Sweet, savoury and spicy – these eight Melbourne treats will satisfy all palates.
A shellfish treat rocking the culinary scene
Sydney Rock Oyster
They may be named after the capital city but these small, soft and shucked seafood delicacies can be found in abundance along the entire stretch of the coastline. Rich and creamy in flavour, they’re served up simply by themselves, with a wedge of lemon and sometimes a mouth-watering champagne vinaigrette.
Local tip: For some decadence on a budget, head to South Melbourne Market’s Aptus Seafood and shell out on some of their $1 "shots”.
A fruity dessert with an international flavour
This creamy, retro pudding was conjured up in London’s Savoy Hotel over a century ago. With a base of juicy peach halves, scoops of vanilla ice cream and vibrant streaks of raspberry sauce, it still finds its way to Australian dinner tables. You might come across this in cafés, but it’s usually a home-concocted creation.
A savoury roll that springs from the Land Down Under
Easy to grab and munch on the go, these cylindrical nibbles have a soft doughy exterior, unlike their crispy Chinese counterpart. Inside, salty shredded mutton sits amongst a mix of cabbage, carrot, barley and celery and onion. Takeaway shops sell rolls wrapped in a paper bag, and you’ll find them sold by the bucket load at sporting events.
A tomato-based accompaniment and breakfast-time staple
A big part of the city’s well-celebrated café culture, tins of haricot beans soaking in a tangy, slightly sweet tomato sauce line the shelves of stores in their hundreds. Making their way on to stacked breakfast platters, they’re spooned up alongside bacon, sausage, eggs and toast.
Oriental dumplings super-sized, Aussie style
Larger than those you’d find in China, these steamed dumplings encase minced pork, vegetables or seafood in pastry wrappings, tucked in at the edges and a little thicker than the traditional version of the Canton delight.
Local tip: Australians like to shorten the name of these compulsive nibbles to “dimmies”.
Love it or hate it, this contentious paste warrants a try
A salty, bitter spread packed with vitamin B, this culinary icon spreads thickly like treacle. A wartime import, it’s proved its long-term worth and is bought by the jar load, with locals spreading it on their morning toast to this day. A ‘cheesymite scroll’ — swirls of dough filled with cheese and the beloved vegetable-based paste — can be picked up in bakeries for a fast, savoury nibble.
Local tip: If Vegemite is to your liking, pick up a jar in the supermarket to take home.
A hot take on an old favourite
Hot Jam Doughnut
The city’s unique spin on a snack loved the world over — bakeries have long added a gooey, hot filling to this popular doughy mouthful. Warm strawberry jam fills a freshly fried piece, before a glaze of syrup, a sprinkle of sugar granules or a lip-smacking coating of powdery icing sugar completes the picture. Chocoholics can swap the jam for the latest in filling crazes — hot Nutella spread.
Local tip: Sports fans line up outside vans to grab a piece of these deep-fried delights.
The cherry on top of a slice of chocolate decadence
Chocolate, cherry and more chocolate – this is one of Australia’s best-loved tray bakes. Under a thick slab of dark chocolate, lies a moist, rose-hued confection of coconut, condensed milk and cherry chunks, providing a contrast to the smooth topping. A taste and texture sensation, it’s completed with the crunch of a biscuit base.
Local tip: You’ll pick up a slice of this old favourite in bakeries, like the selection found along Acland Street in St Kilda.