Australia is home to plenty of things that intrigue travelers: exotic wildlife, the Outback, one of the cleanest cities in the world, and, of course, its cuisine. However, this is also something that many travelers question vegemite is usually the first on the 'must-try' list, leaving many less than enthused.

When it comes to Australia's most popular dish, though, it's actually something that many are more familiar with than they realize. And no, it's not the brown, salty spread that can often be found at breakfast tables around the country. Rather, Australia's most popular dish is one that's commonly seen in other countries and originated in Europe.


Believe it or not, Australia's most popular food is chicken parmigiana. That's right - the Italian-American favorite that has been a favorite of many a family household is one of the most popular pub menu items in this country. It might seem unusual considering this is the same country from which fairy bread was born, but it's beloved by locals and tourists alike. According to Skyscanner, the dish is actually a staple in pubs throughout Australia and it's rare that a traveler won't see it on the menu.

While it comes as a comfort to travelers who are familiar with the dish, it didn't always start out with a base of chicken. Prior to chicken parmigiana. The popular dinner dish started out as eggplant parmigiana, which was brought over by Italian immigrants during the late 1800s. While this still exists on some menus, it's usually a vegetarian option.

Those visiting Australia from North America, though, will find that the Aussie version of chicken parmigiana is slightly different from what they're used to. For starters, whereas the American-Italian version of chicken parmigiana consists of a thin chicken cutlet, the same dish in Australia is usually a crumbled chicken cutlet. Depending on the restaurant, one might find chicken similar to chicken schnitzel. That is then topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and, occasionally, prosciutto. It's placed under a broiler to get the desired browning effect before serving, and then viola - Australian chicken parmigiana.

In Australia, chicken parmigiana is usually served alongside a green salad. Following that, chips (AKA french fries for those in North America) are usually served with both. The ongoing debate is that the chips should be served underneath the parmigiana, while others argue that the two should remain separate, never to mingle in that delicious red sauce.

  • Fun Fact: It's often called chicken 'parmi' or 'parma' in Australia, and both shortened names have been a cause for debate over which is 'correct.'

Related: Foodies Must Try These Authentic New Zealand Dishes

While chicken parmigiana might be number one in Australia, there's still plenty of room for other beloved dishes. Along with this chicken dinner, Aussies love barbecued snags - AKA barbecued sausages. It's no secret that throwing things on the barbie is a common way of life when cooking in the summer, and sausages are a staple. These snags are usually made of either beef or pork and are grilled to perfection before being popped into a slice of bread. Popular toppings usually include fried onions and one's favorite sauce, which is not always either ketchup or mustard.

No Australian menu would be complete without some sweets, and Lamingtons are undoubtedly the number one choice of an Aussie with a sweet tooth. This treat is so popular that's it's also known as the 'National Cake of Australia' by the National Trust of Queensland. The cake itself was named after the former governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington. This humble dessert starts with a small square of sponge cake that's dipped in chocolate. From there, it's coated with a light layer of shredded coconut and is usually served with tea or coffee. Some variations even contain fillings such as cream or jam, with at least two layers in the center. They can be found commonly throughout Australia's bakeries and cafes, especially in Sydney and other major cities.

  • Fun Fact: Kytons Bakery in Adelaide currently holds the title of having the best lamington in Australia.

For those who plan on visiting the great country of Australia in the future or are just genuinely curious about its unique cuisine, these dishes are a must-try. Even for those who think they've already had the world's great chicken parmigiana, few hold a candle to that which is cooked up in the land down under. Trying a snag fresh off the barbie is another unique Australian experience while finishing up any meal with one of the best lamingtons in the world is another must-have Aussie rite of passage!

Next: Hokey Pokey And More Sweet New Zealand Treats You're Missing