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Beetroot

Never in my life had I ever seen anyone eat beetroot so often — Not until I came to Australia. Also known as the table beet, red beet, garden beet or just plain beet, this delicious and nutritious veggie has been a staple in Australian kitchens for nearly 50 years.

There are many benefits one can get from eating beetroots. It’s not only a natural detoxifier and blood purifier, but it is also an excellent source of iron. Beetroots are also an antioxidant and are rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6 {source}.

Beetroot is often pickled and packaged in tin cans, sold more typically in this fashion in Australia, but the variety of ways that it is served in Australia is quite noticeable:

Dip: Beetroot dip is often found among the other dips at the supermarket. You’ll be safe to bring it with you if asked to bring any dips to a party because nearly everyone here loves it.
◌ Salad topping: Often I’ve seen it included in the ingredients of a variety of homemade garden salads here in Oz. Click here to see a few ways it’s used in recipes.
Roasted: Aussies seem to love roasted vegetables, especially potatoes. A few times I’ve had roasted beetroots served to me with horseradish and sour cream {similar recipe here}.
Risotto: Served with a chicory salad to balance sweetness, this is a very healthy and delicious comfort food.
Sandwiches: Good on a sandwich and great on an Aussie hamburger, which the Aussies call “the lot” — All about that here.


Do Aussies really love beetroots?
Yes. Check out this link, this linkthis link and this link to see the proof!

Does McDonald’s in Australia serve a burger with beetroot?
Every so often “Maccas” sells the “McOz” — As I write this, they are selling them again… I’ve never tried one because I’m not a fan of fast food places like McDonald’s, but here is a commercial with the burger:

I am in Australia and really would just like to try pickled beetroots. Where should I look?
The supermarket. One popular brand of pickled beetroots Down Under is Golden Circle, and with a selection of whole, diced, sliced and wedged beetroots you’ll be able to easily open a can and plop some into a dish.

Do you like beetroots?
I do, yes — Especially beetroot dip. But I’ve always like beets, so it took no adjusting for me… What about you? What do you think of beetroots?

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Beetroot dip!

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"The Lot"

Aussies also have their own version of a hamburger. This was introduced to me here immediately, as I am an American and everybody in the world seems to associate hamburgers and cheeseburgers automatically with Americans. This hamburger with “the lot” was shared with me as if it were meant to impress me… And it did. It was delicious, filling and almost impossible to eat without drooling at the first sight of it.

The burger with “the lot” in Australia is typically available at pubs, restaurants and take-away shops [or fish and chip shops] throughout Oz. The toppings between the buns are usually:

· Beef patty
· Cheese
· Grilled onion
· Beetroot
· Pineapple slice
· Fried egg [with soft yolk]
· Bacon
· Tomato slice
· Lettuce
· Pickle
· Tomato sauce [or barbecue sauce]
· Optional mayo and/or mustard

Who’s got the best “lot burger” Down Under?

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Burger with "The Lot"

You can be the judge yourself, or you can rely on word-of-mouth… Or a Google search, such as the results of Queenslander Sean Muir’s search for the “ultimate lot burger”, as seen here.

What’s served with Australia’s take on its American counterpart?

Chips [fries], which are often seasoned with chicken salt. It all depends on your taste. You might also find burgers served with one of a variety of salads, such as potato salad, macaroni salad, or a vegetable salad [“dinner salad”].

Do Australians call hamburger meat at the supermarket “ground beef”, like what it’s called in American supermarkets?

No, they refer to it more commonly as “mince”.

Do Australians like to cook hamburgers on the grill [“barby”]?

Yes. Click here to read more.

Why do Aussies add things such as fried egg, beetroot and pineapple to their burger?

I’m not sure why. I’ve asked around and a few responses from Aussies were that pineapple possibly adds the flavor flavour of summer, and the toppings seem to speak for the individual taste of Australians [who really seem to love beetroots, by the way]. You can read more about the Australian hamburger here.

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Within the first day 12 hours of being in Sydney, I was introduced to meat pies by an Australian. It was outside of the hotel I stayed in {Blue at Woolloomooloo — Say that 10 times, fast}, my very first night in Australia, at a Harry’s Cafe de Wheels stand, one of many locations found in the Sydney-area.  Upon approach, I was told all about meat pies and how Harry’s was a classic with such fervor fervour.  I noted it.

What is a meat pie?
A meat pie is hand-sized and filled with diced or minced meat and gravy, sometimes also onions, mushrooms, etc {more here}.

There are many varieties to choose from, as well as a number of vegetarian-options. I remember these also being available in America in the frozen food-section of the supermarket, known as “pot pies.”

Where are meat pies sold?
Meat pies are sold all over Australia, but here are a few places around Sydney where you’ll easily find them:

· Harry’s Cafe de Wheels
· Robertson Pie Shop
· Pie Face
· Pie in the Sky
· Convenience stores and “servos” {Aussie for “service station”}
· Pubs
· Outdoor kiosks/stands — Some sell Mrs. Mac’s pies.
· Sports arenas

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Pie and Can — Outside of a store near Austinmer Beach in NSW

Many of the places which sell meat pies might want for you to know that they have been somehow at some time rated best meat pie — There even is an annual “Official Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition” — Somehow it matters, but it doesn’t mean their meat pie tastes any good today. Word of mouth has told me that Harry’s, Robertson, Upper Crust and another called Hamlet’s sell the best…

Slang:
Many of the Aussies I know call a meat pie with tomato sauce “dog’s eye and dead horse.”  It’s part of their “rhyming slang,” which you can read more about here.

How to eat a meat pie dog’s eye and dead horse:
Either top the meat pie with tomato sauce or smother each bite with tomato sauce.  It’s an on-the-go type of food, so it’s available takeaway and usually easy to eat while sitting on the train or ferry.  You can also order it with mash {Aussie for “mashed potatoes”}, {mushy} peas and/or gravy and eat it with a fork and knife.

Best and worst meat pies I’ve ever eaten:
I had one from Harry’s which was good, called a “tiger.” It is served with mash, mushy peas and gravy. Pie Face, on two separate attempts, was the worst.  I just suggest you try them all so you can judge for yourself.  My next pie will be from Cronulla Pie Shop.

Do Aussies really love meat pies?
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Be sure to mention it the next time you meet an Australian and most likely their eyes will light up. If they’re abroad, it might even make them homesick.

Here’s some more proof of how much Aussies love meat pies:

Remember — They love “football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.”

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Vegemite, Mate!

“Buying bread from a man in Brussels. He was six-foot-four and full of muscles. I said, ‘Do you speak-a my language?’ He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.”  Men At Work – Down Under

Vegemite, an Australian cultural food phenomenon, is basically concentrated yeast extract made from beer. Yes, beer. Actually it is made from used brewers’ yeast extract, which is a by-product of beer making. It is also made from celery and onion extracts.

I recall the first time I tried it.  The flavor flavour: was very salty. Bitter. The spreadable concoction has a texture which is thick, grainy and is dark brown in color colour.

I immediately tasted that it has a malty, soy saucey-like flavor flavour…

Do Aussies really love it?

Usually, yes.

Do I like it?

With an acquired taste, I find that I will like it eventually. Hugh Jackman got Oprah to try it and she liked it!  I already expected it to be different, kind of like eating the Dutch drop candies for the first time…

History:

Have you ever heard of Marmite?  Vegemite is not quite as intense as Marmite from Great Britain, and it is not as sweet as Marmite from New Zealand.  Now owned by American corporation Kraft Foods Inc, Dr. Cyril P. Callister created Vegemite in 1922 for Fred Walker Company, when the company gave him the task of developing a Marmite-like spread from the yeast that breweries were throwing out. It took a while before Vegemite caught on with the Aussies. For two years, a jar was given with every product the company sold, and by the late 1940s the country was in love with the stuff — It was even in Australian Army rations during World War II.

Today: Each year more than 22 million jars are produced. Callister’s recipe has remained unchanged, and in Australia Vegemite outsells Marmite and other spreads like it.

Uses:

Vegemite is best used as a bread spread, an Aussie favorite favourite on breakfast toast. They first toast a slice of bread and they butter the toast, and then they top it off with a very thin layer of Vegemite. Australians are practically weaned on it from the first day they can eat it, but it’s definitely an acquired taste.

Other ways to eat it:

Now that I’ve tried it, I can’t imagine it on anything but toast with butter, but some also like it on their sandwich with cheese and often veggies as well.   A Vegemite sandwich {mentioned in the Men At Work song “Down Under”} is typically two slices of buttered bread, Vegemite & cheese, but you can also add other ingredients like tomato and avocado slices.

· Kosher {click here} — Since 2010, they’ve made kosher Vegemite.
· Cheesybite {click here} — Vegemite + cream cheese.  I haven’t tried it yet.
· My First Vegemite {click here} — Wean your children into the addiction.
· Recipes {click here} — Not sure I’ll attempt to make any yet…

Soldier Cup

Soldier Cup Kit

· ‘Vegemite Soldiers’

Done in the UK as well {called ‘Marmite Soldiers’}, also called ‘Dippy Eggs,’ are one other common way to eat Vegemite. Cut toasted bread, spread with butter and Vegemite, in small pieces and dip them in a soft-boiled egg. They’re more commonly called ‘Vegemite Soldiers’ because to the toast slices resemble soldiers standing in formation. For the bigger fans, you can even buy a special soldier egg cup and toast cutter here or here.

Where to buy Vegemite:

In Australia, it is found in every supermarket in a variety of sizes, but worldwide Vegemite can be found in some specialty and gourmet stores {often a small jar would be seen on the same aisle as peanut butter in Dutch supermarkets} and is also available through online mail order {like here}. Note: Promite is similar to Vegemite, if Vegemite is not available.

Official Vegemite website: here.  Read more about Vegemite: here.

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