Is Australia’s national dish salt and pepper squid?

What do you think is Australia’s national dish? I’ve blogged about British food in the past – https://carmentheaussie.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/british-food-can-it-be-good/ – but what about Aussie meals?

Masterchef, the Australian cooking show (which I’ve never watched), recently had a contestant on it claiming that salt and pepper squid has taken over from fish and chips and is on its way to becoming Australia’s national dish. I have to disagree. Firstly, when was fish and chips ever Australia’s national dish? I thought that meal belonged to the Poms. Secondly, I think mussels or snapper would probably rate higher than salt and pepper squid. What do you think?

Perhaps some foreigners would even claim that shrimp is more popular – a conclusion derived from the popular saying ‘put a shrimp on the barbie’. I myself have never done such a thing, unless ‘shrimp’ is another word for ‘prawns’. And seeing as I have been getting my facts wrong lately, it probably is!

In a recent Perth Now poll, in which more than 4,500 people voted, a meat pie was voted as Australia’s national dish, with a BBQ sausage in bread coming a close second. Salt and pepper squid received a measly 1.82 per cent of votes. I guess a meat pie could be claimed as our dish, but I must admit there are pies that I like. I’m not a fan of Mrs Macs and I’ve probably tasted better Cornish pasties over in the UK than I have meat pies in Australia. Is that un-Australian?

I agree with Poh Ling Yeow, who nominated salt and pepper squid on Masterchef, about one thing though – seafood is a favourite of mine in Australian cuisine. Since arriving in the UK I’ve sampled a lot of fish but it has never been up to scratch. A lot of it is imported from other places in Europe and isn’t very fresh. Other fish is just tasteless and not to mention ridiculously expensive!

Oh dear, this dreary weather over here is making me want to be transported over to Fremantle, Western Australia, where I can dine at the Mussel Bar and sip on Riesling as the sun streams in through the window. Sigh.

But back to reality – what’s your favourite Aussie dish?

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