Australian cuisine has evolved through centuries of influence from within and outside of Australia. It was much affected by the demand and supply of food ingredients – and the people who lived in the area.
Historical Background of Australian Food Preference
The Aboriginal people survived – and thrived – on native plants and animals of the vast Australian lands and water. When the early settlers arrived, the landscape and range of produce available was very new and different than what they had in the fields of Britain and Ireland. So, they introduced European varieties: produced European crops and raised European herds, for their food. Flour was a staple item; beef, pork and mutton were their source of meat; tea was a staple and necessary drink; salt was highly prized; and rum was a valued commodity.
The early explorers of the 1800s brought sheep or cattle and a supply of flour, tea, sugar and salt for their food. Their oxen and horses served as a beast of burden and food source when needed. Others exchanged goods with the Aboriginals and adapted their food gathering habits, while others chose to kill their own pack of animals.
Multicultural Influences on Australian Food
During the Gold Rush Era in the 1850s, farm labourers deserted their plots to join in the gold-digging madness. Supplies became hard to find and very expensive: the price of flour doubled in Melbourne; fresh milk was a luxury; fruits and vegetables became rare. At this time, an influx of Chinese immigrants arrived, under a system of indentured labour. Most of these Chinese labourers came from rural backgrounds and brought with them their agricultural and water management skills. That’s why when mining became less profitable, the Chinese population went into market gardening, which became a niche industry for them. During that period, around one-third of the Chinese in Australia were engaged in market gardening. But as the Chinese population declined in Australia, so did the Chinese market gardeners. The last of the original market gardens finally disappeared in the 1950s.
Other multicultural influences have also made an impact on the Australian cuisine. The European immigrants, such as Germans, Italians and French, of the 20th century pioneered the Australian wine industry, which has continued to grow through the 21st century. Espresso coffee has overpowered tea; pasta has become a popular choice; and cultural and religious food requirements have been widely practiced.
21st-Century Australian Cuisine
The 21st century has seen the Australians’ growing interest in the foods and drinks of Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa. But the Australians’ craving for Italian, Greek, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese cuisines is still heightened as ever. That’s why Palms Restaurant, a Melbourne restaurant that serves fresh-to-order Asian cuisines for more than 15 years, continues to please the Australian palates with their buffet of oriental food. For authentic Malaysian, Indian and Chinese food in Melbourne, Palms Restaurant cooks up real Asian goodness.
Bringing Asia to the heart of Melbourne, there’s nothing more satisfying than fresh, quality ingredients cooked to order for a sumptuous dinner, social gathering or corporate function. This is a fusion of Asian flavours that Australians have grown to love.