Snacking in Sydney- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

If there are two idiosyncrasies that define the average Australian, those have to be the propensity to shorten almost every name and then add an ‘O’ as a suffix to it. So, a liquor shop is transformed into ‘Bottle-O’ and good old McDonald’s into ‘Macca’s’.

This name-shortening quirk can be seen applied to a wide berth of snacks too. Down Under is not only famous for its breathtaking landscapes and unique wildlife but also for its distinctive quick bites. Especially those found in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales and general arbiter of all things delicious and typically Aussie.

Given its outdoorsy culture, most snacks in Sydney are designed to fall into the grab-and-go category. Take one of the most beloved chicko rolls, for example.

Created in 1951 as an iteration of the Chinese spring roll, it is a deep-fried pastry roll filled with a mix of vegetables, meat and spices. Enjoyed with tomato sauce (as ketchup is called there), it has become a staple at outdoor events like the annual Vivid Sydney Festival of light, music and ideas.

Another classic is the savoury pie. The city has its own unique take on this dish. The single-serving pastry is filled with fillings such as minced meat, steak, chicken or vegetables. Typically topped with a layer of tomato sauce, it can be enjoyed as a hearty meal.

A popular choice for lunch, one can find them in bakeries, cafes and even some fast-food chains. While they resemble British pork pies, savoury pies taste nothing like them. The focus here is on the filling, not the pie crust.

Speaking of British munchies, the Aussies have an adaptation of the chip butty. Only here, the sandwich is made and eaten sans its French fry-filled core. Called a sanga in the local dialect, there is a variety made with vegemite.

Vegemite spread, fairy bread and lamingtons.

An acquired taste, vegemite is made from yeast extract and is salty and savoury. When spread thinly on buttered bread, it creates a simple yet delicious snack that is a staple in many households. While some may find it too strong, many Aussies can’t start their day without it.
Another must-have Sydney special is the sausage roll.

Like the savoury pie and sanga, this one, too, is a legacy of Australia’s British colonial past. The rolls consist of seasoned ground meat encased in a flaky pastry—always served with a splodge of tomato sauce. Our desi mutton and chicken patties, made primarily by Mumbai’s East Indian community, come close to these in terms of taste and texture.

Speaking of Australia Day, another beloved treat that one will most likely be served on that day is Lamingtons. These soft sponge cake squares are coated in a layer of chocolate icing and rolled in desiccated coconut. Sometimes, they are also filled with jam or cream. A bit similar to mava cakes, except they are rolled in a fluffy layer of coconut flakes.

Fairy bread is a whimsical treat that has delighted generations of children Down Under. It is also something you’ve probably never seen or can draw any analogies to. The origins can be traced back to the 1920s when it first appeared in Australian cookbooks. Its creator remains a mystery, but it quickly gained popularity as a simple and affordable treat. It consists of slices of fresh white bread generously slathered with butter and covered with a layer of vibrant rainbow sprinkles. The result is a colourful, crunchy and utterly more-ish snack that is often served at children’s parties, picnics and other festive occasions.

After sugar-obsessed Indians and Americans, it is the Aussies who can easily claim the third spot. Now, if there are two iconic biscuits that no list is complete without, they would have to be Tim Tams and ANZAC biscuits.

The former, akin to Bourbon biscuits, consists of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit filled with a smooth chocolate cream and coated in a layer of chocolate. Don’t miss out on a unique ritual called the ‘Tim Tam Slam’, which involves biting off the opposite corners of the biscuit and using it as a straw to drink hot beverages like milk, tea or coffee.

ANZAC biscuits.

On the other hand, ANZAC biscuits have a cultural and patriotic symbolism to them. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and these were traditionally made and sent to soldiers serving overseas during World War I.

Made primarily from rolled oats, flour, sugar, coconut and golden syrup, the biscuits have a distinctive chewy texture and a rich, caramelised flavour. Their durability allowed them to withstand long journeys to the frontlines, making them a practical choice for care packages. Today, the biscuits are enjoyed year-round and are particularly popular during ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand.

Last but not least, you cannot avoid the childish glee of eating a Golden Gaytime. This kiddie treat features a combination of creamy vanilla and toffee-flavoured ice cream, coated in chocolate and covered with crunchy biscuit crumbs. It has been a favourite among Australians, and even tourists, for decades and is often enjoyed during hot summer days. Which itself, very much in keeping with the leitmotif of Aussie quirkiness, is during the months of December to February.

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