The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied.
The Most Similar Cuisines to Australian Food
Australia is a melting pot of different cultures. Most of its people originally came from Europe, so its food reflects a variety of European culinary traditions. It is no surprise that the four countries with the most similar food to Australia are also wealthy English speaking countries with many immigrants. Unusually, the locations of most countries on the list are very distant from Australia.
- United Kingdom shares many similarities with Australia due to their shared history. The British colonized Australia and most of its people have ancestry in the British isles. As a result, many of Australia’s dishes, such as meat pies, fish and chips, and roast dinners, have their roots in British cuisine. Both island nations also share a love for tea and have a similar appreciation for baked goods like scones and biscuits.
- New Zealand is another former British colony that borders the Pacific Ocean and is located in the Southern Hemisphere. They both tend to eat a lot of meat, especially pork, chicken, and beef, which are popular in both countries. Iconic dishes like the Pavlova dessert and Anzac biscuits are shared between the two nations, with debates over their true origin continuing to this day.
- Canada, yet another former British colony, has many notable similarities with Australian cuisine, despite their distance and drastically different climate. Both countries have a fondness for hearty meat-based dishes, such as steak, burgers, and meat pies. The Canadian love for maple syrup resonates with Australia’s fondness for golden syrup, often used in baking and sweet treats.
- United States is another Engish-speaking country with a large population that has European ancestry. As a result, despite being located on the other side of the globe, the US and Australia have similar food. Burgers, sandwiches, and barbecues are some typical fair eaten in these countries. Many American fast food restaurants operate in Australia as well.
- Argentina is another country in the Southern Hemisphere with many immigrants from Europe. In general, Argentina and Australia have similar climates. Both countries have a tradition of ranching and love to eat beef. Grilled meats, known as asado, are a centerpiece of Argentine cuisine, akin to Australian barbecues. Empanadas in Argentina are very similar pasties in Australia.
The Least Similar Cuisines to Australian Food
Four of the five countries with the least similar food to Australia are located in Africa. Moreover, these countries are much less wealthy than Australia. Most of their people are farmers and they have few global chain restaurants. Another characteristic they all have in common is that they all have tropical climates.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is a country in the middle of Africa. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country, a food that most people in Australia have not eaten before. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is fish, whereas chicken and beef are more popular in Australia. Furthermore, in contrast to Australia, their diet has little meat in it.
- South Sudan is located to the northeast of Congo. It is another country where cassava is the staple food, however the country eats its share of sorghum as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the country. However, they are not completely different. Both Australia and South Sudan have a significant amount of beef in their diets.
- Central African Republic a landlocked country that borders both Congo and South Sudan. Cassava and yams are two of the most commonly eaten ingredients in the country. Furthermore, taro and bananas make a much greater share of the diet in Central African Republic than in Australia.
- Cambodia and Australia both border the Pacific Ocean. However their cuisine is far different. The Cambodian diet is heavily based in rice and cassava. Unlike in Australia, Cambodian cuisine makes use of a wide range of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves, to create a unique flavor profile. Furthermore, many of the country’s Buddhists avoid eating meat.
- Burundi‘s meals are generally simpler than Australia’s, since they eat mostly staple foods, like cassava and sweet potatoes. Their dishes with beans, rice, and vegetables are commonly served together, accompanied by a sauce or stew.
Australia’s Most Common Food Ingredients
Protein: Chicken, Beef
Fruit: Banana, Watermelon
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Wheat, Potato
Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.