Food is a big part of the Londolozi Experience and because of this we make sure that we have only the very best, most interesting meals on our menu. Executive Chef Anna Ridgewell took the opportunity on a recent food safari in the Land Down Under to explore the tastes of Australia and gather inspiration for the meals that she prepares in her Londolozi Kitchen. Her quest was to find the National Dish of Australia. Visiting many different restaurants – well known and loved – she searched the cities of Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth for the country’s defining dish.
Anna writes: “Not to say that I hadn’t eaten an incredible amount of seriously delicious and mouth-watering food, I was still looking for a national dish from the Land Down Under – a dish that was synonymous with the country, a dish that anyone worldwide would know was affiliated with Australia – so, I headed off to Perth…”
Perth is a vibrant city home to the beautiful Kings Park – an estuary of green grass, indigenous trees and plants and exotic birdlife – an idyllic place to have a picnic.
I was fortunate to have a brilliant tour guide, in the form of my brother Paul! Together with his family we headed off to the Swan River Valley where an entire food haven awaited. For any foodie or wine fundi, take a day in Perth to amble through the city’s amazing estates.
I discovered an immense liking for Sauvignon Blanc Semillon whilst in Perth, so we started at Houghton Wines – Houghton Winery has been proudly producing award-winning Western Australian wines for over 175 years.
One of my favourite things to eat is a good cheese, and I wasn’t disappointed at the Cheese Barrel in the Swan Valley. We had two different platters with a “Flight of Australian Wines” – the cheese was distinctly different in flavour to any South African Cheese I’d ever tasted.
As many of you will know, I’m a pushover for a good supermarket or food market. A brand new Coles had opened in Joondalup and as the main sponsor of Masterchef Food items, I had to go check it out.
Still on my venture for the ultimate Australian dish, and after an exhausting two hours in Coles, up and down every aisle checking out the many different varieties of food, it was time to head off to try the Grill’d burger – a burger joint that serves up “healthy burgers”.
Grill’d has a simple mission – to make burgers good. They use 100% grass fed lean beef and lamb that is free from all added antibiotics and hormones – just like their chicken. After having the lamb burger with beetroot relish (a rather common Australian combination it seems!) I did not disagree – it was delicious.
Scouting For Australia’s National Dish
My next stop was at Jamie Oliver’s Italian in the city centre of Perth. What a treat to get a booking and a bigger treat to dine with my brother who is also a great foodie. As I am not a great decision maker when it comes to delicious food, we ordered a selection of dishes. I’d heard about the Lamb Tortellini and the Seafood Pasta – this did not disappoint.
One of the great things about Perth is how many beautiful places you can visit all within 30 minutes to an hour’s drive.
On my last Saturday, we headed to the town of Fremantle – an amazing town steeped in culture. A quick train ride from the city and we started to stroll down the streets – I was on a mission to find the Organic market – only open on Fridays and Saturdays, and I did…
Reflections of the Trip
As I flew back from Australia after an incredible Food Safari, I sat and thought again – what is Australia’s National Dish? Had I found it? Is there one? I mentioned that I had spoken to many Aussie locals about this, they also weren’t quite sure. These were a few suggestions…
Lamingtons, Lamb, Beetroot, Coleslaw, Pies, Tim Tams, Rocky Road?
In conclusion I came up with the notion that there is NO actual national dish of Australia!
Australia has the most incredible collection of fusion foods – you can enjoy Italian, Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian or Mexican basically all on one street.
In my opinion, I would say that the only “food” synonymous with Australia is the Tim Tam and even this humble chocolate biscuit has been hyped up by celebrity chefs such as Adrian Zumba – Red Velvet, Turkish Delight and Orange are some of the new flavours.
Thank you Paul and Aimee for being fantastic hosts. I look forward to my next visit!
What in your opinion is the National Dish of Australia? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
Written and Photographed by: Anna Ridgewell