Hawaii expat living abroad in Australia, food and family blog

American Foods You Can Find in Australia

American Foods You Can Find in Australia

When I first moved to Australia in 2013, finding American foods was quite a challenge, especially in regional areas. Fortunately, the landscape has changed, and today, there are various American USA foods readily available across the country.

While specialty shops catering to American tastes do exist, they are mostly concentrated in major cities rather than regional areas like where I reside in NSW. Here’s a curated list of American foods (or suitable substitutes) that you can now conveniently find in local shops and major Australian supermarket chains such as Coles and Woolworths.

Having grown up in Hawaii, I must admit I miss the diverse array of foods and snacks I was accustomed to in the USA. The supermarket aisles in Australia initially felt a bit limited in comparison. Moving to regional NSW a decade ago was eye-opening in terms of food variety, or rather, the lack thereof, due to the area’s limited access to diverse products. However, over the years, I’ve noticed a gradual increase in the availability of USA American foods you can find in Australia.

In cities like Sydney, the abundance of food products from around the world reflects the city’s vibrant ethnic diversity. Ten years ago, the regional town I now call home lacked such variety. However, recent shifts, notably due to COVID, have brought about significant changes, with many people relocating to regional areas.

Here’s a highlight of some USA American Foods (or close substitutes) you can now find in Australia.

USA Foods (or close substitutes) found in Australia

Corn Dogs

Known locally as pluto pups or dagwood dogs, this American classic has found its way into Aussie cuisine. While the frozen variety may not be as common in supermarket chains, you can still enjoy this favourite treat at some local Fish and Chips shops and various fairs and events. I have also found these in the freezer section of Woolworths and a local meat specialty shop.

American foods you can find in Australia

Hot Pockets / Pizza Pockets

While the Australian stores do not stock the original hot pockets, they do have a very similar alternative called pizza pockets. They usually come as a round pocket with a few different flavour options. It still hits the spot for that late night craving.

Pop-Tarts

Pop-Tarts are a beloved American breakfast pastry, known for their sweet fillings with a flaky crust. They are easy to prepare and just require you to pop them into a toaster and enjoy. You can easily find chocolate and strawberry Pop-Tarts in the local Australian supermarkets.

Pop Tarts are an American Food you can find in Australia

Chips (potato and corn)

In Australian grocery stores, you’ll discover a diverse selection of American corn and potato chips. Among the popular brands available are Doritos, Pringles, and Cheetos (known as Twisties locally), along with grain waves (similar to Sun Chips) and standard potato and corn chips.

These come in a variety of flavours such as salt and vinegar, sour cream and chives, cheese, honey soy chicken, BBQ, sweet chilli, and sea salt.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that French fries are commonly referred to as chips or hot chips in Australia. Potato chips are sometimes known as crisps. When ordering a burger and chips, you will likely receive hot chips, aka French fries.

Pro tip: If they ask you what type of salt you want on your chips get the ‘chicken salt’, its a winner!

Jello

Jello is often referred to as “Jelly” in Australia. You can purchase the boxed powder packets in all supermarkets. It’s a very easy to find USA American Food in Australia.

Confectionary

Ten years ago I was filling my suitcases with peanut butter cups every time I was back in the USA. Now you can easily find the delicious peanut butter cups in the candy aisles in Australia!

While this list may not all be “American” candies, i’ve included popular items that you can easily find in Australia.

  1. Reeses Peanut butter Cups
  2. M&Ms
  3. Milkyway
  4. Snickers
  5. Maltesers
  6. Kit Kat
  7. Chupa Chups
  8. Skittles
  9. Nerds
  10. Twix
Peanut Butter cups are an American Food you can find in Australia

American Cheddar

I grew up in the USA with our common cheese being an orange block of cheddar. I’m not referring to pre-sliced cheese but rather the blocks of cheese ranging from mild to sharp cheddar.

Why is American cheddar cheese orange? Cheddar cheese gets its orange hue from annatto, a natural food colouring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree. Initially, this addition signaled higher quality, but nowadays, it’s mostly for aesthetic reasons and to distinguish cheddar varieties.

In Australia, the most prevalent cheese is “Tasty Cheese,” a popular type of cheddar known for its sharp and tangy flavour profile. Despite being pale yellow in colour, it shares similarities with American cheddar.

Recently, I discovered Red Leicester, a traditional British cheese originating from Leicester. It boasts a firm, crumbly texture and a distinctive orange-red hue, achieved through the addition of annatto. Red Leicester offers a slightly nutty and tangy flavour, reminiscent of the orange cheddar from my childhood in the USA.

Additionally, you can readily find pre-sliced packaged varieties of “American cheese” and “burger cheese” in the shops.

McDonalds (Maccas)

Aussies affectionately refer to McDonald’s as “Maccas,” a term that’s become synonymous with the fast-food giant across the country. It’s immensely popular, with outlets at every truck stop and conveniently located throughout Australia.

While I can’t speak from personal experience as McDonald’s isn’t my preferred choice, I know it offers a range of menu items tailored to Australian tastes.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme has indeed found its place in Australia, primarily situated in major cities with a few outlier locations.

Despite its relatively limited presence, the chain remains immensely popular across the country. It maintains its signature melt-in-your-mouth glazed doughnuts and tempting array of flavours.

Krispy Creme Doughnuts

Burger King (Hungry Jacks)

Burger King in Australia was launched under the name of Hungry Jacks.

In 1971, when Australian businessman Jack Cowin sought to establish the franchise in Australia, he encountered a local eatery named Burger King with a trademarked name. To avoid any potential issues, he opted for the name Hungry Jack’s.

Since then, Hungry Jack’s has become a staple in the Australian fast-food scene. It is widely accessible across the country.

Starbucks

You can find Starbucks in the main cities in Australia, but seriously, don’t waste your coffee fix there.

Instead stop in to one of the many local cafes and order a flat white or cappuccino and you will be in coffee heaven.

Barista Coffee

USA foods that you will not find in Australia

Outside of speciality food stores, there are some USA Food favourites that you will not find widely available in Australia.

I do have some substitute options for some of the below that can be found here.

USA foods that are NOT widely available in Australia

  • Graham Crackers – Check out my Graham Cracker crust substitute recipe here
  • Nilla Wafer – I have found a great Nilla Wafer substitute for the classic Banana Pudding Recipe here
  • Confectionary Items:
    • Butterfingers,
    • Babe Ruth,
    • Red Vines,
    • Chips ahoy,
    • Twinkie’s,
    • Ho-ho’s,
    • Peanut Butter M&Ms
  • Libbys 100% canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling
  • Chips and Crackers:
    • Triscuits,
    • Wheat thins,
    • Goldfish,
    • Takis,
    • Chex and Chex mix,
    • Funyuns
  • Soft pretzels
  • Refrigerated cookie dough and crescents rolls
  • Kool aid
  • Various Cereals (too many to name!)
  • Dr Pepper
  • Bisquick

Just a short list, let me know what USA Foods you’re missing in Australia in the comments.


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