Monday, June 3, 2013

'Australian' Dining

Thanks to movies like Crocodile Dundee and Australia, some Americans have a warped idea of what Australia is actually like. If these movies were all you knew of Australia, then you would think that we are all Fosters drinking, giant knife carrying, boomerang throwing, cattle herding bushmen that have no home and just camp by a billabong. Here in America, they even have restaurants to replicate this exact idea.

Outback Steakhouses are Australian themed restaurants that perpetuate an incorrect stereotype of Australia. Inside you will find decor that is reminiscent of a country town pub in the 90’s and, as their website suggests, ‘a casual atmosphere suggestive of the Australian Outback’ with ‘generous portions’ of food.

This made me think, what exactly is Australian food? Do we really have any other than damper? We certainly don’t ‘throw another shrimp on the Bar-B’ as often as many think. Pretty much all of the popular dishes and restaurants in Australia have been stolen or modified from other countries. If it wasn't for people from other countries bringing over their delicacies, we would probably be eating damper and eucalyptus leaves. So, just what food does the Outback Steakhouse think is Australian?

Here is a sample of some of the dishes on the Outback Steakhouse menu…
  • New Zealand Rack of Lamb.
  • California Chicken Salad.
  • New York Strip Steak.
  • Norwegian Salmon.
  • Grilled Chicken & Swiss Sandwich.
  • Chocolate Thunder from Down Under.
So the food is obviously from a wide range of places. Here is a sample of drinks available from the menu…
  • Canadian Whiskey.
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
  • Hawaiian Blue Cocktail.
  • Fosters ‘Australian’ Lager.

Needless to say, Outback Steakhouse’s menu is far from Australian. In fact, while I was there I had my first ever Fosters beer, a drink that is renowned for being ‘Australian’. Despite the obvious errors and misrepresentations, Outback Steakhouse really have nailed the Australian dining experience…

You go to a restaurant that hasn’t been redecorated since 1996, get served by someone from another country to order food from another country, drink imported beers and pay way too much for the whole experience. That is pretty much an Australian dining experience right there!  

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