5 Southern Foods You Won’t Find In Australia

Directly after reading that title, you might (probably are) thinking “Well, duh. That’s why they’re called Southern Foods, on account of them being found in the South and all. You dummy”. It’s not as simple as that, though. Often there are foods we don’t realize are so specific to our own country or region until we leave it. I certainly found that moving to the US from Australia, and my brother who moved to Germany has just ordered chicken salt online because he can’t find it there, and is wondering what kind of country he moved to. And my American friends are occasionally surprised when I tell them that some foods they eat regularly here aren’t eaten in Australia much if at all. The following are 5 foods you won’t find in Australian restaurants, such as….


1. Biscuits

Biscuits and gravy, example of southern foods

If you ask for biscuits in Australia, this is what you’ll get:

cookies or biscuits as Australians call them

And you probably don’t want them with gravy.


A friend asked me “If you call cookies biscuits, what do you call biscuits?”. Well, you don’t call them anything. They’re not there. The closest thing we have to a biscuit would be a scone, and that is not something you you eat with gravy either – plain ones are popularly eaten with jam and cream as part of a Devonshire tea which we inherited from the British.

Scone with jam and cream

No gravy in sight.


2. Mac ‘n’ Cheese


You can absolutely buy macaroni cheese in Australia. Good luck buying it from a restaurant though. It is normally sold in a packet for lazy slobs who will never find love to eat alone. Oh and me, of course. I was surprised to not only see it served as a side or even a main in a restaurant, but served in fancy restaurants – someone told me that they went to a particularly pricey one in this area and ordered their fancy version of mac ‘n’ cheese. It helps if you can put things like lobster in it.

Seriously though…..I want it to be a thing in Australia. My favourite slacker comfort food, made spiffy!


3. Pumpkin/Sweet Potato Pie


Unless you are willing to make these from scratch, good luck getting them anywhere. In Australia, pumpkin and sweet potato are treated as savoury foods and do not feature in desserts. Hence why my daughter refused to try pumpkin pie, because it contained the vegetable we roast and try to convince her to eat at dinner time in it. She’s no fool, thank you very much.


4. Grits

For some reason, I was under the impression that grits were some kind of bread. Like a muffin maybe? Perhaps I’d heard of corn bread, knew grits were made of corn, and somehow confused the two. Anyway, I was at a market with my spawn, decided to buy them a snack that could be held in their hands and eaten in the pram – hey, the sign on that food cart says they sell cheese grits! That will do!


I….wasn’t expecting to be given two disposal bowls of slop. Delicious slop, but slop. Definitely not bread.


5. Green Bean Casserole

No. You can’t get it in Australian restaurants. And unlike the above entries, I’m very glad! Blegh, someone described the cooking process to me – green beans, a can of soup, dried onions, something something – and it sounded gross!

Although that might be in large part due to my general aversion to vegetables.

green bean casserole

Too much green!!!!

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  1. Clayton Davis

    Green bean casserole is a ruination of a perfectly good vegetable, but a perennial feature on my family’s thanksgiving menu. I can’t even stand to look at it for long.

  2. I am not much of a fan of any of these things, except the green bean casserole. I love green beans! I only like the cheap mac n cheese that comes with the powder cheese. I don’t care for baked mac n cheese or the “fancy” kind!

  3. My wife is Canadian and never heard of biscuits and gravy. Now it’s her favorite breakfast. The rest of my Canadian family wouldn’t try it if I put a gun to their heads.

  4. I say yes to all of those (and the scones and your “biscuit”- was that a Hob Nob?)

    That green bean casserole did not look too tasty, but my husband makes one with fresh cream and mushrooms instead of the can of soup–Delicious!

  5. Whenever I tell my kids that “chips” are “crisps” and “fries” are “chips” they say, “Mom, you’re just trying to sound fancy. Or posh. Or foreign.”


  6. Oh, thank you, now I’m missing scones. There used to be a little shop just around the corner that made scones but it is no more. And my supply of Vegemite has disappeared as well.
    Yes, I am a Tennessean boy, born and bred, who loves Vegemite. On buttered toast.
    One thing I hope you will try while you’re still gracing the South with your presence:
    Fried okra. Properly prepared and heavily salted the frying turns a frightening vegetable into a real delight. Roasted okra can be quite tasty too but fried is a special Southern thing.

  7. I moved from one of the boxy Midwestern states to Atlanta a few years ago, and OMG, the food!
    Before I crossed south of the Mason-Dixon line I had never had: grits, collard greens, pickled okra, fried green tomatoes, sweet potato pie, boiled peanuts, skillet-fried chicken, pimento cheese, bread pudding, and I’m sure a few more goodies.
    Now I can’t imagine an existence without these ABSOLUTE staples.
    That all being said, my husband had all of these things, and he’s converted me to being a complete foodie, so if you’re looking for recommendations of places to eat, shoot me a message. I have literal lists made for every Southern city.

    • I’m still too scared to try okra, but that’s because I have the tastebuds of a 5 year old and am scared of green things. I am going to miss some of these foods when I return to Australia though. Shrimp and grits! There is a place in Knoxville that does it really well.

  8. Haha I second the “you just described my Thanksgiving dinner” comment πŸ˜€ Except in NC we also have collards. But if you don’t like green bean casserole you sure as heck won’t like collards. Heh. I’d love to see a dish of collards put in front of you just so I could hear your sassy commentary on it πŸ˜€
    Though I’ll admit: the one thing I absolutely cannot live without that I can only get in the South? Sweet tea. Good thing it’s easy to make!

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