Australia's Cuisine & 8 Quick Tips for Eating Healthy on a Budget

Australia is a culinary paradise with a rich variety of foods and drinks representative of its multicultural influences. As food here is varied, it is priced differently. Try to find cheap and easy ways to eat healthy.


Australia's cuisine culture


Australian cuisine is well-known for being ever-changingdiverse and innovative. Australia has food from all over the world, and visitors here are generally adventurous eaters. Thus, there are no hard-and-fast rules for cooking in this country.


Modern Australian food habits have been derived from British and Irish food traditions, and heavily influenced from migrants from the Mediterranean, Asia and other places. Migrants keep their traditional cuisine alive, but over time also discover previously unfamiliar dishes. That’s why you can be assured that you will adapt to local tastes when studying English in Australia.


Iconic Australian foods




You are likely to come across some typical Australian food when studying abroad in Australia:

  • Anzac biscuits - These sweet cookies were originally made by the wives of ANZACs soldiers (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) during World War I. Today, they are peacefully enjoyed at tea parties and to celebrate ANZAC Day, April 25th.
  • Aussie barbecue - A typical Aussie barbecue includes beef burgers, steak, fresh seafood, bread, sausages and tomato or barbecue sauce.
  • Barramundi - The word, barramundi, originates from an Australian dialect, translated as ‘big river fish’. It can be fried, baked, grilled or barbecued. No matter how it is cooked, this fish makes an extremely delicious dish.
  • Burgers with ‘the lot’ - Despite the invasion of the American Hamburger, you can still get an Aussie burger with the lot. It is made up of a lot of goodies (lettuce, tomato, beef patty, cheese, ketchup, beetroot, fried onions, bacon, pineapple and even a fried egg on the top).
  • Chiko rolls - It is an Australian version of Chinese egg roll. It is stuffed with meat, barley, cabbage, carrots, celery and rice before being fried with oil. 
  • Damper - As a traditional Australian bread, damper consists of a wheat flour based bread, water (or milk) and salt, all of which are mixed and baked in the coals of a campfire or in a camp oven. 
  • Fish & Chips - Both the fish and potato chips are fried in oil. This is a simple, easy-to-do and delicious meal very suitable for international students in Australia. 
  • Lamingtons - These are cube-shaped cakes dipped in chocolates and coated in coconut.
  • Meat pies - Around 24 million Australians are estimated to consume 300 million meat pies each year. This is also a very familiar food for international students in Australia, as it is easy to buy, delicious, convenient and very reasonably priced.
  • Pavlova - Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet actress in the 1920s, was the inspiration for the dessert of the same name. Its ingredients consist of a meringue cake coated with fruit and fresh cream. 
  • Tim Tams - Tim Tams (also known as miracles) are one of Australian favorites. They are made from two layers of chocolate-malted biscuit separated by a light chocolate filling and coated in chocolate.
  • Vegemite - This brown paste looks a bit like Nutella, but it tastes different. The paste is made from fermented mushrooms, tasted salty and a bit of bitter. The advice is that you should spread a thin layer on a piece of toasted bread, and it’s time to enjoy a good source of Vitamin B and folic acid.

Australian eating habits


Australians tend to eat three meals a day:

  • Breakfast - This is usually a light meal but still gives you enough energy for the morning. Typical Australian breakfasts are cereal, toast, milk, fresh fruit.
  • Lunch - eaten around 12 - 2pm usually with a sandwich, curry, noodles, sushi or pizza. Fresh fruits are also their favourites. Australians drink tea and have afternoon tea (3pm) and morning tea (10am) much the way the British do. 
  • Dinner - the main meal of the day is eaten in the evening. Family members will spend time dining together or some families will gather for dinner. Australians enjoy the fun, bustling atmosphere of gathering. The popular dishes are barbecued meat, vegetables, pasta, pizza, casseroles, fish and seafood, salads, soups, fried potatoes. Australians like beer and there is a huge consumption of this drink in the country, followed by the Australian wine.

Tips for eating healthy on a budget




Some cheap and easy ways you can refer to manage your food:


1. Visit inexpensive markets in Sydney:

  • If you want to buy fresh seafood, visit Sydney Fish Market in Pyrmont.
  • Register for a seafood cooking class or buy homeware, homemade jewellery or homemade jams at the Rocks Market on Saturday.
  • Shop at the Rozelle weekend markets or at the Glebe Market on Saturday.

2. Coles and Woolworths are two of the well-known supermarket chains in Australia. These places are quite convenient and cost-effective.


3. Buy supermarket specific products, as they are cheaper than other brands. For example, if you go to Coles, you would rather buy the ‘Coles Garlic Aioli’ than some other brand.


4. Frozen vegetables are much cheaper than fresh ones and with just about the same nutritional value.


5. Cook for a week’s worth meals during the weekends so that you can get more time for study and other activities for the rest of the week. Also, cooking is cheaper and generally healthier than take-out.


6. Search out daily/weekly specials in the supermarket.


7. Working part-time in Australia not only helps you to pay for your living expenses but also gives you the opportunity to practise your English skills. International students in Australia on student visas can work up to 40 hours per fortnight during their study period, and there is no limit on the number of hours an overseas student can work during holiday periods from their study.


8. Treat yourself once in a while, even if it means spending a little! This is one of the best ways to fight stress and home-sickness.