Classed as a multicultural nation, it is no surprise that Australian’s also eat a wide variety of food from a wide variety of cultures. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to see the diversity of restaurants available when walking through the main road of most metropolitan suburbs.
Left and right the footpath is filled with Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, French and many other international cuisines. Many will say that it is obvious why our streets are dominated by restaurants of Asian because of the large proportion of Asian-Australians now living here.
Now whilst this may be true, it is not exactly representative of the nation’s favourite foods. In Roy Morgan research conducted in 2015, the statistics showed that Chinese food was the leading ‘liked’ cuisine at 70% of the population followed by Italian at 62.9%. The likeness of Chinese food has long been a part of Australia’s culinary tradition, having been popular since the Gold Rush following the migration of many Chinese to take advantage of the phenomenon.
Indian and Mexican both rank above Japanese, although Thai is the third most liked with a total of 57.1% of Australian’s liking the cuisine. The statistics are interesting to note in a growing nation with population increasing rapidly since 2011 yet there has been a notable drop-off in the number of Australian’s who like Chinese food.
The popularity of Chinese dropped just over 3% from 2011 to 2015 and whilst this isn’t a huge drop, it is the only cuisine inside the top 10 to have had a decline in likeness over that period.
With growth in all other top 10 cuisines, it appears that anything else is on a notable decline as the population becomes more multicultural and in search of more sophisticated flavours – likely a result of the growth in Gen Y and millennials.
Looking more closely at the changing levels of likeness between generations, there are some notable differences. Chinese, however, manages to maintain its crown as the most popular cuisine amongst all generations.
The Pre-Boomer generation appear to have the least influence on the top 10, having an above average percentage liking Chinese at 72.1% yet they are far less likely to enjoy all over top 10 cuisines besides French. They only inch ahead of Gen X for their enjoyment of the French Cuisine.
Generation X make up the majority of Australian’s enjoying Italian, Greek, Thai and Lebanese restaurants and is heavily represented by the population density of these cultures. Additionally, this generation is also far more likely to dine out at Cafes, BYO and licensed restaurants and order home-delivery, well in line with their dislike for Japanese, Mexican, Indian and French.
Whilst much of the popularity of certain cuisines within generations may be due to the life-cycle stage of the individuals and the ease of purchase, there is no doubt that much of the likeness is due to the changing trends in food and the options available through fusions and contemporary development.
As foods become more or less popular they are forced to develop within a given nation to maintain relevance and adapt to the changing culture of individuals and the nation as a whole. Australia is shaping itself to become even more diverse and the changing tastes in food are reflective of that.
Australia’s obsession of food is likely the driving force behind the increasing popularity of Asian and Mediterranean foods. With a greater desire for uniqueness and authenticity, restaurants are always seeking to find the latest trend in Asian fusions that meet the needs and wants of all Australian’s. As the population grows through increased migrations as well as natural population growth, the dominant cuisines are likely to further solidify themselves.