By: Frenzied Femme
We have a deal with our kids. When they turn 13, they have the privilege of choosing the family vacation. Our daughter is 12 1/2 this summer, so we let her pick for her 13 year trip.
Today, I am going to talk about the food. We first arrived around dinner time. And because we stayed in an apartment, we had the ability to make our own dinner. We went to the local "milk store" (basically a convenient market that sells a few overpriced groceries). I thought about buying spaghetti sauce for a quick and easy meal. But, there was as much Indian sauces as there was spaghetti sauce. So, I figured Indian food must be a local favorite. I bought butter chicken sauce and some pieces of chicken. I made some pasta to serve this with. And, my son wanted some raw carrots. I peeled and served the carrots while I was making dinner. It is worth noting that my 15 year old daughter will not eat carrots. She does not like them. But, the carrots in Australia were different. They were very sweet. And, the 4 carrots we purchased were gone before dinner was ready. We ended up buying carrots almost everyday. Because the kids would eat them all everyday. Anyway, the butter chicken sauce was delightful. I have tried the US jar versions since returning, but they don't compare.There were some other notable groceries that we purchased. First, it think it goes without saying that we purchased vegemite. If you don't know the term, it is in the song "I come from the land down under". I actually don't know the name of the song, but I think you know the one I mean. I think they have Australian content laws for their radio, so this song was always playing. But the line I am referring to is, "he just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich". This was a line I never understood as a kid. Vegemite is basically a yeast paste. I watched a cooking show (early in the morning because the time change had me all messed up). And, I found out that they actually cook with it. They used a crust (like a crescent roll) and put cheese and vegemite into it before baking. So, I didn't figure that we wanted to eat it alone. And, I didn't want to bake with it. So, we brought the vegemite tube home. But, you cannot go to Australia and not try vegemite. So, we bought a Cadbury bar filled with vegemite. It wasn't bad, but really, chocolate can make anything taste well. Second, we bought a couple of pre-baked chickens. This is something we often do when pressed for time in the US. I thought there was something really wrong with the chicken at first. I thought the chicken was really fatty. But, it was actually stuffed. This is not something I have found in the US. The best was the pre-seasoned (but not cooked) chicken. I don't know what the seasoning was, but wish I had payed closer attention My 12 year old ate so much that I thought she was going to be sick. It was extremely good. Fourth, they have flavored potato chips. Which is funny because they have been rolling these out in the US (but US flavors). They had chicken flavored chips. This is the one my kids seemed to like. It was a little different. A note: I opted not to buy ground kangaroo at the grocery store. I wasn't sure how to prepare it.Eating out had some different options. Being in the Northern tropical area, we ate "reef fish". I don't know what type of "reef fish", and it seemed to vary. One restaurant's reef fish tasted like scramble eggs. But, it was all mild and not fishy tasting. Our special treat was from McDonalds (of all places). They sold frozen coke for $1. One Australian dollar, which was about $0.75 US. What a deal. Of course they had McDonalds, but other fast food US-named restaurants were not in abundance. There are a lot of Hungry Jacks (which is Burger King down under). We did not stop at Hungry Jacks in Cairns and did not buy more than frozen coke at McDonalds.I will leave you with my most vivid food memory, which isn't really about food. We were sitting outside on Green Island (at the Great Barrier Reef) eating lunch. My daughter was about to take a bite of a french fry. As her hand approached her mouth, one of the local scavenger birds decided the fry was fair game. It jumped (flew?) up and tried to take it from her. She screamed and threw the fry into the air. Maybe it wasn't so amusing to her, but it sure was to us.