Leading up to my trip to the Northern Territory I was worried about the types of food we might encounter. I’m what some would call a ‘picky eater’ – I don’t like seafood, green beans, peas, and a number of other foods – but it was the typical bush tucker I was more worried about.
When I think bush tucker I think of eating creepy crawlies, like the witchetty grubs or ants, or foods which are foreign to me like possum, mud crabs, or turtle eggs. Needless to say meals times during the trip were an interesting experience for me, but pleasantly interesting. But it wasn’t just me who got to try bush tucker, some of the contestants from ‘The Checklist’ got stuck into… well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Our meals were typical foods, not food which will make you cringe, and I even liked some of them! Here’s just a few of my favourite bush tastes below;
The flavour is the first thing that hits you when you bite into a bush tomato. Tasting like a sweet sun-dried tomato with a sharp after taste, bush tomatoes are around the size of raisins and grow on bushes, much like real tomatoes, in arid areas.
Rich in vitamin C and potassium bush tomatoes are very good for you but too many of them and they can act like a laxative – whoops!
As our cameleer told us the secret to making good beer damper is in the beer. First off you start with a 6-pack – that’s four for you and two for the bread!
Damper is a simple-to-make Australian bread made of self-raising flour and water – that’s it! For beer damper add a small amount of beer and bake. It’s a little thicker than normal bread, and quite a bit more doughy but still delicious
I had my first taste of quandong jam on the beer damper after our camel ride and it was so delicious I had three pieces! Native to Australia, quandongs grow on trees and considered a suitable substitute for meat by the Pitjantjara (aboriginal) people.
Nicknamed ‘the desert peach’ due to it having a huge stone and not a lot of flesh, they taste tart – in my opinion subtly like sweetened rhubarb – and are high in vitamin C.
Don’t be turned off that we eat our national emblem because they are delicious and I wish I could cook the meat better. Kangaroo is a very lean meat, high in protein and low in fat, and due to its environmentally friendly approach to rearing kangaroos, ‘kangatarianism’ has become quite a big deal.
But you want to know what it tastes like don’t you? Truthfully to my palate it tastes like very tender venison though the taste is a little sharper.
When Bob Taylor cooked a bush dinner with kangaroo he BBQ’d it after letting it marinate in soy sauce, and for me that was the perfect entrée!
Camel Burgers and mince
Let me start by saying that camels are a pest in Australia before you get shocked that I ate one; we have millions roaming around the outback which are caught and then shipped to the Middle East as they are considered a delicacy.
I had never eaten camel and I’m still unsure if I ever will again. During our Red Centre trip we encountered camel on the menu twice in both burger and minced forms. Camel tastes like beef, but due to its strong aroma and it’s tendency of being tough it wasn’t my favourite meal on the trip. I tried the camel mince served during dinner at the Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge, which was served minced and rolled in prosciutto. But I believe they added a little too much seasoning (thyme) to it and the combination of strong meats and strong herb overpowered the meat taste to the point it tasted and smelt like I was eating a thyme bush.
I tried some bush tucker, and probably could have eaten the kangaroo and quondong jam all day, but there are plenty of other types to encounter. How about wattle seeds, crocodile, or perhaps just an ice cold Aussie beer would suit you fine.
What type of ‘bush tucker’ would you most like to try?
Your chance to WIN!
Win with ‘The Checklist’
The Northern Territory Tourism Board and Plus7 have teamed up to offer one viewer of ‘The Checklist’ the ultimate Northern Territory check-list experience.
My trip to the Red Centre was to get a taste of some of the tasks that ‘The Checklist’ participants got to experience – thankfully I didn’t have to eat barramundi eyeballs!
Be sure to watch The Checklist every week and answer the questions to be in with the chance to win the grand prize or weekly Virgin Australian flight vouchers to put towards your own Northern Territory experience.
Win with Bitten by the Travel Bug
In conjunction with my latest adventures in the Northern Territory to check some items off my own check-list we will be giving away THREE AU$200 Virgin Australia flight vouchers over the coming 12-weeks to help YOU make your own check-list experience a reality.
Virgin Australia is one of my favourite airlines to fly for its comfort and modern features onboard and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.
How to enter This competition is now over – thanks for entering!
Entering is simple, just use the Rafflecopter panel below to do as many, or as few, of the options below but don’t forget to leave a blog post comment answering the question: “What type of ‘bush tucker’ would you most like to try?” as it’s compulsory!
Some of the options can be completed every day so come back and keep coming back for more chances to win!
(Watch episode two of ‘The Checklist‘ to learn what bush tucker is and for some ideas of what not to eat!)
Image credit: Petalac