HOME > Chowhound > Australia/New Zealand >

Trip to Queensland, Cairns

jeniyo Dec 1, 2009 03:19 PM

We are having a family vacation next week in Cairns and will just be in that general area. Since I know nothing about the food in the area and I’m a home cooking/baking enthusiast, is there anything I should look out for while I’m there?

I plan to sample lots of meat pie things. Any recommendations? Somehow they sound like empanadas…

I also would like to scout down a few jars of golden syrup that I can’t find in the states. Friends of mine are big fans of anzac biscuits. Is there anything else I should look for?

Food/cooking related tourism? If worthy of visiting.. wineries?

We will be picking up food and cook in our condo and grill something in the park. Anything cool we should try? Kangaroo meat? (hehe)

Anything you can tell me will be super helpful.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. m
    mr_gimlet RE: jeniyo Dec 1, 2009 03:27 PM

    Where you are going is hot. This tends to inform the eating style which is seafood or white meat, and cold wine or beer. It isn't the climate to eat heavy food with hefty red wines. Cairns is a popular tourist destination and there are loads of places to eat, but I would probably describe them as competent rather than brilliant - a couple of pretty expensive places get mentioned a lot, but personally I don't think they stack up that well. I would eat casual and fun in Cairns.

    Kangaroo and emu are worth a try on the grill, along with sausages - there may be some indigenous flavourings you haven't come across before.

    Golden syrup is available at any supermarket, it comes in jars, plastic jars and tins so decide what you want to pack.

    Samuel may have some more specific tips as he is a Queenslander..

    1 Reply
    1. re: mr_gimlet
      PhilD RE: mr_gimlet Dec 1, 2009 05:37 PM

      It is a bit far north for vineyards so no wineries that I know of (but they do make rum from the sugar cane). I can't recall its exact location but we visited a farm that grew lots and lots of exotic fruits, many we had never heard of let alone tried.

      My guess is you will be over meat pies quite quickly, think in terms of going to the US and eating hamburgers everyday. Plan to try other things...!

      We also did a rain forest hike which was great, the guide showed us all the indigenous food sources and we ended up tasting green ants. Very nice, quite citrusy.

      A MrG says Cairns has lots and lots of tourists so make certain you are alert and avoid tourist traps. It used to be a very popular destination for Japanese tourists and so supported quite a few very good Japanese restaurants. Not certain if this is still the case.

    2. jeniyo RE: jeniyo Dec 14, 2009 03:46 PM

      thanks guys. we are back from our trip and we had a great time. I agree with having fun and casual foods in Cairns. Most of the places we were are unavoidably touristy.

      We were able to cook a few dinners at the apartment we rent in cairns. i roasted a lamb, sandwiches, chicken pilliard, coconut curry etc.

      we did try Ochre. Everyone seems to have enjoyed their meal. My fish (sea trout) was perfectly prepared although a little over seasoned (though this might be my personal preference) The lamb, Emu, Chicken, Beef medallions are all very good and flavorful. I liked how they paid attention and tried to pair up food, veggies and sauces nicely. sans wine, i think the meal is not that much expensive than a pasta meal down the street.

      we had a great meal of indian food. i forgot the name of the restaurant but they serve in cute little brass bowls. the lamb and the paneer we tried was very tasty, along with the roti.

      otherwise, i think everything else is just "okay." Food in San Diego is much cheaper. Is it me or is Aus more expensive?

      1 Reply
      1. re: jeniyo
        PhilD RE: jeniyo Dec 14, 2009 05:57 PM

        "Food in San Diego is much cheaper. Is it me or is Aus more expensive?" prices have risen, but you are also suffering from a very strong Aussie dollar and weak US dollar.

      Show Hidden Posts