Lamington: named after Baron Lamington who was a governor of Queensland in the early 1900s, a lamington is a square of vanilla cake covered in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut. I bought a lamington in Kuranda ($3.50 AUD) and tried it before we left Cairns. It was pretty good. It was a standard white cake and chocolate frosting but I liked the added texture of the coconut.
ANZAC - I'd heard of Anzac biscuits before and even had a few recipes of them in my baking books. What I didn't know is that ANZAC stands for the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac "biscuits" are essentially hard, crunchy cookies. I tried a macadamia Anzac from Kuranda ($1.20 AUD) and thought it was pretty good. It's a butter cookie without being buttery and has a nice crunch. I'm going to have to try and make this when I get back home. They seem to have a lot of macadamia products here as well as fresh pineapple (which I love).
Chicken & Potato Pie - the meat pie is an Australian staple as it's hearty, filling and (generally) nutricious. It's also one of the cheaper foods I've found here - $5AUD for the one from Kuranda. What I liked about the pie I tried is its simplicity: crust, chicken & gravy filling and mashed potatoes swirled on top. No ruining it by adding veggies (can you tell I don't like vegetables?) to be overcooked inside the gravy. Just meat and gravy - that's my idea of a meat pie.
One of the things I'm constantly doing as I travel is checking out the food being sold or offered at various places like restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, hotel buffets, etc. A couple of observations so far: first, I'll reiterate again how expensive things seem to be. It's not just that I'm shopping in touristy places or airports. Woolworths, a grocery store chain in Australia where many locals seem to shop, bears out the prices. Think of it as like a Safeway in the US. Cake mix was "on sale" for $4.93 AUD. A 1.2L container of ice cream was $7 AUD. Bananas were $2.50 a kilogram. A can of Spam was on sale for $3.30. For those of us in the US, we're really fortunate...and spoiled. Never again will I complain how much food costs. I've seen much higher in other parts of the world. I don't know what salaries are like here but I hope they're high enough to compensate for the cost of food. Feeding a family here must be enormous.
In the confectionery aisle - which is the aisle I always pay particular attention to - there are also brands I'm familiar with, namely Nestle and Cadbury. But they offer a greater variety of flavors which is really cool. Before I go home, I'm stocking up on some of this stuff that we don't have in the US. Snickers and Kit Kats also seem popular here but they have "limited edition" Snickers with a chocolate wafer and almonds and caramel more than nougat. M&Ms are also common in plain, peanut, mint, and crispy. I'm still on the lookout for caramel M&Ms which I once had in So Cal but I think those were a test run and I don't think the M&M people have continued making them. Darn.
Before I left for Australia, my friend Cheryl, who used to live here, recommended I try Tim Tams. I don't know whether to thank her or curse her. I bought Tim Tams in Cairns and they're delicious. Think of them like Kit Kats in cookie form but much, much better. I don't usually like KitKats as the wafer part always seems soggy. But not in Tim Tams. They're crisp chocolate wafer cookies sandwiched with a chocolate creme filling (same texture as the filling in Oreos but chocolate) and enrobed in milk chocolate. YUM. I also tried the caramel Tim Tams where instead of the chocolate creme filling, it was caramel. More YUM. Yeah, some boxes of those are going in my suitcase before I leave this country.