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5 Foods Travelers Must Try When in Australia

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July 21, 2014 12:39 PM EST

Australia is so rich in culture that it offers a grand smorgasbord for your senses. Aside from appreciating the natural wonders and listening to stories of the country's great historical past, you can also enjoy a variety of sumptuous meals and treats.

Reuters/Brendan McDermid
A jar of the Australian spread Vegemite in New York in this October 24, 2006 file photo

Some dishes are quite exotic and feature ingredients never found in other places, so proceed with caution. Here are some of the most unique Australian eats all travellers must try at least once.

1. Lamingtons

These are old-style Australian cakes with various recipes passed on from generation to generation. The pastry is first made in a cubed vanilla sponge cake although it may appear in other shapes. The cake is then dipped in coconut and chocolate icing. These are great with tea and coffee. Some versions have raspberry or strawberry jam in the center.

2. Vegemite or marmite

Vegemite is a food paste created from leftover brewer's yeast extract with different spices and vegetable additives. It is ideal to spread on toast, croissants and other pastries. Tourists might need some time to get used to the taste, described as salty and a bit bitter. There are several ready-to-eat versions in jars available at groceries around Australia, although some old shops might offer homemade creations.

3. Meat pies

The meat pies in Australia are among the best in the world, featuring top quality beef or pork with gravy contained in a tender pastry. It is best eaten straight from the oven with some ketchup or tomato sauce on top. Be careful about fresh ones though, since the meat can be scalding hot to the tongue.

4. Australian steak

Australian beef is among the best in the world. Tourists should not fail to visit some of the most popular steakhouses in the country, like Kingsley in Sydney. To fully appreciate the meat, have these cooked rare or medium rare. Those with soft stomachs should have these cooked well done just to be safe.

5. Potato cakes

These are better versions of French fries. The potatoes are mashed then made into big circles. These are then deep fried with generous amounts of salt. Many restaurants in Canberra and Melbourne serve these together with fried haddock or trout. You can purchase these also from street vendors, and eat as a snack as you explore the other landmarks of the country.

(Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid / )
A jar of the Australian spread Vegemite in New York in this October 24, 2006 file photo
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