stated population is around 300-400million your fucking logic is flawed if you think Australia could ever be fatter then United States

    Get some logic it’s free with a pencil at a post office

  21. No one in Australia eats a pie floater, that’s English. So your list is really only 9.
    If you want something really Australian, you can’t go past a sausage roll in a roll, now thats Aussie tucker

  22. I feel that I must protest about some of the comments/descriptions of some of these foods:
    10. Burger with the Lot – Absolutely fantastic – photo does not do it justice.
    9. Burger Rings – Like bacon and cheese snacks. Not a fan, but… semen tasting??? Honestly? You are so totally wrong. Why would you even go there?
    7. Egg & Bacon Pie – An English invention. Not Australian. Haven’t you heard of Quiche Lorraine?
    6. Potato Cake. Also known as Potato Scallops in New South Wales, Although there are now companies out there who are now making them out of mashed potato (and are generally quite disgusting), most authentic fish and chips shops use sliced potato and they are great.
    3. Dagwood Dogs. Only seen at carnivals and fairs. I don’t know anyone who actually eats them.
    1. Pie Floater. Predominantly South Australian – rarely seen anywhere else.

    You forgot to add Dims Sims, invented in Melbourne, bur popular right around Australia. Steamed or deep fried. Something like a larger Chinese dumpling or wonton, but with a thicker wrapper and normally consists of a minced pork or lamb, cabbage and flavourings.

  23. I think a straight up meat pie rather than a bacon and egg one. With sauce. Plus Tim tams and lamingtons.

    Also I believe that chefs in both Australia and NZ created dessert dishes for Anna Pavlova when she toured in the 1920s. However, while the original NZ recipe was created first it in no way resembled the modern pavlova. It was instead a gelatin based custard. The recipe which stuck was created in Australia.

  24. I have never seen the pie floater thing before and I was born and raised in Australia. As for Vegemite it goes even better with cheese and some herbs and put under the grill.

    And to beat a Bacon and Egg pie try the Shepards pie it is mashed potato and steak minced up in a nice beef gravy, or a Quiche can beat that and guess what they can be used with some tomato sauce.

    And to beat all of it try a Tim Tam, they are like the crack of biscuits.

  25. what about tim tams??????
    * as for the pie floater……I have NEVER seen that ever and I am born and bred aussie.
    * Vegemite is best if it’s on hot toast with lots of butter and a small amount of veg, or in a sandwich with cheese.
    * burger rings tasting like semen is a bit rich, they aren’t my cup of tea, but they sure don’t taste like semen.

  26. what a load of crap…… i am an aussie born an bread now living in the US for the past year, i can honestly tell you all that Americans are way way way larger than Aussies, their portion sizes could feed a family of four and just about everything is covered in some kind of ghastly sauce.

    Aussie hamburgers are amazing with fresh salads etc, burger rings OMG… the best as for pie floater… never heard of that one but it sounds very English to me… vegemite is the best invention and is not just a sandwich spread… rubbed on pork crackle .. yum, yum,yum.

    Potato scallops were part of my childhood… i am stuck with greasy hash browns here… also McDonalds is the same all around the world, but in the US they have much larger menus including Bacon Sundaes…

    Now really….. facts are much easier to believe once you have lived both lifestyles.

  27. I’m from South Australia the home of the Pie Floater. For many years they where sold out of a van I think mainly at night (hangover cure) from two locations in Adelaide. I have only had one in my life but they are an iconic South Australian food. I’m not sure if the pie floater vans even exist now. No doubt in today’s world they have been gourmet up! As for the rest it also is all very South Australian too. In fact every thing on here is what we call it in SA. But the descriptions are off and as for the burger ring description the person who gave that description obviously has tainted taste buds and should try sucking on a Dagwood dog instead of what she/he obviously spends way to much time sucking on!!

  28. Australians haven’t really invented much in the food line, except perhaps the grotesque Chiko Roll (which, incidentally, is produced by a company with its HQ in Boise, Idaho). Pavlova is from New Zealand (despite the Aussie propaganda). Most of the other items have been eaten in England long before the Aussies invented them. Pie and peas is a traditional English dish, the Aussies just took the peas to excess. Vegemite was only produced because supplies of Marmite (a far more exquisite product) were interrupted by WWI. Potato scallops or fritters are old hat in England, etc., etc. Even classics like Melba toast and Peach Melba (named after the Aussie opera singer) were invented by Escoffier at the Savoy. Which just about leaves boston buns, beetroot on the burger and witchetty grubs as Australian. No wonder the Aussies are now the third most obese nation in the world! Give me a flat white and a cherry ripe.

  29. ps Tim Tams were copies of English Penguin biscuits – Arnotts admit that. Sausage rolls – Australian!? Give me a break – they were being eaten in England long before Australia. I live in the USA, have lived in England and spent a lot of time in Oz where I have family and the isolation in Australia is obviously getting to the folks down there.

  30. A somewhat misinformed list, do some research next time you spend time writing an article on food origins. It is quite possible the Sally Lunn aka the Boston Bun is Australian in origin, created some time in the 1950s. However the Pavlova is definitely not. The earliest mention found of the Pavlova as we know it in Australia is 1935. New Zealand beat out that date not once, but twice. It is well-documented. I have no time for willfully ignorant idiot commenters like Martine who have no idea of what they speak.

  31. The potato thing you describe is not what we get here in Australia. The potato inside would never be mashed. It is a slice of potato which has been battered and fried much like tempura veggies. And its called a potato scallop. So there.

  32. The potato cake is a slice of potato covered in batter deep fried. They are called potato cakes in Vic and in other parts potato scallops (like NSW). Yes the Pav is from NZ. Who cares if Vegemite was produced due to WW1 – it is distinctly Australian – (@John Kitchen – sounds like you have issues with Australia! – just get a therapist like most Americans and you’ll be right mate!) Yes, chicken Parma is great, Burger Rings too (especially in a buttered roll) and Dim Sims are awesome – South Melbourne Market one’s are the best ever!!!!! Missing all of these……….

  33. The potato cakes are made in Poland as well !!!!!!!

  34. read my comment and read this one to know what i am talking about……the potato cakes are potatoes mashed up then fried.

  35. If your semen tastes like Burger Rings you should go to the hospital – like right now.

  36. i think this is a great website i never knew australia inveted burger rings haha and i think pavalova is a kiwi invention but i aint sure

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