Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbie

The 6 biggest differences between Australian and American Dining

Many in foodservice consider the US the ‘trend-setter’ in the industry and Australia often follows its lead when it comes to food and menu innovation. But there are a number of differences in Australian and American dining that we hope stay distinct – we like Aussie traditions the way they are. So let’s compare the pair, the biggest differences between American and Australian dining and see where you sit on the spectrum…


The easiest place to start: Coffee. Even for non-caffeine-addicted Australians the brew passed off as coffee in the States is considered pretty much undrinkable. Our coffee culture (and the café food surrounding it) is second to none.


Speaking of café food - American dining culture may be beginning to mimic our’s with the growth of Australian style brunch cafes popping up in LA and New York. Brunch in Australia means one thing: smashed avo. But in America it is a heavier, more traditional eggs and bacon affair. Even Essendon Football Club’s Jobe Watson has started an Australian style café in the US. You can’t get more Aussie than that.

Portion sizes

Portion sizes in the US are generally huge. But the flip side of this is that most places will let you take home leftovers, something that is frowned upon in Australia.


Diners in the US will find that much of the food served is more heavily processed or pre-prepared than we are used to in Australia. Here, the focus is leaning towards fresh produce and minimal processing.


It is common in Australia to see the exact region a piece of meat, hunk of cheese or slice of bread has come from written on a menu. Australians are proud of and interested in the provenance of their food whereas in America this is less of a focus.


In Australia, we generally keep sweet and savoury foods separate. But this separation doesn’t seem to exist at all across the Pacific. Sweet and savoury flavours are combined with wild abandon, leading to things like apple pie with melted cheese on top or maple bacon. On top of this, it can be difficult to find a loaf of bread in the US that doesn’t contain either sugar, corn syrup or molasses as a major ingredient.

Of course, it would be illogical to ignore all of the trends and ideas that come out of the US foodservice scene and savvy restauranteurs are forever repackaging and Australia-fying American innovations for the local market. But we for one hope that there isn’t a change in these five differences. What do you think? 


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