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Souvenir Shopping an Australian Supermarket

You may have noticed that a very large continent is missing here on Souvenir Finder. Sadly, I have yet to visit Australia, and this category has been missing from this website. Until today.
After some gentle harassing begging, fellow travel writer and Australia native Sharon Gourlay of Where’s Sharon agreed to help us with our first Australia souvenir post. Undaunted by the bewildered looks of her fellow shoppers, Sharon photographed an Australian supermarket for us, finding the most interesting and unique Australian food souvenirs.
Australia food Grocer supermarket Souvenirs
Australia food Grocer supermarket SouvenirsSharon photographed Coles, one of the two main Australian supermarket chains. The aisles at Coles are massive– far different from what I am used to at New York City area supermarkets. It looks like two grocery carts (maybe three?) could comfortably pass without a brawl.
What interesting Australian food souvenirs can you find here?

1. Kangaroo Meat

kangaroo meat Australia food Grocery supermarket Souvenirs


While (as of publication time) you can bring your Australian food souvenir of kangroo meat through US Customs, you will still need to declare it, and might need to provide proof that it is actually from Australia (eg an unopened, properly labelled package and a receipt).

First order of business– I asked Sharon to photograph the kangaroo meat section. Sharon obliged, though she noted that kangaroo meat is “reasonably rare.” [Ed. note- interesting that this “rare” meat is available in your choice of steaks, diced or meatballs].Worried your souvenir kangaroo meat won’t make it back through US customs? You may be surprised to learn that while US customs bans meat from a whole slew of countries because of foot and mouth disease, Australia and New Zealand are not impacted by foot and mouth and are in the clear. So feel free to stock up and bring home that souvenir kangaroo meat. Or, consider your fellow passengers on that twenty plus hour flight and opt for some kangaroo jerky instead.

2. Tim Tams

tim tams Australia food Grocery supermarket Souvenirs

Tim Tams have an iconic status in Australia– Sharon describes them as “chocolate biscuits that are loved by just about everyone.”  Supposedly you can find the Pepperidge Farm version at Target stores in the US, but I haven’t seen them at my store. In any case, Australia is home to the originals, which my sources claim are far tastier than the US versions. And the huge variety of Tim Tam flavors are only available in Australia, making them an ideal Australia food souvenir.

3. Vegemite

Vegemite Australia food Grocery supermarket Souvenirs

Sharon’s take: “VEGEMITE! love it!”

Australia’s answer to Marmite is the yeasty, brown paste known as Vegemite. Vegemite addicts rave about the “unami” flavor but others are less convinced. You’ll have to pick some up and try it for yourself (Vegemite is best enjoyed spread over toast).

4. Weet-Bix Cereal

weet bix Australia food Grocery supermarket Souvenirs

Dry, healthy cereal– an ideal Australian food souvenir for kids?

Sharon sent this photo, along with the note that Weet-Bix is a staple breakfast cereal in Australia and that her own children eat it every morning. Looking at the photo, I was certain I had mixed the photos up. Where were the cartoon characters and the sugary artificial colors? These looked more like dry, saw dusty crackers– surely her children wouldn’t be gobbling these up?

weetbix australian supermarket

Photo credit Wikipedia

But a quick look at Wikipedia proved me wrong– Weetbix is in fact a high-fiber, low sugar cereal, beloved by Australian children everywhere. Who knew?

5. Australian Potato Chips

Australian potato chip flavors Australia food Grocery supermarket Souvenirs


In the US, potato chips are chips and fries are fries. In the UK, potato chips are crisps and fries are chips. In Australia, potato chips are chips and fries are also chips. Wait what?

Sharon tells us that Australians love their potato chips, just as much if not more so than the Brits– but their flavors aren’t quite as wacky as those crazy Brits.

While that might be true, I can confirm that Australian flavors like Vegemite, Greek Feta and Herb and Cilantro chip are still leagues above the “craziest” flavor at my supermarket– mesquite barbecue.

6. British Food Favorites

Australia is part of the Commonwealth, and its close ties to the Queen can be seen in their grocery store picks. You’ll find plenty of aisles filled with British staples like baked beans and Cadbury bars, sometimes with an Australian twist.

7. Foreign Food Aisle

Australia food Grocery supermarket SouvenirsI love checking out other countries’ “foreign food” aisle (it can be especially entertaining to see check out the “American food” aisle).  As Sharon tells us, a fair bit of the Australian supermarket is taken up by other cuisines, which for the most part, Australia does brilliantly. Well everything that is except Mexican– don’t expect to find anything beyond Ortega here. [Ed. note: In my experience, decent Mexican is one of the hardest things to find outside of North America].

8. Australian Meat Pies

Meat pies are much-loved in Australia, and while other countries may have their own version of meat pies, the ones you’ll find in Australia are truly unique. A classic Australian meat pie is hand-sized, and filled with meat, gravy and other assorted ingredients (mushrooms, onions and cheese are popular).

9. Australian Spirits

australian liquor store
Sharon notes that the Australian supermarket is not a one-stop shop. To complete your shopping experience and load up on the finest Australian beer, wine and spirits, you’ll need to head next door to the separate alcohol section.But whatever you do, under no circumstances should you buy Fosters. As Sharon tell us, “Australians don’t drink Fosters – that’s for export as it’s disgusting. Look out for some James Squire or Beez Neez instead.”

us-CopySharon Gourlay writes about family travel at Where’s Sharon and documents her family’s new nomadic life at Digital Nomad Wannabe. Sharon’s main goal is to inspire others, whether single or married with kids, to travel. Sharon also has great advice for newbie bloggers, check out her tips on how to start a travel blog

 

 

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6 Responses to Souvenir Shopping an Australian Supermarket

  1. Lindsay @ Frugal Frolicker 01/20/2015 at 12:53 am #

    FINALLY, some Aussie lovin’ on here! 😉 I’ve already tried most everything listed here in the < 2 months I've been living Down Under – though the vegemite was accidental. Kanga bangas are a favorite – really, there are so many exotic meats at Aussie supermarkets and they're SO CHEAP! Crocodile and camel burgers are next on my list. And yes, it's completely amazing going from cramped micro-sized grocery stores in NYC to spacious ones in Australia. Yet another reason for you to get out here someday, right? 😀

  2. Anonymous 11/20/2016 at 3:05 pm #

    While I found your take on Aussie food interesting. I also found it slightly inaccurate as I am a New Zealander and Cadbury’s chocolate is made in good old Dunedin. It is a fun and fascinating place to visit in the South Island. You should go there sometime the kids would love it! When hubby and I travel we prefer to self cater but on our visit to Las Vegas in February we found it extremely difficult to buy fresh food to eat in our beautiful resort kitchen. Las Vegas is fantastic … but the food is not

  3. Anonymous 04/05/2017 at 9:55 pm #

    the content given above is good

  4. Anonymous 06/19/2017 at 11:11 pm #

    Thanks for this interesting resource- There are a few other things you might consider too- Australian tea, for example Twinings Australian afternoon tea and various organic black tea from rainforest areas of north Queensland eg Madura. These are not expensive (A$3 to A$6 per packet in Australian supermarkets. Also consider Lucas pawpaw ointment for cuts and sores. Eucalyptus and tea tree oil (most Australian pharmacies and supermarkets). Some native Australian fruits are available but harder to find, eg native tomatoes, lemon aspen, quandong (particularly nice in chocolates from Haigh’s chocolates from Adelaide but also from their shops in Sydney, Melbourne). Bundaberg rum (duty free stores and liquor shops everywhere in Australia), various Australian wines (too numerous to mention and could start a brawl with many Australians having strong views). There are also many traditional styles of clothing for shearers and stockmen/women. The best known is by RM Williams with stores all over Australia- boots, Drizabone coats, Akubra hats, etc. There are so many beautiful Aboriginal and Torres Strait items- some a bit touristy but I think the grass mats, bags and seed necklaces are very attractive.
    I can provide some more detail including photos if people are interested.

    Also, I noticed that you don’t have a page about souvenirs from Antarctica. I have strong views on this, not that I buy souvenirs as such but I do like to find something nice to give friends after my travels and I was disappointed with unimaginitive, expensive items on sale in various places where people embark on trips to Antarctica eg Ushuaia in Argentina, Hobart Tasmania, Christchurch, etc. Are you interested in some Antarctic souvenir suggestions? I have been to Antarctica 5 times as a scientific researcher.

    Janet

    • Kristin Francis 10/24/2017 at 7:57 pm #

      Janet, thank you so much for taking the time to write out this comprehensive reply!! Those are excellent suggestions. I’m sorry in the delay in getting back to you and YES would absolutely love Antarctica suggestions, Antartica is part of my “holy grail” souvenir quest!! I really hope you are checking back! Email me: souvenirfinder@gmail.com

    • Kristin Francis 10/24/2017 at 8:19 pm #

      Janet, thank you so much for taking the time to write this detailed reply. Amazing suggestions, I am definitely taking notes!!
      Particularly interested in aboriginal items. I’m so sorry for the late reply and I REALLY hope you’re checking back because the #! souvenir on my list I’m interested in is ANTARCTICA!!!!! IF you see this please email me at souvenirfinder@gmail.com I would absolutely love to hear about your ideas (and experiences there, how fascinating!!). Thank you!

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