I sometimes wish I had more survival skills. Wouldn’t it be great to snatch a handful of something off a bush and munch on it? Fantastic. And not be in fear of immediate or eventual death? Even better! Well, here are 11 bush tucker foods to look for that won’t kill you. In fact they’re surprisingly tasty!
I love asking people what the strangest thing they’ve ever eaten is. It’s so interesting. I’ve eaten some pretty awful things in my time, like witchetty grubs and giant Mexican ants… and Mrs Romance’s cooking… ouch! Just kidding, darling!
But there are some fascinating things to eat out there. Most interesting of all is bush tucker. Mother Nature’s larder. There are so many things that grow around us that we can eat but we’re completely oblivious to – or just too terrified to experiment with. I have a foot in both camps there!
Here’s what we’ve learnt about Aussie bush tucker:
Aussie Bush Tucker
- Macadamia nut – very well-known and easy to use in cooking. Also known as a Bauple nut – so there!
- Bunya nut – high in protein (and so a good substitute for meat) with a sweet nutty taste.
- Pepperberry – very strong, spicy pepper taste and easily substituted for pepper in cooking. The heat subsides quickly as you heat it. Found all over Tasmania and Victoria, but can be found as far up as western Sydney.
- Lemon Myrtle – strong aromatic scent, delicate lemony flavour. Can find this dried in shops. Found in the rainforest regions.
- Bush Tomato – also known as the ‘dessert raisin’. Found in the central dessert regions of Australia, it is a relative of the regular ol’ tomato. Has subtle hints of caramel and tamarillo.
- Finger Lime – also known as caviar lime. When you cut these open, the fruit is made up of little juice balls that look like green salmon eggs. Very sharp and lime-flavoured – found on the coastal fringes of Qld and NSW.
- Creek Lilly Pillies – found along the east coast of Australia. Often used in jams and sauces.
- Wattle Seed – known as the coffee of the bush. Once the seeds are roasted and crushed, they have a nutty, coffee taste and aroma.
- Crocodile – farmed and living wild in northern Queensland and the Northern Territory, the meat from these impressive reptiles is surprisingly tasty. A bit like chicken but with more flavour.
- Emu – found all over Australia’s outback, the meat from these large flightless birds is dark and gamey.
- Kangaroo – one of the lowest-fat meats around, kangaroo is best cooked long and low or rare.
Where to find and try bush tucker
– Seabelle Restaurant, Kingfisher Bay Resort, Fraser Island
The head chef delivers a bush tucker class including all of these ingredients. Also the menu at the restaurant showcases the bush tucker perfectly.
– Shrubs from Currong Comestibles
These delicious chutneys and drink syrups are all made from scratch by Denyse McDonald of Currong Comestibles.
Mark Watkins, owner of this northern Queensland distillery, has replaced 13 of the 14 botanicals used in London dry gin with Australian bush fruits and spices. It’s an amazing gin.
– Café Ish, Redfern
There are often lots of things to try on the menu that have a bush tucker element. Last time we were here, the wattle coffee was a standout.
– Paramount Coffee Project, Surry Hills
These guys – who are part of the Golden Age Cinema – make their own macadamia nut milk for a delicious dairy-free coffee.
– The Australian Heritage Hotel, The Rocks
The Australian sells bush tucker pizzas! Try a crocodile, emu or kangaroo pizza with your beer.
Haigh’s is pretty much the best chocolate you can find in Australia. They do a lemon myrtle filled dark chocs, and they’re absolutely superb!
It’s great to see companies using Australian bush tucker more and more these days. Once you start looking, you start noticing how accessible these native flavours have become.
Have you tried any of this bush tucker? Do you know somewhere that’s using native Australian flavours? What’s the worst or weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Tell us in the comments!